Being put in charge of liquidating the estate of a friend, parent of loved one is a difficult position to be in, and hiring a professional liquidator can definitely help make this task easier for you.
Here’s 3 simple steps that will get you to your “short list” of potential liquidators for your estate.
Step 1: Be prepared
Before you even start doing your search, you’ll need to be able to answer some questions the liquidators will likely ask you first. To see if they would even be interested in your estate, liquidators typically want to know the following:
- In what city is the estate located? Most liquidators only work in certain areas. In Chicago, for example, many liquidators will only work the South Side, or suburbs near Oak Park.
- What’s your timeframe? Do you need a sale quickly or is “next spring” a good answer? Liquidators will need to know this to see if they can fit you in to their schedule.
- How large is the estate? Mansions take less time to set up than small bungalows.
- What’s the quantity of items in the estate? Massive homes or hoarder estates take significantly more time for the liquidator to set up and will require more time and labor to organize the sale.
- What’s the quality of the estate? You may have a an estate filled with antiques, but if they are all in bad condition, selling them can be a challenge.
Step 2: Get your liquidator list together
You should always try to interview at least 2-3 liquidators before deciding which one to go with. But you may need to contact many more than that to find some that are actually available and also interested in your estate.
Here’s some great ways to get your list started.
Google. This is probably the first option that people think of, and it’s a great place to start. Just search “estate liquidator” and you’ll be presented with plenty of links and ads for liquidators in your area.
Estate liquidator websites. Sites such as estatesales.net and estatesale.com are fantastic locations to find liquidators in your area to talk to.
Talk to your realtor. If you are also selling a home, ask your realtor if they know of any liquidators in the area. Quite often, realty agents have their own “short list” of liquidators they regularly work with.
Talk with your attorney. If you are the executor of the estate, there’s a good chance the attorney you are working with also has his or her short list of liquidators.
Check out the liquidator first-hand. Pick up your local paper to find out the estate sales currently going on in your area and drop in. While you’re there, see how the estate was set up for the sale and see to how the staff works with the buyers. If you like what you see, grab one of their business cards. In my opinion, this may be the best way to find the right liquidator for you.
Step 3: Start making your phone calls…FAST!
Now that you have your list of potential liquidators in hand, it’s time to start start contacting them. Be prepared to answer their questions we talked about above in step 1.
If they are interested in your estate, they will likely want to schedule a visit to the estate itself. Their visits shouldn’t take more than an hour, so you might be able to schedule multiple visits in a single day.
But keep in mind that you need to act fast if you are interested in actually hiring one of these liquidators. An opening a liquidator might have today for your estate can disappear quickly if the he/she gets another phone call for a potential estate.
In my next article, I’ll cover what happens during these visits, and how you can turn that visit into an interview with the liquidator to see if they are right for you, your estate and your particular needs.