There are hundreds of estate sale companies in Austin. If you’re looking for an estate sale company, it won’t be hard to find one with a quick Google search. How do you choose an ethical, hard-working estate sale company when you’re looking to downsize your estate?
How to Find an Estate Sale Company
Just being the top estate sale company result on Google doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best. It just means they have spent the most on advertising. And while the top Google searches will likely reveal some of the harder working companies, you’ll find that an estate sale company, like a Realtor, should be managed by a person you can mesh with.
The head of the company should be someone you can communicate with. If you feel comfortable with the person’s knowledge and personality, along with the price tag, you’ll know you’ve found the right fit.
Knowledge of collectibles is also key. An estate sale company will go through your home and liquidate your personal assets. You may have collectibles that are worth a lot of money and you need to know that they are knowledgeable enough to put the right price tag on your items.
After doing your Google search, ask around. Chances are your friends in the same stages of life as you, will have had some experience with this or know someone who did. Estate sale companies work from referrals a great deal so they will be happy to have you on their client list if they’ve worked with your friend.
Read reviews. Many estate sale companies will have reviews right on their website. But you should know that those reviews have been handpicked. Go to Yelp and read what others have to say about the companies.
How to Pick an Estate Sale Company/Choosing the Right One
Once you’ve narrowed down a handful of estate sale companies based on referrals and what you see on their websites, ask for an interview. You should interview more than one company. In the interview ask them some key questions and find out what they know about your collectibles.
Questions to Ask an Estate Sale Company
- How much is your rate? Estate sale companies take a percentage of the sales. The average rate is typically between 35-50 percent of the sales total. If their rates are on the higher end, ask why. They might have a very compelling reason. Perhaps their sales are statistically higher and therefore, you may actually end up making more money even though you are paying a higher rate. They may do more advertising or invest in social media that other companies don’t. Any good estate sale company should have a decent social media portfolio and they should be active. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof if they make claims of higher than average sales.
- How do you advertise your sales? Estate sale companies should be advertising their sales on Estatesales.net, Craigslist, and social media profiles. Additional advertising can be done on Google. Make sure you question whether they are actually advertising your specific sale on Google if they add this in. Advertising their company on Google (or other search engines) is not the same as advertising your specific estate sale.
- How do you price items? Your estate sale company should compare rates on competitive websites like eBay, Amazon, Etsy and also on item specific websites for your collectibles. If you have collectibles artwork, for example, ask how they appraise your artwork. A good estate sale company will have access to expert appraisal services.
- Will you stage my home? A good estate sale company will stage your home so that it feels like a shopping experience.
- What happens to anything that doesn’t sell? Items that don’t sell are typically donated or sold to a liquidator.
- Is this your full-time job? A good estate sale company does this for a living. Generally speaking, you don’t want to hire a part-timer unless you have a very small estate. They will not be equipped for a large home with lots of valuable items.
The Most Important Aspect
After all your questions have been answered, the most important aspect of hiring your estate sale company is this: Do you like them? Can you get along? Downsizing your estate can be an emotional process. You need to have someone who is a professional, but also someone who you feel comfortable with. Make sure you ask yourself that very important question.
Here are the estate sale companies I typically refer my clients to: