How To Choose A Company To Sell Your Estate


People hiring an estate sale or auction company have a lot of companies from which to choose. So how do they make the best choice? One thing is for sure, they should not go by price alone. For example, a bid that is ridiculously low should raise all kinds of red flags such as does the person really know what he or she is doing and will they be able to perform as promised?

Here are some examples of things to look for when making your decision:

What experience does the company have in doing an estate sale or auction the size of yours?

For example, AAA Auction has been hired a number of times by people who have previously hired an inexperienced estate sale company which held a sale that bombed. This is often due to over-pricing, ineffective advertising, poor scheduling or poor set-up. Make sure your company has plenty of experience before you trust your sale to it. AAA Auction has done hundreds of auctions over the last 13 years including weekly live consignment auctions, benefit auctions where we have raised millions of dollars and online auctions that attract around 50,000 page hits every auction.

Does the company you are considering cover its employees with worker’s compensation insurance?

If the company you are considering does not carry the state required worker’s compensation insurance and one of their employees is hurt while working for you, you would likely be sued to provide all worker’s compensation benefits yourself to the injured person. This is true even if the company calls their workers “independent contractors.” That will not fool lawyers or insurance adjusters. So, you should ask for a certificate of worker’s compensation insurance from the company you hire. AAA Auction carries all of the insurance that good business practices and the law requires.

Does the company you are considering have a well-written contract that explains and documents everything that they are promising?

It would be nice if all business could be done on a handshake, but that is not the real world. The purpose of contracts is to make sure that each party has a full understanding of the duties of each party. A contract must not only cover the essential terms of the agreement, but it should also cover some unanticipated but not uncommon things such as what happens if a Seller withdraws something from the sale after it has started. AAA Auction uses professionally written contracts and we make sure that our clients understand the agreement.

Is the person you are thinking about hiring licensed, bonded and insured?

A license and a bond is required in Minnesota to hold one’s self out as an auctioneer. No license though is required to hold online auctions or estate sales. Thus many people who think that it is an easy profession try it for a while and then get out of the business after learning that it is not as easy as they thought. Unfortunately, some clients have very bad sales in the meantime. So, you should ask your professional if he or she is licensed, bonded and insured and if you are a skeptical person, you also might ask to see the license, bond and certificate of liability insurance. AAA Auction is licensed, bonded and insured and we will gladly show you our records at any time.

Does the company you are considering seem professional?

This is more than having the right insurance, using a well-written contract and being licensed. This has to do with the personality of your estate professional. His or her demeanor, dress and the way in which you and others are treated are important as well. Does your professional show respect to your home and your items? Is he or she friendly and do they relate with other people in a comfortable and respectful manner. At AAA Auction we strive to follow the Golden Rule. That means that we take the time to learn what your needs are and we tailor our recommendation that will be the most profitable for you. It may be an online or a live auction. It may be an estate sale. It may be a buy-out or a combination of these methods.

Does the company you are considering have sales records online that you can review?

Anyone can give you an opinion of the value of your items, but even if an estate person is knowledgeable enough to know the value of an item that does not mean that he or she will be able to sell your item for that value. There is no better way to get an idea of the realistic value of your items than to see the prices the company has obtained for similar items in the past. AAA Auction has many of its prior sales online that will allow you to get a very good idea about the realistic selling price of your items. Of course, there is never a guarantee and there are sometimes exceptions, but if you use a professional company with good advertising and a good following, you can be assured that competitive bidding in the marketplace will result in your item selling for a reasonable and true price.

What do others say about the company you are considering?

I should have clarified above that when I suggested that you hire an experienced company, I was talking about one with good experience. The way to find that out is to ask their former clients what they think about the service that they received. At AAA Auction we have testimonials posted on our website for you to review. Whether we are working with our Sellers or our Buyers, we are very grateful about all the compliments that folks have given us about our friendliness, promptness, empathy and honesty.

Does the company you are considering hiring have the manpower and facilities to handle everything you need?

One of the mistakes most everyone makes in sizing up an estate job is the amount of time it will take to get it done. Another is making a mistake in the logistics of setting up an auction; packing up an estate; loading a trailer and so on. Until you have done this many times, I guarantee that you will think the job will take less time than it does. At AAA Auction, we have not only the experience to size up a job correctly, but we also have the hard-working staff, trucks, trailers and storage space to process your items in the best way possible.

How many people participate in the online auctions of the company you are considering?

Don’t be fooled by a person who claims to have several hundred thousand registered bidders. There is a big difference between the number of registered bidders with a national company with affiliates everywhere and the number of bidders who actually participate in an auction. For example, thousands of people may have walked through a certain store at some point in their life, but the question is how many are in the store right now. You should ask how many different people participated in the last auction n held by the company you are researching. At AAA Auction our bidder list is growing every auction and the prices that we obtain are evidence that we have many active bidders at every auction.