Allison Ruby
April 3, 2017

What to Consider When Selecting An Estate Sale Company

Selecting an estate sale company can be overwhelming. With so many to choose from, how can you determine which are the best and which you should avoid? Below are a couple of things to be aware of during the interview process that will help you make the right choice!


Low Percentage

With so many companies to choose from, it might seem like choosing the one with the lowest cost to you is the best option. In this industry it might be best to think twice! Although companies are here to help, at the end of the day a profit is always the main goal in mind. Every company also operates similarly in the sense that they are commission based and will take a portion of the sale profit as payment.

So what is the difference between the company that tells you they will take 25% versus the company that tells you they will take 40%? It breaks down as follows:

The company that offers you a 25% rate will most likely be less developed than the company that offers you a 40% rate. What does this mean exactly? Factoring in hours spent organizing and cleaning the home in preparation for the sale, the cost to advertise, the cost of supplies such as bags and wrapping used for customers at that sale, credit card fees associated with item sales, staffing for open sale days to watch over your home and your items, and lastly but not limited to the labor cost to get your home ready on all those avenues (Probably didn’t think that far into it right?)

Odds are, the company that offered you the 25% rate also didn’t prepare those things. That or they aren’t telling you everything about their process. They may not tell you that they might “cook the books” (meaning they alter transactions that happen during the sale changing the total) and you are in fact paying the credit card fees out of your pocket. They may not have told you that they do not have employees and your items will not be watched on sale days. They may not have told you about hidden fees that include you covering the cost of their labor. The worst part, is they may not even set up or clean your home. This can result in your sale not grossing as much as possible leaving you with left over items that you are stuck with which could prolong things like the listing of your home on the market.

Our goal is not to fear monger, however, these problems are a real possibility with many companies existing in Southeastern Michigan. Being knowledgeable on these potential issues will give you the competitive edge when hiring a company.

Need to be absolutely sure you are hiring the best? Read our blog on 3 Easy Ways to Guarantee You Hire the Best Company


Free Cleanout

A free cleanout sure sounds nice doesn’t it? All of the leftover items miraculously disappear after the sale is over leaving you free and clear to move on! But how could anyone possibly be able to promise a free a cleanout on the initial consultation when the end of the sale has yet to happen? Here is how:

On the initial consultation they ballpark values on items and think to themselves that it would make sense to do a cleanout for free if the right items are leftover at the end. I.e. they will make money on the leftover items by taking them for free and selling them on their own for 100% profit. This won’t make you a dime but it will put money in their pocket. Some companies who offer free cleanouts are tempted to do so because they have a store. Other companies offer free cleanouts as a way to make extra money after your sale is over. They win you over with the low percentage for the sale and use this technique to earn the lost money from the low percentage. These companies do this by “overpricing” items (marking them above market value) to ensure they will not sell during the sale. Once the sale is over, these “overpriced” items are left behind for the company to sell making 100% profit. In a nutshell, be aware of companies that overprice and companies that offer free cleanouts.

In summary, make sure to dig and find out what these companies are and are not telling you. Think twice before hiring the low percentage company with a free cleanout!

Want to know a few more questions to ask to make sure you are choosing the right company? Need a little more information on the estate sale process? Download our free “Successful Sale Checklist” here!

You can also check out our website or give us a call! We are more than happy to help.