While there are now many ways to sell property on the Internet, from Nextdoor to Craig’s List to eBay, the estate sales industry is booming. This is likely because using an estate sale service saves people time and hassle. Professional estate sale services also provide peace of mind that items are valued and sold at a fair price. Someone transitioning to senior housing or a long-term care facility might turn to an estate sale service for help downsizing and earning money. Families of those who have died, likewise, hire estate sale services to help liquify the estate.
There are pros and cons to selling items online vs. using an estate sale service. Here are five things to know about estate sale services to help choose the right approach:
1. Estate sale services keep, on average, between 25% and 40% of the profits, according to Caring.com. Of course, they do the work that someone selling items online would be required to do — from setting a price to marketing the item to distributing it to the buyer.
2. Items will often be priced higher by estate sale services, as they know what people are looking for and can also spot potential treasures.
3. Some estate sale services will hold a sale in the home while others are moving to online auctions. The benefits of online auctions include digital advertising, the ability to take credit cards, more time to hold a sale, the creation of competition for in-demand items and more convenience for buyers who can shop from anywhere. Online estate sale auctions also mean no strangers walking through a family’s home, which in turn minimizes opportunities for theft.
4. There may also be “estate sale buyout” options offered by estate sale services. This is when the entire estate is sold up front for cash. While this could benefit those who need to move quick, the drawbacks include potentially being paid less than what the items ultimately sell for.
5. There may be tax implications related to an estate sale, so be sure to consult a knowledgeable attorney and/or CPA.
Estate sale services are not regulated and there are plenty of scams out there. Be sure to choose a service that is reputable by utilizing these tips:
• Shop around and talk to at least a few different services before signing a contract.
• Ask for referrals from people you know and trust.
• Be sure to closely review the contract and look for hidden fees.
• Discuss how prices will be set and reserve your right to remove items from the sale if you disagree.
• Insist on immediate payment after the end of the sale.
• Ensure the estate sales service will provide you with detailed records on the items sold.
There are many considerations that come with selling estate items, whether online or through an estate sale service. If you have any questions about how to distribute an estate, the professional estate planning attorneys at Timothy Rice Estate and Elder Law Firm are happy to help. Call us at 833-888-0462.