Living in an ever-changing world, I have concerns about the industry I love so much. It has so many excellent qualities:
- helping others during very challenging times,
- serving the community in a positive way,
- making a difference in the lives of those who are suffering,
- offering a skill set not many people have,
- guiding people towards trusted resolutions, to name a few.
But as with everything else in life, it has changes too. You’ve got the good in the industry and the not-so-good. While I have tremendous respect for my colleagues, and they have respect for me, there are many “Estate Experts” that are suddenly popping up in the marketplace. I need this blog to circulate and help guide people away from these pop-up companies who claim to be experts, and are no such thing!
I am in a unique position, receiving close to 1,000 emails a week regarding the industry, sad stories, and complaints against companies I have never heard of and neither has anyone else. Having written books and many articles, people gravitate towards me for answers. I am all too happy to provide answers, as long as they can handle the truth.
Friends, you must be careful out there! There is good and bad in every aspect of life; that includes all occupations, mine included.
- Do not be fooled by fancy talk, or a “friend of a friend” who will give you a discount. Talk is cheap. A professional turns it all into action and gets it done correctly.
- Don’t be persuaded to use someone whose commission is lower than a true professional. You often get what you pay for.
- Don’t feel compelled to use Aunt Martha’s cousin’s brother who “dabbles” in antiques. They will not know how to maximize the proceeds, in your best interest.
- Don’t just call someone out of the yellow pages or internet. Know what you have, then find a way to sell using the best possible option for your possessions.
- Don’t take the easy or cheap way because it will BOOMERANG and bite you in the rear.
- Don’t pile up your great grandmother’s estate jewelry and take it to just any jeweler on the corner. Why would you sell yourself short, when there are professionals who know what they are doing and will compare, communicate, negotiate, and sell it for the highest $$.
- Don’t give away or throw away anything until a REAL professional walks through your door and advises you on your possessions. Knowledge is power. Know the facts.
- Beware of “Cash Paid” advertisements. Know who you are dealing with, or you may get low-ball offers.
- Beware of searching on the internet, unless you know exactly the right way to search. Know what an item actually sells for, not asking prices.
- Before any property leaves your home/estate, RESEARCH and make sure you have done your due diligence in finding a reputable company to help you and guide you.
- Ask for references, credentials, memberships, etc. Then, CHECK them.
- Beware of negative online complaints. Yes, some are justified, but others are not. Sometimes an upset client can post a negative comment because an item didn’t sell for as much as they expected. That isn’t fair to mar a liquidator’s reputation.
- Finally, don’t ignore your instinct. It’s a powerful tool that tells you when something is good or amiss.
These tips are among the best advice I could ever offer. They come with decades of experience and a heavy heart for those who have been taken advantage of.
Remember that the majority of estate liquidators are very good at what they do, have a deep passion for the industry, and help clients move forward with their lives.
It only takes one bad apple to soil the bunch. If you are careful, you’ll choose the best fit for you!
©2015 The Estate Lady®
Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.
No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent. Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.