“Warning, Warning!”

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Remember the 1960s TV series “Lost in Space?”  The Robinson’s robot would wave his mechanical arms and shout out “Warning, warning!” when danger was near.  I wish I could do that every time I hear a nightmarish story in my industry, which makes my gut cringe and gives me gray hair at the same time.

I met with a client this past week; she had a home full of truly beautiful things she had collected over 50 years.  Many of my clients in recent years are either downsizing or simply don’t want their amassed collection of stuff any longer.  This particular client had items of significant value and had several people walk through her home, giving ideas on how to sell or whittle down her collection.  This is not necessarily a good idea: too many “cooks in the kitchen” with differing ideas on how the possessions should be handled appropriately.

I was finally called in because she no longer knew who to trust.  She needed an expert to come in and tell her the truth of the best way to sell the items and what they are really worth in today’s market.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up when she told me “three estate people” (that no one has ever heard of) came in to her home and offered her one sum of money for 3,500 square feet full of beautiful possessions.  “Take it or leave it.”  Thank God she left it!

I failed miserably trying to maintain a poker face when another person (no one has ever heard of) offered to take everything and sell it in their shop, without any detailed accounting or itemization of her things.  When she told me how much she had been offered for her things, I nearly hit the floor as the blood drained from my face!

Warning, warning!  Hear me shout from the mountain top.  DO NOT DO THIS!

Always seek personal property professionals who are highly recommended by other professionals.  Let them look, value, advise on your possessions before you do anything else!

Do not throw away or give away anything until a professional has walked through!

Please do not accept the first person that no one has heard of.  Please take your time and do your homework!  Hasty mistakes will hurt you most of all.

First, identify anything of value.  Then, make decisions on what you will keep and what you will sell and stick with those decisions.  Always look for the best professional you can find.  It’s perfectly fine to interview several companies; determine what they can offer you and who you feel good about working with.  Get everything in writing.  Finally, let that professional do their job.

Don’t choose some fly-by-night company that no one has ever heard of.  Due diligence is important on both sides: the estate professional and the client.

Ultimately, use your gut instinct to uncover the best professional for your needs and build a relationship based on trust.

©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.

4 thoughts on ““Warning, Warning!”

  1. I have had a hard time finding any one I can trust here even now. Any suggestions howv I find someone? One of the big local outfits really did not do well by us. I am still sorting and also have to watch family who try and take or cherry pick the best for themselves. Someone even took something and brought it back. It magically tu!rned up in a very obvious place. I am taking a. Couple months off work so I can focus. And get this nightmare or my parents estate gone through and settled. Tx for your emails! I think people are hoping I give up so they can have a free for all but I’m not done yet. But working full time and a job of this magnitude is not reasonable. Send a prayer my way that the right,trustworthy person comes my way. Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

  2. I was sorry to see you leave the conference early. I hope all was well:) I only heard lovely things about you. And I recommended joining ASEL to several people. It sets you apart- which is why my competitors joined after me…

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Julie, this is excellent! Wish it could be on Fox News!! Can I request permission to duplicate this article and make it available to persons who call regarding our services and possibly have it on our info table at estate sales? I have no doubt that what you described happens entirely too often, and it is so very sad that people are taken advantage of by “wolves in sheep’s clothing”! Thanks.

    Mary Maranatha Estate Sales LLC

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