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Be sure to include the missing item on the itemized list at the end of the sale. Reserve the Right to Cancel. Consider covering cancellations in your contract. This can cover both the client and the business, by the way. However, if the owner cancels the sale, they are liable for all work done up to the sale as outlined in the contract. Another estate sale professional charges a minimum and a cancellation fee.

Only you know what is worth it and what you can handle — monetarily and emotionally! Taking care of yourself first is the best way to better serve your clients who do play by the rules. We get it. Clients often are not at their emotional best, and while they need to get everything done in a timely manner, it can be hard to get some of them moving. Pass the Baton. Look for auction companies that specialize in quick liquidations and are used to getting the ball rolling with this sort of thing.

Lay Down the Law. It might be time to get real. Just sit your client down mano a mano or like a child, whichever works and tell them the truth: that in order to do the sale, they need to co-operate. Concede to the Contract. When in doubt, refer to the estate sale contract which should have dates and times notated for easy reference. Be Kind. One estate sale professional worked with a client room by room.

Of course they have a million reasons why they should be there: they can tell the history of the items, they can add a personal touch, they know where everything is. Set Ground Rules. Your time is money and your client should view it as such. They hired you to do a job, which is to make the most money for their estate.

Batten Down the Hatches. See the 4 about taking items before a sale. Be clear that staying at the home does not mean picking through the estate sale items, especially after pricing and appraisal. Add Shiny, Sparkly Objects. Clients are people, and people can be like cats: easily distracted.

One estate sale professional had the brilliant idea of putting together activity folders with fun events in the area and through in a gift card to the movies.

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Roll the Dice. You can always just take your chances. Not all clients are emotionally distraught, stressed out, or have meddling natures. Many estate sale professionals have conducted sales where the home owner or family were present, and they stayed out of the way and were helpful. You never know! Charge Extra. Some estate sale professionals charge extra commission for folks who insist on staying in the home.

Avoid, Avoid, Avoid. And then support your case. Some estate sale professionals will not even think about doing a sale when the client is there because it ultimately ends up costing money. They get in the way, they interfere with pricing, they distract or creep out customers, they can get emotional, among other things. It is bound to end badly.

Flip the Script. If you do take the sale, realize your job title no longer includes a big part of your regular work — appraisal and pricing. Since your job will be a bit different for this estate sale, adjust your pricing. Since your role is essentially labor, change your commission to an hourly rate and charge the rental of equipment and supplies.

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Cover Your Bases. Allow the client to do the pricing, but make sure you still get paid.

Your client might think twice. Take the Bye Road.

Estate Sale Tips #1 (ADVERTISE!!!)

As always, you can reserve your right to refuse the sale. Some estate sale professionals have been burned too many times by letting amateur clients take the reins. Pricing is a big part of estate sales — and how you get paid. Best to let the professionals run the show.

HOAs can impose a number of rules that can pose problems for your estate sale. You might be told the owner needs to call in each guest, or that guests need to be accounted for on a guest list. Among other issues with HOAs: signage limits, special permits needed ahead of time, and other things that can delay the estate sale process.

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How best should you respond? Change Venues. Some estate sale professionals contend that a house subject to HOA rules and can limit success and reduce earnings. Your best bet might be to move the sale to another location altogether. While this is usually not an option for most liquidators, it may be in your best interest to look up a place to rent as an alternative. You vs. You have a few options here. You can try to reason with the HOA, appealing to good old common sense.

Tell them the event and parking will be overseen by your staff.

How to Handle Difficult Estate Sale Clients

Or try sweetening the deal. Whether that means you have to kiss up, grease their palms, or just bake them some cookies, do what you have to do. As they say, you can catch more flies with honey! Find a Work-around. Try something like scheduling appointments ahead of time. While this may be a challenge, it could be worth it if the alternative is giving up the sale altogether.


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And as many estate sale professionals will admit: gated communities can be very lucrative and worth the extra hassle.