0418 Appraisers

Everyone at one time or another will be faced with having to sell an estate, and it is the astute person in charge who makes the decision that everyone must live with for the rest of their lives. 

Dilemmas and questions are often overwhelming and making the right choice on what to do with your family’s personal property can become a CSI investigation. 

Many factors must be considered: the time of year (Arizona heat vs. the snowbirds during the winter season), quality, condition, location (some communities don’t allow estate sales or on-site auctions), type of items to be sold, expectations, family situations and concerns.

Most important is what do you have in the estate?  A third party with no underlying desire or connections such as an appraiser, should be hired to help direct decisions regarding what’s being sold and what direction to take. 

Most people tend to rely on the estate sale as the only road to take when selling the property. In some cases, it might be the best path. However, there are several concerns that should be addressed. Reputation and referrals need to be thoroughly checked. Contract restrictions and fine print need to be carefully read and understood, as some contracts can leave the owner almost defenseless.  

Avoid signing if you are not allowed to be on the premises during the sale, and most important is that you have a clear  understanding about the responsibilities regarding theft and liability issues, fees and commissions. It is utmost crucial to know and have the proof to realize that the estate sale company is a business and must have its own insurance. You MUST ask for a copy. If something happens and the business has no insurance, it can become a nasty situation for you.  

Additionally, watch for these major red flags when selecting an estate sale company.

The perfect estate sale specialist DOES NOT:

• Own a shop

• Deal antiques  

• Own another business that might handle resale merchandise

• Appraise the estate and then act as the seller’s agent

These major conflicts of interest indicate the company is not representing the estate at “arms-length,” as it should if it is reputable. Run from such companies and situations.  

The other method of selling is one of the oldest methods used: the auction. 

At times, an auction alone and/or a combination might be the best method. Upper-end property tends to do better when it is open to a number of people who may want to own it. Competition is created when the bidders set the price and not the estate sale specialist and the lucky buyer who is the first through the door gets first dibs of the “trophies.” A transparent auction exposes the property to a larger audience.  

Selecting an auction house requires the same diligence as selecting an estate sale company. Do the research and learn who you are dealing with! Should selected properties be sent to a national auction, local auction, or an on-site auction venue?  Just as there are questionable estate sale specialists, likewise, there are questionable auction houses. Again, a knowledgeable, experienced appraiser can help you navigate the maze. 

— Do you have an appraisal question? Email us at editor@arcadianews.com. We look forward to hearing from you.