How EstateMAX Does It!

How Do We Do It

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An estate sale floor

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After you hire us-we have a very straight forward contract for on-site and online auctions, that offers additional services, too, like transitions services, packing, property clean out, updating and staging. We get to work.

We are a personalized company. You communicate what you need and we design your project to accommodate your needs.

For On-Site EstateMAX tag Sales, we organize, merchandise, price and set up our props, tables, the cashier station to conduct the sale on-site. (For on-site sales, typically our clients have already moved out with the things they are keeping. If not, we purge and organize before our set up.)

For Online OPS auctions we set up from your pre selected inventory, tag with a bar code  and photograph in your home. These items stay in place until after the auction, when we come in to meet the buyers for pickup at a predetermined time, done in typically one day. (The Client is not part of the photography or delivery process.)

On-line auctions are appropriate for liquidating personal property in a situation where there is difficulty accessing the property, for a smaller property, where the owner is not selling and leaving the home and, where it’s OK for the auction house can “cherry pick” the inventory to sell only the best of the goods.

Typically, after the sale is over, we  clean out the property, leave it empty and swept and ready for the next step-


What’s the difference in the results between onsite and online? All jobs are unique and they all have their similarities.

It’s all about the audience. An estate sale, regardless of the sales strategy- is NOT a retail setting. A fictitious example: Your Aunt Edna’s Grandmother’s vase, supposedly found buried in Latvia in the 17th century, (your prized possession)… It needs to be authenticated and appraised and if an antiquity, sold online, where it will be exposed to the largest audience. If we can’t do that, we shop for the best auction venue for you.

On the contrary, your Ethan Allen sofa purchased in the 90’s, and still barely touched, as lovely as new, is worth what we can get for it, regardless of the price paid. Why? Because of capricious tastes in furniture.

Your expectations should be in check. https://estatemaxops.com/2019/09/11/downsizing-selling-your-stuff-minimize-your-expectations-maximize-your-planning/


An onsite sale attracts hundreds of buyers in person who are responding to our professional marketing and advertising, who might have shopped with EstateMAX before, and also those who are “driving by” and reacting to street-side advertising. They want to come into the home and “experience the goods in the setting”.

Price points for on-site sales start, as it makes sense,-considering all circumstances: item’s condition, rarity, demand, setting. We set the price on a price tag and discount over the course of the sale, remaining open to negotiation based on the buyer’s volume purchases.

In contrast but not to the detriment, online auctions are 1-dimensional. They attract an online viewership comfortable with buying used goods without testing, poking and touching.  The items are photographed either on site or on a stark, white background.  From a thousand to a hundred thousand viewers and more…that all depends on the auction and the depth of advertising dollars spent.

All items are sold “AS IS”, Electronics and equipment are not tested, but sold “AS IS” with that caveat. All sales are final for both sales strategies. You, the client is paid within 5 days of the end of the sale by secure bank wire transfer. 

WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR ESTATE LIQUIDATOR BEGINS THEIR WORK

WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR ESTATE LIQUIDATOR BEGINS THEIR WORK

15 TIPS FOR A SMOOTHER PROCESS

Your estate liquidator has a multi-faceted, complicated job ahead. Before they can begin their work in your home, your assistance in making sure that the following steps are followed are always appreciated. These steps will help the estate sale professional prepare for the large task at hand and genuinely appreciate the professional courtesies you extend to one another.

Here is a list of important things to remember:

  • Always make sure family has removed everything they would like to keep from the estate. Please do your due diligence in selecting and removing items from the estate before the contract is signed. This way, nothing can be sold by accident and no errors will take place.
  • If, after the contract is signed and the estate liquidator has put a tremendous amount of time and work cleaning, advertising, displaying, setting up, etc., and additional items are removed from the sale to keep, you will most likely be subject to additional fees as per their contract. The estate sale professional accepted the sale based on a previous walk-through and mutual understanding. The professional may have already advertised these items, and if the items should disappear, it would tarnish the professional’s reputation.
  • Discuss any questions or concerns with the estate sale professional before the contract is signed and before the estate sale is conducted.
  • Make sure the contract is signed, the dates are set, and everyone is on the same page. Keep a copy of the contract.
  • Remove all personal documents such as tax returns, medical/health records, financial statements, personal bills, etc.
  • Remove all photos, personal letters, diplomas, journals, and other personal papers you want to keep. If these are left behind, you take on the risk that they could be sold, discarded or donated.
  • Collect house keys from neighbors, friends, etc. Secure the house. If necessary, change the locks. Give one set of keys to the liquidator. Consider a new alarm code or password just for the liquidator. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for neighbors, friends and family who have keys to remove items in the middle of the night.
  • Dissolve or properly dispose of prescription medications unless it is agreed upon that the professional will do so. Some cities have a prescription drop-off at pharmacies or the local police station.
  • If there are any “sensitive” items or collections, discuss openly with the estate liquidator whether these things can be sold or should be discarded.
  • Remove any stashes you may be aware of. If there are coins, cash, jewelry, guns, etc., hidden in the home, please notify the estate sale professional so they can notify you when/if they find them.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer unless it is agreed upon that the professional will do so.
  • As a professional courtesy, give the estate liquidator the time and space they need in order to prepare for the sale. Preparing for an estate sale is very challenging work and there is much to do in a certain order. They genuinely appreciate it.
  • Keep your expectations in neutral regarding what items will sell for. No one can be an expert at everything, but a professional estate liquidator will know how to price items, how to research and find the answers or contact a colleague who does have the answer. They know what these items are currently selling for, as opposed to “asking prices” anyone finds on the internet. What an item sells for and what the asking price is are two distinctly different figures. Anyone can ask high retail prices, but that is nowhere near accurate in today’s softer economy. Offering old appraisals are good for identification purposes, but not valid for today’s values.
  • As with everything else in life, there are no guaranteed outcomes with an estate sale, however, the estate liquidator will do their best with all aspects of the sale as they want you to do well, and want themselves to do well. The outcome is dependent on many things, including but not limited to; who comes to the sale, how much money they are willing to spend, the weather, location of the sale, fair pricing, etc.

Working together amicably with the estate sale professional will ensure a mutual beneficial relationship based on trust. When it starts off well, it will end well too.

©2018 The American Society of Estate Liquidators®

http://www.ASELOnline.com

Julie Hall, Director of ASEL

The American Society of Estate Liquidators, LLC

Estate Sale Wars!

A Thesis on Current Trends in the Estate Sale Industry

Steve Berryman, Director of Sales EstateMAX

There are a greater number of novice estate sale companies we are competing with for estate sale jobs now, chasing a clientele that has more options than ever to liquidate using their own means and outlets.  This is a “double-whammy” in impact to us. To get a new job, we now have to win twice: We must win the selection by a client agreeing to use our services, and, and our format has to win over competing formats that are in some ways different from our own. We have to stand by our experience and reputation and use progressive marketing techniques to win new customers.

EstateMAX’s primary business is as a “True” estate sale company, processing sales within a home, as a “tag sale” with everything priced.  We use a 3-day sale typically, discounting heavily on day 3 and promoting dynamically throughout the event that we ourselves host and monitor. We know from 21 years of experience, that this yields the most cash-for- stuff for the client, chiefly because we don’t have any moving expenses to take goods off-premises to a warehouse setting, for instance, and then we benefit from the added advantage of taking-in local customers who see our many strategically placed directional street signs taking folks right to our door.   We have at times made 30% of all sales just from “walk-ins” who never saw an ad, but just dropped in by chance.

Our step one is to acquire a new job.  We must differentiate ourselves from everyone from Facebook community pages, to outside auctions, to inside auctions, many of whom do not bring with them extended experience, true knowledge bonafides, process knowledge on marketing, sales, and know how on hi-tech photograph and videography.

We also have the hidden advantage of having a direct following, via our mailing lists and many versions of Facebook dedicated pages our industry.  We reach about 120,000 interested potential shoppers, many we know from repeat sales. They know we only accept “good sales.”

The chief problem is that many folks that go fishing for an estate sale company have never done so before, and may have never even attended one in the past.  How for them to be the judge? This especially in a “mad-world” where anyone that has ever conducted a yard sale, can talk the talk, and experiment with transferring this process into a house.  As there are no licensing or regulatory hurdles in our area, MD, DC, NVA, anybody can claim to be an estate sale company!

In order to differentiate our offerings, and “what makes us different,” there is not but one answer in place, but a string of doing steps just a little bit better is essential.  These include, and are not limited to:  

*Having as much exposure at the front-end of the game as possible in order to get as many “at bats” or chances to press our format to potential clients.  We have and generate as much word of mouth with realtors as possible. We engage our past clients to write positive reviews for us, and to get them to want to introduce our services to their needy friends and relatives.

*We conduct ongoing pro-level photography and videography which is added to our web presence, www.EstateMAXops.com and is cross posted to our own Email distribution lists, many dedicated Facebook pages, and to our own custom ads created to go onto estate sale platforms like EstateSales.net, etc.

*We submit proof of performance directly from all sales to Angie’s List, and do maintain a AAAAA rating going back years, and we hold their “Super Service Achievement Award” for 5 years going up to and including 2019, just announced.

None of the above good stuff is light hidden under a shade!  We are presenting this directly to clients and real estate agents, and are producing written articles and blogs that further get our story out.  

In the final analysis, to a client that is willing to listen openly, has not made any prior commitment to another company (of format) and is willing to take the time necessary to read our reviews, and stories of estate liquidation conquest, given a fair shake we win the jobs a high percentage of the time.

To beat the trend of greater competition, it must be done actively with extra preparation of marketing materials and methods.  Extra attention must be taken to make that first impression on sales leads in the fasted and most positive way.

And care must be taken to look deeply into “hidden objections,” and answer to the ways of Auctions, In-Home Auctions, Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List, and E-Bay.  Again, most sophisticated neighborhoods already have been using the alternative Facebook listings, spoiling existing pricing structures, for several years now.

For instance, it is industry standard, especially in outlying areas, that a fully realized estate sale will return about .24 cents on the dollar, compared to that of an auction, which standards reveal as closer to .11 cents on the dollar.

Also, it cannot be overstated, how much money is lost selling “smalls” not piecemeal but as a lot in an Auction, and it cannot be overstated how much potential is eaten up by Auction companies that truck and cherry pick goods to an Auction House.  A TRUE estate sale, as EstateMAX insists on conducting, easily these other methods of liquidating a property in the most productive way.

All of this said, a professional conversation with the clients, impressing them of the differences and company structures is essential.  There is much to be learned in order to make an informed decision on what company to choose, but keep remembering, in the vast number of client meetings one is dealing with newbies that you must take the time to spoon feed, give examples, work out timetables, and encourage them ask answers to prove they were even listening- in some cases!

It’s a real war out there, and those that are prepared will come out on top.  

We Do the Dirty Work!

You get to move on with those things you love and want and need to live with, and leave the rest behind. We deal with all the details.

There is nothing new to EstateMAX about helping our clients move forward with ease.

Move Management, Sorting, Packing, Unpacking on the other end. Complete sales services of the contents of your home you are leaving behind, clean up, trash outs and disbursal to charity.

Since 1999. Experience and Credentials Count.

Our Standards Are High, Clients Can Count On Us To Do The Job-Completely!

At EstateMAX and Mission Transition we work very hard for our clients, holding ourselves to high standards.  We work with our senior, boomer and estate clients as if we are their right hand, planning and executing their move in a time and cost effective manner. We have been in business since 1999 and have worked the bugs out of our processes.

For our Tag/estate sales, we approach organizing and selling personal property in a personalized yet linear fashion. Unless there are valuables in a home, of significant value-such as precious metals, fine art, fine jewelry, antique items that are over and above the norm, are most residences are similar, based on the style and stock of furnishings and decoration sold at retailers in the mid century.

We are experts at pricing and selling these items. For valuables, we do the research needed and call on experts to help in valuation. EstateMAX Maxes out our marketing for our sales using numerous online and local print media.

We might ask our clients to provide us with an appraisal, if possible, on any items they know are unique and deserve special review. Laurie Zook has a depth of knowledge in furnishings, design and fine art sales, auto sales and procurement  and Steve Berryman has 35 years of in depth retail experience.

For On-Site Tag Sales, we spend from 100 to 250 hours from start to finish with our crew, handling the set up, marketing, running the sale, cleaning up, working with charity and tying up  any loose ends, leaving the property ready for settlement or to be updated.

Our clients are paid the proceeds of their sale within a week of the completion.  If you are not an Angie’s List Member ask for our review list.

So, If you are reading this blog, considering hiring EstateMAX or any company to do an estate sale for you consider these issues that come into play during the process:

Market competition: there are lots of new estate sales companies in the Washington DC market. Most of them are new in the industry.  There are between 5 to 45 estate sales in the DC Metro on most weekends. That’s a lot of used stuff being sold. It’s a buyer’s market. It takes strong sellers to succeed.

It is all about professionalism. Considering all these points of the individual estate sale company, when making your choice, will make the difference in the process, sales results and terms and conditions of your contract.

  • Prompt payment/fiscal responsibility
  • Physical security
  • Reputation/trustworthiness/integrity
  • References
  • Flexibility: the ability to conduct more than one type of sale
  • Market knowledge- knowledge about what is being sold, how, your location, and time frame
  • Planning/punctuality/efficiency
  • Knowledge of competition
  • Pricing to the local and regional market
  • Evaluating merchandise/ability to research/partnerships in the industry
  • Marketing resources and strategy/what is best method for your location and time frame/advertising
  • Liability Insurance

If you’re not an Angie’s List Member, you can check us out by clicking on this link. It should take you to our public profile.  WASHINGTON D.C. auction services