Managing Estate Sales Can Be A Fulfilling Investment

24 March 2015
 Categories: Entertainment, Articles

If you've ever considered diversifying your income stream or investments by purchasing the contents of self-storage units, you may want to check out estate sale management instead. Rather than paying a fee for the contents of a storage unit -- which may or may not be worthless -- you'll instead be able to collect a portion of the proceeds from the items you're able to sell, and can evaluate the value of these items before ever agreeing to conduct the sale. Read on to learn more about the world of estate liquidators and whether this could be business option for you.

What does an estate liquidator do?

An estate liquidator is charged with the task of assisting families in disposing of their relative's personal and household effects. In their time of grief, most families find it emotionally and physically difficult to prepare their relative's house for sale or to part with personal belongings. By entering into a business arrangement with these families, you'll take on responsibility for staging the home and selling off (or otherwise getting rid of) household items. 

Your estate liquidation company can be small or large -- and your fees will likely reflect that. If you're planning to start on the small side, you may want to offer only limited staging services and concentrate your sales efforts online, rather than staging the home for open houses or walk-throughs. If you'd like to expand your business, you can contract with professional household stagers, movers, promoters, and other individuals who can help ensure that the estate items reach the widest possible audience of potential buyers.  

What fees should you charge and how should you structure the purchase?

Because there are no federal regulations and only limited state regulations on estate liquidation sales, you have the option of choosing one of several types of fee arrangements. 

If you choose to join the American Society of Estate Liquidators (ASEL), you'll be required to abide by a code of ethics governing all financial and business transactions. This code of ethics requires estate liquidators to avoid conflicts of interest, charge a fair and reasonable fee for liquidation services, and charge a reasonable fee for the estate items sold. As long as your proposed fee arrangement fits within these parameters, you should have no issues.

Many estate liquidators charge a flat fee based on the total sale amount of all estate items -- often ranging from 25 to 50 percent. If you're planning to employ marketing consultants, auctioneers, or stagers, you want to be sure that your fee covers these costs.

In other cases, you may be able to simply agree up-front on a price for all household items -- you'll pay this price and then any proceeds above and beyond the sale price are yours. If this is the case, it may be worth your while to engage other consultants to ensure that you get the highest possible price for all sale items. 

What else should you consider? 

The advent of technology has significantly changed the world of estate sales. In the past, liquidators were generally limited to local marketing and a local client base. However, now that estate items can be listed to a worldwide audience online with just a few clicks, it has become easier than ever to offload furniture and other personal items quickly and at a fair price. You'll certainly want to consider technology's role when planning your liquidation process.

You may also want to take into account the emotional component. If you tend to be very straightforward or brusque, this attitude can turn off potential clients who seek you out in their time of grief. You might want to hire a personable assistant who can help navigate contract and timing issues with the family in an empathetic and compassionate manner. For more information, visit a website like