Planned Giving

Your act of generosity, our longevity

With planned giving, you can provide long-lasting support for Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound while enjoying financial benefits for yourself.

Text Resize
Print
Email
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Sunday October 21, 2018

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

How to Choose a Good Estate Sale Company

Can you provide some tips on how to choose a good estate sale company who can sell all the leftover items in my mother's house?

The estate sale business has become a huge industry over the past decade. There are roughly 22,000 estate sale companies that currently operate in the U.S., up nearly 60% from just 10 years ago. But not all estate sale companies are alike.

Unlike appraisal, auction and real estate companies, estate sale operators are largely unregulated and are not required to adhere to licensing or standard educational requirements. This leaves the door open for inexperienced, unethical or even illegal operators. Therefore, it is up to you to decipher a good, reputable company from a bad one. Here are some tips to help you choose.

Make a list: Start by asking for recommendations from your friends, a real estate agent or an attorney. There are various estate sale websites that let you search for estate sale companies in your area.

Check their reviews: After you find a few companies, check them out on the Better Business Bureau's website, Angie's List, Yelp and other online review sites to eliminate ones with legitimately negative reviews.

Call some companies: Once you identify some reputable estate sale companies in your area, select a few to interview over the phone. Ask them how long they have been in business and how many estate sales they conduct each month. Also, find out about their staff, the services they provide, if they are insured and bonded and if they charge a flat fee or commission. The national average commission for an estate sale is around 35%, but commissions vary by city and region.

You may also want to ask about visiting their next sale to get a better feel for how they operate. Also, consider requesting a list of their past clients who you can contact as references.

Schedule appointments: Set up two or three face-to-face interviews with the companies you felt most comfortable with after conducting the phone interviews.

During their visit, show the estate liquidator through the property. Point out any items that will not be included in the sale. If you have any items where price is a concern, this would be a good time to discuss it with them. Many estate companies will give you a quote after a walk-through of the home.

You should also ask questions about their pricing, including how they research prices, whether every item is priced, how they track what items sell for, what credit cards they accept and how and where they will promote and market your sale.

Additionally, ask how many days it will take them to set up for the sale, how long the sale will last and whether they will take care of getting any necessary permits.

You should also find out how and when you will be paid and what types of services they will provide when the sale is over. You will want to ask whether they will clean up the house and dispose of the unsold items, and whether there is an extra charge to do so. Also, make sure you get a copy of their contract and review it carefully before you sign it.

For more information on choosing an estate sale company, you may want to visit the National Estate Sales Association's online guide, which includes a "Find the Right Company" feature.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published May 18, 2018
Print
Email
Subsribe to RSS Feed

Previous Articles

New Shingles Vaccine Provides Better Protection

10 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft

Simple Steps to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

Is Your Blood Pressure Too High?

How to Replace Vital Documents that are Lost or Stolen

scriptsknown

Gift Options

Donor Stories

Learn how others have made an impact through their acts of giving to our organization and others. Explore the many benefits of charitable gift planning.

more

How to Give

Learn how to make a gift that provides tax benefits and even life income.

more

What to Give

Find out what type of assets make the best planned gifts. Learn about gifts of cash, securities and property.

more

Planned Gifts Calculator

View a presentation that shows the benefits of a planned gift based on your property and goals.

more

News

Personal Planner

Bequests to Your Favorite Charity Bequests to charity are the most popular type of planned gift. A donor may retain assets during life and then leave a...

more

Finance News

Hewlett-Packard Continues Resurgence Treasuries Rise on Mixed Economic Data Interest Rates Stay Low

Savvy Living

Personal Tech Products Designed Specifically for Seniors. Can you recommend any tablets, smartphones or computers that are specifically designed for seniors? I would like to buy...

more

Washington News

IRS End-of-Year Tax Tips

In IR-2014-110, the IRS offered tax tips for end-of-year charitable giving. 1. Household or Clothing Gifts ? These items must be in good used condition or better..

more

For Advisor

Advisor Resources

We have a complete tax update service for CPAs, attorneys, CLUs, CFPs, ChFCs, trust officers and other professional friends.

more

Deduction Calculator

The GiftLaw Calculator is a planned gifts calculator for professionals that follows the IRS format

more

Private Letter Ruling

Estate Distributes to Foundation without Self-Dealing

Decedent formed Company and subsequently formed Irrevocable Trust...

more

Washington News

IRS End-of-Year Tax Tips

In IR-2014-110, the IRS offered tax tips for end-of-year charitable giving. 1. Household or Clothing Gifts ? These items must be in good used condition or better.

more

GiftLaw Pro

Charitable Tax Reference

GiftLaw Pro is a complete charitable giving and tax information service inside the GiftLaw website...

more

Case of the Week

Living on the Edge, Part 4

Rhea Jones, 75, lives in a beautiful coastal town in northern California. Rhea?s home occupies three...

more

Article of the Month

Gifts of Pass-Through Business Interests

A charitable gift of a business interest can make a wonderful gift to charity. At the same time,...

more