When faced with having to clear out a parent’s home after they have moved into senior care or have passed away, overwhelmed family members often think having an estate sale is the best answer. Not so fast! Many times, working with an Estate Clearing Professional better fits the needs of the family.
Here are 4 biggest differences between the Estate Clearing and Estate Sales.
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What’s the difference between ESTATE CLEARING and ESTATE SALES?
Estate clearing companies specialize in being the local “point person” to line up every single thing that needs to be done to empty out a home efficiently and responsibly. Families that hire estate clearing pros can leave all the planning, work and paperwork to the professionals.
Estate clearing companies assemble a small team of trusted professionals to complete everything the client needs done. Whether it is shredding documents, having items professionally appraised, or physically clearing out all the rooms in the house, they canget it done.
Estate sale companies organize, stage and manage the 2-day sale only.
The “pre-work” for the sale, like sorting, removing or discarding a house full of papers, photographs, broken items, etc. as well as items mentioned in the will, are still the responsibility of the family. The family is also responsible for clearing out everything that did not sell at the sale, although some companies will do it for an additional fee.
Estate sale companies typically charge commissions anywhere from 25-45% of the estate sale proceeds.
finding a reputable company
Estate clearing: Reputable estate clearing professionals are bound by a strict code of ethics and are duty-bound to act in their client’s best interest.
Because a majority of clients are seniors, it’s recommended to find an estate clearing professional that is a member in good standing of local senior advocacy groups.
Professionals in the estate clearing business also have specific policies for handling “found” valuables, ensuring client confidentiality, and maintaining discretion. Developing trust with clients is a major goal of estate clearing services.
Estate sales: Currently, there are no standards regulating the estate sale industry.
There are reputable organizations, such as the American Society of Estate Liquidators, that conscientious estate companies will voluntarily join. Look for a company that has a proven commitment to ethics.
Be sure to ask for references , check the Better Business Bureau, and read reviews when considering an estate sale company. Always get a written contract with terms and conditions you fully understand.
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Timing is everything
Estate Clearing: Scheduling an estate clearing project is relatively easy. After evaluating the property and level of contents, an estate clearing service can quickly give you a proposed schedule and timeline for completing the project.
On-site estate clearing work is nearly always completed during the regular business week. Estate Clearing companies are able to be at the client’s property during business hours, making it easy to set up appointments with Realtors, packing and shipping companies, charity donation pick-ups and any other needs that arise.
No matter what the outside weather or conditions, work progresses on schedule.
Estate Sales: Because there are only 48 weekends per year available to hold estate sales, its common for there to be a 2-6 month wait to get on the calendar of an estate sale company.
When the estate sale date is finally set, hope there are no poor weather conditions or major sporting events. The success (or failure) of a sale is directly impacted by customer turnout and traffic.
Estate Clearing: Estate clearing companies are not in the business of selling items for profit; their mission is to quickly and responsibly help families clear out the contents of the home. Ideal estate clearing clients already have most of the “important” stuff out of the house; they just need help clearing out the decade's worth of stuff in the house.
Pros in the estate clearing field have strong relationships with local charities, ensuring that the contents of the house benefit people in need in the community.
One of the biggest financial benefits of an estate clearing company is that they keep excellent records of charitable donations from the Estate. The family then has itemized tax donation receipts potentially worth thousands of dollars in deductions. The deductions can negate the cost of hiring the estate clearing service, in many cases.
Estate Sales: When using an estate sale company, the family will get 55-75% of the proceeds of the sale, usually within one week. Enquire how the company handles sales tax and be wary of companies that don't collect taxes. This illegal practice can get you in trouble.
Be aware that there will still be costs involved for the Estate both before and after the estate sale. Plan to spend money on trash disposal/ roll-off bin, shredding, packing and shipping companies, and more expenses.
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Estate Clearing or estate Sale: which is right for you?
Estate Clearing and Estate Sales are 2 very different services. Be sure to research which service best fits the needs of your family before hiring anyone.