Estate Clean Out : Warning Signs To Watch Out For
If you are reading this article and have experienced a loss of a loved one, I offer my condolences as losing anyone you love has no comparison. Sometimes surviving loved ones have not only the sadness to deal with, but also what was left behind from your beloved one. It’s this unplanned project that creates another stress in your life that you didn’t expect. You now have to deal with the home that they lived in and all the contents ( stuff ) that they accumulated through the years.
Most of us are descendants of family members of the depression era and these folks, god bless them, but in some cases had trouble throwing away used tissue paper. The result is a home full of contents that is now a question of, what do I do with all these items? Do you just haul it away? Do you comb through everything ? How do you evaluate what items have value? Imagine the time it takes especially when you don’t live in town and you have to spend days going through things wondering if it’s worth keeping ( sentimental reasons ) or are things worth selling to help defray the cost of the expense.
There is another issue best suited for your attorney , but there may be tax issues resulting from the items left in the home. But let’s concentrate on some certain issues that you should be attentive to.
Estate Clean Out Companies are junk haulers- When you search for a company to assist in cleaning out the estate, you will notice that there are “ Estate Clean Out “ companies. Please understand that the majority of these companies are in fact junk haulers. They are using the term estate clean out to get your attention and have you call them. They have no specialization in evaluating items and basically offer removal services.
Evaluation Needs- In most cases, there is usually the need for an evaluation of items that may have a value and can be resold. You may need to have these item sold to pay for legal expenses and funeral costs. Be careful not to trust some removal companies that offer expert advice of pricing items. Unless they have a certification through an appraisal learning institution, it’s their guess only. I just heard of an appraisal company that went in and saw a ceramic egg. They thought it was a copy of an original Faberge and almost tossed it in the trash. They stopped and had it analyzed in New York. The value of the egg was at 8 million.
Another incident was when an appraiser saw old original music announcements in home and was curious about the value. He made an announcement and received a call from famous music producer Barry Gordie. I believe he paid 2.0 million for the posters. Before you run out calling for all the contents to be thrown away, you may want to consider having things looked at.
3. Estate tag sale or estate sale- Actually both mean the same thing , but depending on what part of the country you are in they use different terms. What we are talking about is selling items that are not 8 million eggs. We are talking about lamps that are worth $ 25.00 and a dinning room table worth $ 100.00. Like a yard sale, this “ tag sale” hopefully is performed in a professional way so that the items look valuable , not like a “ yard sale “. Hopefully many items will be sold and there won’t be a lot of stuff left. You will make some additional money minus the fee that is charged by the estate sales person. Usually the fee is between 20 % to 40 %. Remember you get what you pay for . You may pay 40 % , but get more money and less stuff to get rid of compared to the 20 % folks.
4. Removing the remaining stuff- Although you may call it junk, as the saying goes one person’s treasure is another person’s garbage. You will want to have a professional go through these items to determine what can be donated and what is to be thrown away after the estate sale. After the “ evaluation “ have the professional contact a donation facility to pick those items and make sure you get a receipt. You’ll save on taxes! The remaining “ junk “ items will be thrown away .
Cleaning after removal- Ok so you have followed all the steps above and now you see you are in an empty house. Your family has decided that it’s best to sell the house, but of course as you know, the house has to be in good shape to sell. So the first step is to clean the house. Now I don’t mean broom swept , but an intense clean where even you could see your self living in the home.
Repairing the house- Now the house is clean, but you notice that the house is not in sell-able condition. Your loved one didn’t believe in replacing the carpet and between the stains and the rips, you need to do something. Also the walls are stained and 1960’s green ( you know what I am talking about ), won’t sell in these times. So you are going to need to have a contractor repair the home until it can be sell-able .
Staging a home- Your next step is create a home that looks like someone can live in it. I understand at this point that you just want to run away and have the real estate agent take it off your hands. But that means you would be willing to take less money when the house is sold. There is no law against doing this, but with some additional funds ( especially from the estate sale you just made ) , you can have a professional “ stage “ the home and create a better selling situation. You see when folks are looking for a home they have a hard time seeing the home when it is bear with nothing. Set up the home so it looks like real people live there and your chances of selling the home and even getting more money for the home are greater. All those responsibilities, who wants to do that- I agree that’s a pain especially when you weren’t planning to have this task. It’s also an annoyance , if you live far away.
There is an option to avoid the headaches. Why not have a company that can orchestrate all these services themselves and you don’t have to do anything. I have to be honest I really don’t know anyone but Address Our Mess that can offer this “ orchestration “ of the estate clean out services as a whole.
We actually assign one professional from our company that is responsible for hiring everything from estate sales professional, unwanted items removal, charity distribution, cleaning services, home repairs and staging of the home for resale.
Your question maybe is how do we make money. Well if you think we charge a service fee your wrong ( sorry ). Our company will hire and manage the estate sales professional, and home staging professional at no charge to you or your client. Where we make our profit is the unwanted item removal, house cleaning and home repairs ( drywall repair, painting , new flooring,etc. ).
The services we manage , but don’t charge for managing is a service we provide to make the process in a difficult situation more tolerable. If you are going through the estate clean out process, I wish you well and have an easy process through this challenging and emotional endeavor.