In case of fire, theft or natural disaster taking an inventory and documenting your belongings ahead of time is key. This document is shown to a potential agent to determine proper coverage and is given to your existing agent to ensure payment should a claim be necessary.
Not everyone in your family may agree what something is worth. This document gives unbiased written values on items $10 or more on everything located on the property. Allowing families, attorneys and judges the opportunity to split personal property equally.
Often clients need an appraisal for specific item(s). Such as antique furniture, artwork, classic cars, fine jewelry and collectibles. Being that we sell all these items regularly, all our appraisals are street value and realistic. Meaning that our research is based on how much the item has recently sold.
Most everyone's worst fear is seeing something sell for less than its worth. Extensive research is what separates the professional estate companies from the rest. Correct pricing begins with knowledge and experience. However, research takes much time and most estate companies do not want to invest that kind of time. Although, we are only human and can miss a few things, we typically find and sell many more items the family would have missed completely. This passion drives our research team to keep a vigilant eye out for our clients.
"My worst nightmare would be seeing an item on the Antique Roadshow someone found at our estate sale." -A.J Forester
The other side of the research coin is the saying, "It's only worth what someone is willing to pay." This is important to note, as one of the biggest complaints we hear is that many estate sale companies and family run estate sales both price their items much too high. It's easy for an estate company to feed your ego by saying your items are worth a fortune in order to get the job. Yet, it is these companies that have MUCH left over at the end of the sale. Now what are you going to do with it? Items are only worth something when they are actually sold. We know firsthand what your area is willing to pay for an item. We price accordingly, keeping in mind discounts, location and the time of year. If there is an item of extravagant value and we know your area is not willing to come even close to its worth. We are willing to invest in even more research and advertising to sell that special item after the sale and often outside the area. Lastly, if you're honest with yourself, no one likes to pay full price for anything. Finding a deal is half the fun. If you want your sale to be a success, hire FORESTER as we make sure the customers are not only having fun, but they are also finding great deals. Great deals means they are buying more. We have price reductions during the duration of the sale. However, we do not do price reductions the same each time. This arrangement is agreed upon BEFORE the sale during the consultation. Often, our clients ask us to completely liquidate the entire estate and to go as low as necessary to empty the house. These clients realize that it will cost them more in time and energy to get rid of the left over items than to have customers get a box lot of picked over items at the very end of the sale for a couple dollars. Everyone wins.
Estate pricing is indeed a science.
SET - UP PROCESS
Just about anyone can say they can set up an estate sale for you. From faithful neighbors, to grown kids, to hard working house cleaners, to local antique dealers, we have seen it all. They figure, "Hey, Iv'e done a lot of garage sales and swapmeets, how hard can it be?" The proof of hiring a professional FULL TIME estate company is not evident until the final results. Here are two TRUE scenarios of which we hear often:
1. We receive a phone call from a potential client that explains that they just had their estate sale and there is a lot of stuff left over and they are wondering if we can do another sale or if we are willing to buy the rest.
ANSWER: "Unfortunately, no, as once the items have been advertised and picked over, there is no more opportunity for us to sell."
2. An attorney calls and states that he has hired the services of others in the area (and outside the area) and our set up is superior and our results are unmatched. ANSWER: "Thank you so much for your comparison, as it is very difficult for our family clients to compare results as they only get ONE shot at a sale and cannot compare."
OUR SET UP PROCESS:
First step, we will come out and strategize the best and most efficient way to setup the estate.
"Refraining from anyone cherry picking your sale is absolutely key to your success."
- A.J Forester
Second, selling things on your own before your sale will diminish your positive results. Third, we bring all our own professional tables, spotlights, radios and signs. Then every item in every room, from attic to basement and every drawer and closet in-between is carefully sorted, displayed, tagged and boxed. Items are displayed like a big store and items are moved around and placed in the most optimum location, not just where it is easiest. Next, since we are experts in large events, we spec out traffic flow to ensure the best possible outcome for parking, shopping and security. Much thought and planning goes into where and how the cashiers table will be located to ensure our customers are not waiting too long. Parking is a huge determining factor as to whether we are able to help a client. Customers only can attend if they can easily get in and out of a parking area. As FORESTER estate sales attract between 500-800 customers for a small sale, and 1000-5000 (no exaggeration) for a large sale. This means we need to make sure there is ample parking for 25-45 cars minimum though out the entire weekend.
Effective and profitable sales, means estate set up is taken to the highest level of preparation.
ESTATE SALE EVENT
We believe every family deserves the BEST service and so we accept both small estates as well as very large ones. The three biggest mistakes people make before their estate sale:
Mistake #1 - Clients hire a realtor. This is a huge, and often fatal mistake as good realtors to their jobs and sell your house. This often leaves very little time for you to locate, and hire a qualified estate company. Plus it then leaves very little time for that estate team to get their job done. Worst of all, it leaves very little time for effective advertising. Wait until you have had your estate before you hire the realtor. Then they will have an empty clean house to sell or get minor repairs done quickly for immediate occupancy.
Mistake #2 - Clients start purging their house of things they think will not sell. By throwing away, donating everything in their basements, attics, dressers and barns. The world has changed and unless you are a research expert and you sell every weekend year round, you do not know what people are looking for. Plus we have collectors on our lists who are paying hundreds of dollars for items that look like old rags and trash. Let us go through everything and decide what will sell for you.
Mistake #3 - Clients think that they can make more money by selling things before we get there, and thus not pay a commission. We are looking for draws for your sale. You need to make sure your sale is worth attending to the customers. People love untouched estates. You need to use every item possible to get people to your sale. Why would you try to sell your vehicle one person, one offer, at a time, when we can get hundreds looking and making real offers (not dealers) on your vehicle all at once. Since FORESTER is incurring all financial risk and paying for everything upfront, do not be surprised if we have to decline your sale if we believe everything of interest and value in your estate is non-existent or no longer available.
After our extensive research and set up is complete, we then take photos of every room and hundreds of particular items that we believe will be a draw for your sale. These photos are then combined with a sale description and placed on multiple PAID websites statewide. Your sale is also listed in a paid local newspaper. We also have a paid Social Media Coordinator on our team to set us apart from any other competitor. FORESTER has the largest local following of customers in your area and has a nationwide draw for our exceptional estates. We then bring in trained FORESTER employees, not contractors, nor do we pay people under-the-table, to run your sale. We hire and pay for all insurances and taxes to ensure the absolute best people are in your home and selling for you. Be sure whomever you hire, that they are using year-round employees and not just loyal helpers. This outstanding and fun team, is placed around the estate in key areas to not just to stand around, but to actively engage the customers, negotiate and sell. If you are new to estate sales, be sure to visit a few so you can see first hand how each conduct their sales. Plus we pay for GENERAL LIABILITY insurance as your home owners will NOT pay if some one falls in your home. Our insurance company thoroughly investigates any claims and presses charges for fraudulent claims. All at NO extra charge to you.The first day is always full price with some negotiation. Day two starts right off at half off, then 75% off later in the day, and then prices get even lower towards the very end should our client request. Remember, after literally hundreds of buyers have picked over all your items, and most of the expensive items are long gone, any items no one wants left after the sale will end up being donations.
A huge investment of paid staff and paid advertising is key to a successful estate.
FINE JEWELRY & COINS
Although many beautiful and valuable pieces of jewelry can be sold at an estate sale, the advantage of hiring FORESTER is that certain pieces deserve more attention, research and value. Our sister company MAGMA GEMS JEWELRY deals only in fine jewelry and has the ability to sell your platinum, gold, sterling and precious stones for three times more than at a estate sale. The other estate companies can only sell to a jeweler at a discounted price. We once found a very small purple glass pill box with some strange markings buried in an estate. Our client had no idea where and how her mother received it. No one in Michigan knew what it was. After TWO YEARS of research we discovered it was a authentic Russian Faberge and was sold for $1200! Our client was absolutely amazed. Although the length of time was extreme, we typically are able to turn around fine jewelry in 30 days. We have current buyers on our private list that are ready to pay up to $200,000 for specific pieces and diamonds.
"They say I'm crazy to go through every single coin in a collection, but I believe it's the only way."
Our clients have entrusted us with just a few silver dollars they have saved from childhood, all the way up to $80,000 collections with gold bullion and rare paper notes. In every case, we have been able to exceed the total price for the collection even those offered by coin dealers. Honesty is how we have built trust. FORESTER is known for finding 25- 1909 SVDB pennies (xxx-rare) and gave them all back to the client.
HOUSE CLEAN OUTS
No one ever thinks about needing a clean out until one of three events occur: Your house is for sale or has sold and you need it emptied. Or you have just completed a garage sale or estate sale and there is tons of junk left over. Or you find out the hard way charities are nor longer willing to take as much as they used to.
"After doing clean outs personally for 10 years, I have concluded there was always far more junk than I thought and it was always way harder to do than I wanted to admit!"-A.J Forester
Often, our clients either live out of town or they know how awful cleans out are. We are able to get you a quote for a complete clean out with or without an estate sale. We begin by donating anything that the charities are willing to take and get YOU a receipt. Unfortunately, the list of items most charities are no longer taking is getting larger. Including, no books, no appliances, no handicap equipment, no old tvs, no cleaners or oils, no glassware, no old clothes over 5 years old, no holiday items and the list goes on. They may accept a few things from you at their door, however, most of it is going "into their dumpsters out back" according to their Management.Clean outs could also include basements, attics, barns, rafters, appliances, mattresses and even deep cleaning of bathrooms, kitchens and windows. This service is not inexpensive, however a beautiful necessity and a wonderful service. Remember, the money is in the real estate. Think of your time, your body, your safety, and the expense of a truck and dump fees (especially for refrigerators/freezers).
Don't let the clean out cost slow you down. Famous last words for those who have decided to do it themselves, "This is awful, we should have hired someone to do this." If you insist on doing it yourself and just need a dumpster, we can get you that help too.
If you have 10 firearms or 110 (actual collection we sold was 111), we are able to help you legally remove them out of your family's name, properly research and sell them for top prices.
We do NOT sell any arms that require a background check or a license to carry in our estate sales, nor do we sell arms to anyone under 18, per Michigan State and federal law. Often we will include the long rifles in a client's estate sale if it benefits the client financially to do so.
Our collections are selling for far more than the firearm auctions as we have some of the biggest collectors and buyers on our private list. Our FORESTER buyers pay far more than the local gun dealers and are willing to pay up to $25,000 for a rare piece and up to $100000+ for a collection.
"Each new screw hole from a scope mount reduces a rifle's value by $10."-A.J Forester
Value is determined mostly on condition, including if it's been re-blued, screw mounted scopes and has replaced parts. These factors can changes
everything when it comes to value. All too often we look up things online and see what we think things are being sold for. When in actuality, the prices we see are what people are hoping to sell it for. Do your best to find what that item actually SOLD for, the condition and if its exactly like yours. Specific firearms like a German Luger has many small intricacies that determine whether its a $700 item or a rare $3500 piece even though they look almost identical at a glance. Provenance and documented history could add considerable value and attract a better buyer. Age alone does not necessarily constitute value. We have seen Civil war powder muskets be worth less than a newer hunting rifle with a rare scope. We have a firearm expert on our FORESTER team who is an authority for dealers, auctioneers and private collectors. He often is asked to preview high-end collections on behalf of a buyer as his expertise is respected.
As long as your collection is part of an estate, we can help.