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Common Questions for Estate & Property Cleanout Services

Q: What is an Estate Sale?


A: An Estate Sale is a 1-3 day, on-site sale for the entirety of the contents of a property. Each and every item is priced and displayed to create the best buying experience for all parties; owners and estate sale buyers. At GES we aim to do three things, "Monetize, Maximize & Minimize." First, we want to monetize the contents of the property to the best of our ability in the short time frame of the Estate Sale. We have a robust community of buyers for items such as paintings, records, books, furniture, jewelry and so forth. In addition, we advertise on significant estate sale websites and put up signage for day-of participants.


Secondly, we want to clean, organize and advertise the sale in order to maximize reach to local buyers; thus emptying the property. Thirdly, we want to minimize your lift and manage the process from start to finish. That means we leave the property completely empty and broom swept. Setup can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks depending on the condition of the property and the volume of contents.

Q: What is the difference between an Estate Sale and a Cleanout?


A: Estate Sales require significant contents in order to draw crowds, promote impulse buying and produce the necessary revenue to warrant a 1-3 week process. If the contents are light or in poor condition, we will propose a clean-out of the property and do our best to maximize value through a local community of buyers. We may also do a 1-day sale if necessary. Once the property is ready for an assessment, we can assess the contents and provide options for your specific situation.

Q: How do you price objects?


A: We have a saying at GES, "Retail and Resale are not friends." Pricing for estate sales is a masterful combination of Art and Science. Each and every item is assessed for condition, demand, quality and quantity. With our three decades of experience, we know what people are willing to pay and the current trends. A Queen Anne style Cherry table might retail for $8-12,000, but might only fetch $1-2,000 at an estate sale. At the same time, an old record collection, jewelry and trending vintage furniture might go for near or even more than original retail. The balance of convenience, urgency and maximum value are critical in this business. You might be able to get slightly more by selling to an individual yourself, but the emotionality and time-consuming nature of doing so has proven overwhelming for every one of our clients and why the contacted our team.

Q: Can I take things out of the sale before or after contracting with GES?


A: Such a tricky question. :) While you own the contents of the property before they are sold, each estate sale is assessed for viability and value creation. Once we assess a property, no contents should be removed. This ensures that our quotes remain valid and represents the best outcome for all parties.  Prior to a sale, all items are advertised to cast the widest net of potential buyers. Should buyers arrive and items are not present, it can drastically lower revenue potential, but also harm the reputation of the sale and GES.

Q: Most common mistakes?


A: Many times a family or their representatives will allow family and friends to "Shop" the property prior to or even after contracting GES for an Estate Sale. While personal items like momentos, family pictures and bequeaths should most certainly go to the next of kin, many times the contents of the home are stripped of the quality & quantity of items necessary for a well attended estate sale. The Estate Sale and Thrifter communities look at the advertised pictures of a sale and if there is not a sufficient quality and quantity of items, they will choose to attend other sales. This of course reduces successful outcomes.


Also, another common mistake is attending the sale. Family members and representatives are emotionally tied to the contents and the property. Walking around with John and Jane outsider as they ask for a steep bargain on Granpa's treasured hutch, can sometimes be very emotional. We ask that representatives and family not attend the sale, but we are happy to provide a walk-through prior to the sale if desired. We have nothing to hide, but everything to protect.....especially your emotional wellbeing!

Q: Can you assess my property and give me a quote?


A: Yes, of course! Once the contents of the property have been secured and assigned for the sale, we will do an on-site assessment, catalog the property and provide a quote. Once a contract is executed, we will arrange scheduling and begin working on the property. As mentioned above, we ask that no contents be removed from the property and that the property is not accessed without our knowledge. Given the contract, we become responsible for the contents of the home at that time and we need to protect your property and our on-site property.

Q: What if you find something hidden that is super valuable? Also, sorry to ask, but how do I know that you or your team won't take something valuable?

A: We would have the same concerns! GES consistently finds hidden items in books, walls, under beds and in pockets of every conceivable container or clothing. We search through them all FOR YOU. If we find something of value that seems to have been hidden or was unknown to our clients, we set it aside and discuss how we would like to proceed with that particular item.


As to the second question, all of our team members are vetted and we are a very reputable firm. Even one misjudgment would provide disastrous consequences for our decades old business. But, we do operate under a very odd rule. We assume that some family members and/or their representatives might not trust us and we tell our team members that if they find anything of value, it could have been placed there as a test by our team or even the client. When our team finds money in books, quarters on the floor or even a dollar shoved in a desk in the attic, we set it aside and make you aware of the find. At almost every sale, our clients get a bag of change from all the nooks and crannies of the house. If there is a Rembrandt in the corner that looks like a doodle, we will have our appraisers verify and will make sure you are aware.

Our reputation is our business and we will NEVER violate your trust for a quick profit!!

Q: What happens to the leftover contents?


A: At the conclusion of the sale, all contents are either donated or discarded. We will leave the property broom swept and empty of all contents.

Q: How is the estate sale organized?


A: Great question! The GES team will go throughout the entire property, from top to bottom and organize all of the contents. We go through every cabinet, drawer, piece of furniture and area of the home (no matter how dark and full of spiders it may be) and organize those contents by room. We try to group items efficiently so that buyers will find clothing and shoes in one room and tools and equipment in another. After everything is uncovered and organized, it is individually stickered, priced and displayed. These are photographed, advertised and sent to our extensive list of private and public buyers in the region. On the weekend of the sale, we open the doors to the public from 9-2 Friday thru Saturday and 9-1 on Sunday. All contents are secured within the home and one door of egress is provided so that contents can be monitored at all times. Typically 3-5 GES team members will attend a sale and monitor individual rooms to keep items organized, answer buyer questions and keep property secure.

Q: What can you not sell?


A: We do not sell alcohol, guns, ammo, ivory, taxedermy or pets. We also do not sell the personalized property we find in the process of organizing and cleaning, such as family portraits, money and change. Those items are delivered to the family and/or the family representative.

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