Sorting and Deciding What to Sell
You have an estate to liquidate and you are overwhelmed. Keep in mind that the true vale of an estate lies in the sale of the real property. However, you have lots of items to liquidate. Break this huge project into manageable mini-projects. If you have not started making an Inventory List, start now. Sorting things and putting them into categories is most helpful. Consider the following:
First sort is by type of item and value.
Second sort is by function, such as furniture, collectibles, antiques, books, clothing, kitchenware, tools, sporting equipment, etc.
Third sort is by value, such as desirable, ordinary, passable and junk.
Another useful tool is to photograph all items. Start with the rooms as they are set up. Think of a catalog and identify each item and reference it to your inventory list. This process supports you in communicating with family members and/or friends regarding things they would like to have. It also makes communication with family members that are in distant locations much easier. Circulate the inventory list with photos with the family/friends and let everyone make their selections. Remember to consider both sentimental and monetary values. Consider allowing family and friends to select some keepsakes or mementos. A Professional Resolution Consultant can be hired to mediate disputes.
This next step is critical; arrange to move saved items to a proper storage space. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT attempt to store items you want to keep on the premises. In hectic times items are mistakenly sold, discarded, damaged or misplaced.
Now you can shift your focus to selling and donating the items that are left. Market these treasures for maximum income. To assess value to the items on the inventory list you can research compatible items in retail stores (here again the photos are very useful). Research items using the internet, on-line auctions sites are a valuable resource to learn about this entire process. Gain as much knowledge about your inventory prior to your sale.
Keep in mind that the true value of an estate lies in the sale or rental of the real property. Remember that in most cases, the original retail value, even for antiques, is much greater that the resale value of second-hand property, because the original seller already made the profit. The items on your inventory list may not be worth as much as you think.
Consider having valuable items and collectibles appraised. If you have the personal property appraised, be sure to tell the appraiser why you are getting it appraised. There may be vast differences in the appraised values depending on whether it is for resale, retail, or insurance purposes.
If you sell to private buyers and dealers, make it clear that you expect to receive at least 50% of what they think they will be able to resell it for. Most dealers consider that fair, and will honor your fairness with their honesty.
Some buyers prefer you to set the price, instead. DO YOUR RESEARCH. When in doubt, sell it. A smaller price may be better than not selling it at all.
Decide How to Sell
Consider the Primary Buyers, Secondary Specialty buyers and finally the buyers looking for deals (items that your 1st and 2nd group of buyers passed on).