Frequent Asked Questions
What is your fee for meeting with us to discuss the possibility of an estate sale?
Our consultation with you is free of charge. If we determine that an estate sale is not in your best interest, we will provide you with guidance by recommending other alternatives.
How much time is needed to prepare an estate sale?
We need a minimum of two weeks in order to properly plan, promote, and prepare for your estate sale.
When is the best time of year to hold an estate sale?
There is no bad season for an estate sale. Our experience has shown us that people will come to estate sales even in the winter. Since estate sales are in-doors, the weather outside does not impact our ability to set up and promote your sale. Additionally, in the winter, garage sales and yard sales will not compete as much with your estate sale traffic.
Are you Insured?
Yes, Michigan Liquidators is insured. All sale locations big or small have coverage. It is standard policy with all Estate Liquidations valued over $250,000.00 to place the owner or executor as FIRST SECURED PARTY and furnish them with a copy of policy.
How much do you charge?
We are paid a percentage of the gross sales. This percentage is determined at the time the Estate Sale Agreement is signed. It is based on how much of value is remaining in the household, balanced against the time and work involved in setting up the sale. All other things being equal, the more valuable the sale, the lesser the percentage for commission. Our standard fee ranges between 30 to 35%.
We pay for all set up costs, labor, and normal advertising. There are rarely any up-front costs for you. If there are, they are normally things like dumpster service during sorting and staging if it is necessary.
As we are paid from the final sale total, it is in our common interest to present the most attractive sale we can and sell as much as we can. In addition to helping our clients deal with cleaning out the estate, we also want to make the sale as financially rewarding as possible for them.
Do you own a Store Front or Consignment Booths?
No! Michigan Liquidators considers this to be a huge conflict of interest. From a clients view, THINK!, No more said.
What if we need to liquidate an estate immediately?
At Michigan Liquidators, we understand that sometimes a client cannot afford to wait in order to hold an estate sale. That's why we offer a comprehensive Buyout Service that allows you to liquidate your estate immediately and receive cash for all the items. ( Additional cleaning services are available for Estates requiring major cleaning and removal of debri.) An Estate Buyout is the best option for those who need to empty a home as soon as possible and/or raise cash immediately.
What does an estate liquidation entail?
In our case, most estate liquidations include our coming into your home and accessing the estate. After you hire us, we sort, clean, organize, research, price, market, and sell your collection and furnishings from your home. At the end of the estate sale we offer a few ideas to liquidate any items that did not sell. (Option 1). These items can be delivered to Goodwill or Salvation Army where you will receive a donation slip. (Option 2). We contact several bulk buyers to arrive the day after sale to purchase complete remaining contents by closed seal bid. Also included in some of our extra services, we can clean the house, garage and yard for you, so that you can market the house and not have to worry about any more work on your end.
How do I know if I need to have an estate sale?
When your home or the home of your loved one has enough items in it to house a small apartment or home, you have enough. We need to have a full or nearly full home to have a sale in order to bring in lots of clients to give you the best price on your more expensive and collectible pieces. If you have only a few things, consignment or a buyout might be more up your alley.
How do I choose an estate liquidator to help me?
When you interview different people to give your sale, try to keep in mind these people will be handling your family heirlooms. If you feel you can trust them alone in your house and that you can communicate openly with them about your wishes, you are probably safe to hire them. Do check to see if the company is properly insured and can provide you with references if desired prior to signing agreement. Research, and you will know when you have met the right ‘fit’ for your sale.
Can the family members be present at the estate sale?
Family members are always welcome to attend the sale. Stopping in to see how the sale is running is normal, but then it is best to leave. Family members present at the sale causes the customers to be uncomfortable and not want to purchase items. Customers do not want to hear the detailed emotional history on a item or how much a family member paid for it. From past experence we have also seen, if a member of the family is present and a customer recognizes this, they will go directly to that family member to try to strike a better deal. This not only places the family member in a uncomfortable position, but under mines the reason we were hired.
Why should I have an estate sale instead of sending it all to auction?
Antiques & collectibles are eagerly sought at both auctions and estate sales. We set the prices at an estate sale, so there is more of an element of certainty in knowing what might be achieved. But the real difference is in the normal household "stuff". It typically sells for next to nothing at auctions, but can add up to a good deal of money at estate sales.
Also, estate sales are much less affected by weather conditions than on-site auctions, allowing customers to shop in comfort no matter what it is like outside. This gives the potential for an estate sale at any time of year, even the middle of winter when on-site auctions are on hold until spring.
One last bonus, in the case where the estate residence is for sale or will be going on the market: Estate sales are fantastic opportunities for potential home buyers to come through the house. The most common question we hear -- "Is the house for sale?" It has happened more than once that a sale attendee became the eventual buyer of the property. If the property is for sale, we urge you to have real estate flyers on hand for us to give out.
What do I need to do to prepare for an estate sale?
When you hire Michigan Liquidators, nothing. All we ask is that you don't throw anything at all away and let us do the sorting. We experience daily that many familys will do a quick clean prior to consultation due to mess, not realizing they are throwing away items that have a value.
What am I responsible for during the sale work wise?
In most cases, absolutely nothing. It is nice if you give us a contact phone number so that we can call you from time to time to check on any issues that do come up like, “Should we sell a coin collection that we found or would you care to keep it.”
What happens if my Mother or family has hidden money inside the house and it is found by the liquidator? Photos? Love letters? Personal papers?
Michigan Liquidators cannot answer for other companies, but in our case we simply set these things aside, along with anything else that seems too personal to sell without permission. The individual who's signature is on the Estate Sale Agreement is immediately notified so they can make arrangements for pick up or have property mailed or shipped to them.
Should I donate the general household items and or throw away the junk in the garage etc. before I have a liquidator in?
Some of the biggest mistakes our clients have made was to dispose of items prior to hiring and using a professional liquidator. We can and do sell nearly all that you have, no matter how bad it looks to you. Please, do us both a favor and leave every single thing in the house, garage and yard until after we conduct the sale for you.
How do you appraise art?
We can appraise certain art and do so by researching it. When we feel a loss for knowledge or we need someone more well versed on the art
you have, we contact a third party appraiser we trust for assistance.
How do you evaluate appraisals on items that have already been done, i.e. furs or jewelry?
Normally a percentage of set value. With past sales we don't remember ever getting full value on a fur or clothe item but many times have gotten more on
jewelry or pottery. A huge factor is, how old is the appraisal and who did the appraisal.
What if I decide I want to keep something out of the sale?
Simply ask. We request that all family members remove any items of interest prior to the arrangement of sale.
What if I should decide that I want to cancel my estate sale after Michigan Liquidators has began working on sale?
We would charge you only for our time invested and the money spent on advertising to date. This is not preferred, but we understand when people change their minds and hearts. These fees along with other details can be viewed in our Estate Sale Agreement.