1. Visit Some Estate Sales
    This will help you understand how they work and enable you to ask specific questions about the process.
  2. Check How Long They Have Been Running Sales
    Look over all the companies in your area.  Many come and go in less than a year.  Find a company that has been in business for more than 3 years and knows what they are doing.  Mystic Mermaid Estate Services has been in business since 2010.
  3. What Do They Charge?
    Don't let the percentage charged be the only criteria when choosing a company. Find out how many fees they have.  Some companies charge for organizing and set up which could add up to thousands of dollars.  Some charge for credit card fees.  Mystic Mermaid charges only 1 fee, 30% after the sale is over.
  4. Find Out What They Do With The Left Overs After The Sale                          Some companies will claim all left overs after the sale and will take these items as their own.  Ask questions. Mystic Mermaid meets with the owners and asks them what they would like done with the items left in the house: charity, auction or online sales with proceeds going to the owners.
  5. Interview In Person
    Once you have narrowed it down to a few companies ask them to come and meet with you. They will want to see what you want liquidated.
  6. Do NOT Throw Anything Away
    Do not throw anything away before meeting with the companies. Every company will tell you this and there is a reason. That "pile of junk" or "that trash" might be worth big money. Seriously...don't throw anything away until you have an expert look at it.
  7. Marketing is Key
    Ask each company how they will market your sale and where. Mystic Mermaid markets on several websites, advertises in the central newspaper in the area such as Virginian Pilot or Daily Press, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter and email blasts to over 2,000 people in the area.  Many of these potential customers are followers from our store Mystic Mermaid in Ghent.  During the sale we place colorful red and yellow signs throughout the neighborhood and main streets directing drivers to the sale.  This signage brings in many customers who were just driving by, saw our signs and followed the arrows.
  8. Visit a Sale Run by the Company You are Considering
    The best way to get a feel for a company is to watch them in action. Go to a sale and don't let them know who you are. Look and see how it is set up. Interact with their staff at the checkout. Do they treat people with respect? Are they efficient? Look for what is important to you.
  9. Get a Contract
    A contract is extremely important. It should detail out when the sale will be held, how much the company is charging, when you will get paid, etc. Do not hire a company without a contract. You should both have a copy of the contract after signing it. A good contract details out what is expected of each party.
  10. Ask The Same Questions
    Make a list of questions to ask each company. That way you are comparing apples to apples. They may have a brochure or something they can send you in the mail. Here are some questions you may want to consider asking:

    • How many days do you think it will take to set up?
    • What is your commission?
    • Are there fees besides your commission?
    • Do you have insurance?
    • How long after the sale will I be paid?
    • How many people do you generally have staff a sale like mine?
    • Do you have a contract? Can I take a copy home with me to look over?
    • How many days will the sale itself be?
    • What happens to the left overs after the sale?
    • When would you be able to do the sale (dates and times)?

Hopefully these tips will help you out. It's a true learning
experience but worth the time and effort.