Why do people use your services?
There can be any number of reasons to use our services, but here are the ones we encounter often:
What services do you provide?
Please go to our Services page for a complete explanation of what we do.
How do I know which service is right for me?
It starts with an on-site visit. Once we can see exactly what the house contains, we can talk to you specifically about the options that we can offer.
Do you charge for this initial visit?
What areas do you service?
We work within the greater Chicagoland area, in Cook, Kane, DuPage, and Lake Counties.
Are you bonded and insured?
Yes, we are. We can also provide references from satisfied customers upon request.
I live out of the area, but the house I have to liquidate is in Chicagoland. How can we coordinate this?
If you have a relative, neighbor, landlord or Realtor who has a key to the house, we can arrange to get your signed permission for our visit to the premises. Some clients have mailed us a key. After we've assessed the situation, we can talk by phone, e-mail, or fax. We've worked for many out-of-state clients whom we never had the pleasure of meeting in person!
How far in advance do I need to book your services?
The easy answer is that we'll take as much time as you can give us, especially if you have a closing looming. If an estate sale is the service we'll provide, we need a minimum of 2 weeks of unlimited access to the home in order to effectively sort, display, research and price the contents. Of course, we would need to visit the home in advance of that. You need to contact us at least a month prior to the dates you are hoping for. We only book one sale at a time, and therefore the best advice we can offer is that you should contact us immediately to at least arrange for the on-site visit.
To set up a consignment arrangement, or for item purchases, we have more flexibility in the timing, but again, we are rarely able to take a call today for a job tomorrow! Just call us as soon as possible and we'll do what we can to be of service.
What's the best time of the year to have an estate sale?
In this area, ANY weekend's a good weekend for a sale, with the exception of the weekend after Thanksgiving and Christmas through New Year's Day. But boy, those first sales in January are usually REALLY well-attended ... everybody's itching for a new year of treasure hunts!
There are valuable items in the home, such as fine jewelry, artwork, a large collection of something, or fine antiques. Should I call some dealers to buy those items before I call you?
NO, NO, a THOUSAND TIMES NO! Estate sales are a primary source for dealers to acquire the goods that they sell. By keeping these items in the sale, you accomplish several important things: 1) You attract a much larger crowd to the sale. 2) You ensure that the item has been properly researched for the current market, and that it has been priced correctly for sale. 3) Because collectors also attend sales, you may very well command a higher price through the estate sale than you can hope for by selling privately.
We have a house full, but there aren't any antiques or anything. Does that matter?
What makes an estate sale work is to have a large volume of items, and, of course, to have the kinds of items that people are interested in buying. There's always a market for antiques, but right now the "hot" decades are the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Everyday items such as tools, sports equipment, clothing, toys, kitchen items, appliances, electronics, etc. also move well at sales. The more, the better. The greater variety, the better.
Besides - there may be things in the house that are actually much more valuable than you realize. We've been known to sort through junk drawers and find hundreds of dollars worth of goodies (see next question).
There's a lot of junk in the house. I should throw that away before I call you, right?
WRONG! Please, please, pretty please don't throw out a single thing before we come to see the house. There is so much "junk" that is actually very collectible, and we don't expect you to know what it is. That's our job.
In fact, we would prefer that you not do ANYTHING to the contents other than to pull out the items you don't want to sell. We'll be moving everything around anyway, so it's not a good use of your time to try and organize anything.
The success of an estate sale depends on a large variety of contents. If you toss out or donate items BEFORE you call us, you may eliminate our ability to conduct a sale. IF IT NEEDS TO BE TOSSED, we'll toss it! You could be throwing away or donating hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of collectibles. "Junk drawers" and old boxes of papers often hold very valuable items! We know what they are and how to price them to maximize your sale potential.
OK, so let's say we hire you to do an estate sale. What's your fee?
We earn a percentage of the gross sale. We pay for the staffing, the permits, and the signage. We write and place the advertising.
We will discuss our percentage at the on-site visit. If the sales potential of is quite large, we create a sliding scale that goes down as the sales volume goes up. On individual items of great value (for example a car, valuable painting, or the house itself), we create individualized percentages for such items separate from the rest of the sale.
DO NOT SHOP FOR AN ESTATE SALE COMPANY BY COMPARING PERCENTAGES. Remember, a percentage is only a number until you know WHAT it's a percentage of. A low percentage means that corners are being cut somewhere, and that cannot possibly be to the estate's advantage.
For example: let's say you find a company that will conduct your sale for a 20% commission but they don't have a lot of experience with the kinds of items you have in the estate, so the pricing isn't as high or thorough as it should be, and let's say your sale yields $6000. In this example, the estate will make $4800. BUT suppose you had used a company that charges a higher commission -- let's say 30% -- and they have the experience and put in the manhours to look carefully at everything that's to be sold, researching as needed and even calling in experts when necessary. That experience could turn that same sale into a $10,000 one, earning the estate $7000 -- that's over $2000 more than in the first example!. A lower commission does NOT guarantee that the estate will earn more money.
ALWAYS be willing to pay for expertise, because expertise ALWAYS pays off for you! To quote a percentage without seeing your situation assumes that "all sales are the same". Nothing is further from the truth.
What happens to all the stuff left after the sale's over?
That's up to you. If you want the remaining of the contents hauled away, leaving the house broom-clean and vacuumed, we can do that, too ... we've been doing professional clean-outs for many years and our costs beat the 1-800 guys who don't quote until the job is done! We can provide a clean-out quote for you at the end of the sale. Some people opt to call in a charitable organization to take anything left after the sale that they can put in their thrift stores, then have us quote the cost of getting rid of the rest.
You make it sound so simple, and yet I'm overwhelmed!
We know that settling an estate and emptying a household is a daunting task. By letting us work for you, it allows you to focus ONLY on those things in the home that you want to keep as heirlooms. You can ignore all the rest and let us take care of it.
Just contact us - we look forward to hearing from you!
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