Frequeantly Asked Questions

What is the best way to dispose of my estate?

Most often, the liquidation is conducted as an estate sale. We have found that for most items, this works best. But depending on the type of item we are selling for you, we sometimes use other methods. If we think it would be more advantageous for you, we may opt, with your permission, to sell an item on eBay, market it directly to a customer, or send it directly to Sotheby’s or Christie’s. 

I am thinking of having an auction, which is the best way?

This is a very common question we get asked.   We have liquidated estates both ways, and usually, an estate sale will raise more money. The reason is pretty simple, if you have a table and you want 100.00 for it, we have all weekend to find one person to buy it. At an auction, it takes two buyers willing to pay $100.00 for the same table. Both of these buyers not only have to be at the auction at the exact same time, but they also have to be at the auction at the exact time that the table is being sold. Many buyers don’t want to spend all weekend at an auction waiting on the one item they want to come up for sale. Holding a fixed-price sale will let a buyer purchase an item immediately rather than waiting at an auction. 

However, on rare occasions, an auction may be a more viable option, and in some situations, we may actually do both.

 

I am just moving, can I have an estate sale?

Believe it or not, most estate sales are now due to moving  It is far more common to have people move out of state, downsize to a smaller home, or move into an assisted living center. 

 

Do I have to have valuable antiques or art to have a sale?

No. Most sales mainly involve normal, household contents such as kitchen items, furniture, and clothes.   Although we have a strong market to sell antiques and art, the more common items are often more desirable because everyone can use them. Whereas not everyone can spend $2,500.00 for an oil painting, almost anyone can use a new shirt, an extra frying pan, or a pair of pliers. All the small items add up.

           

What can I do to help?

This is our job, so basically, nothing--Just relax. That’s right, it’s actually easier for us if you do not try to help us out during the sale or the set-up time leading up to it. Obviously, if you are keeping something from the house, you need to take it home before the sale, but there is no need to clean out closets or drawers or move anything that you are selling. We once did a sale for a lady who spent two weeks packing everything in the house into the living room, only to have us spend a week to put it right back where it was. It doubled our work and wasted two weeks of her time.

 

What should I throw away?

Once again, nothing. Except for personal, financial records or perishable food, never throw away anything. No matter how much it looks like trash, let us look at it first. You would really be surprised how often people throw away the valuable stuff at an estate sale. At one sale, we found about $4,000 in books in the trash, and at another sale, about $5,000 of antiques in a pile of stuff being donated to a charity before the sale started. If you are planning to donate anything, you should wait until after the sale is over. You really would be surprised at what people will buy. There is always something left after the sale is over to donate. If there really is trash and needs to be thrown out, we will take care of that for you.

 

I am thinking of doing the sale myself, why should I hire someone?

Very simply, it is about our experience. We know how much different items will command on the secondary market. Often inexperienced people will sell the valuable items for nothing, and turn around and overprice something else and not have it sell. This usually results in a lot of stuff left over and the sale earning much less than it would have had it been contracted out. The next thing to think about is time: Do you and your family really want to spend a month setting up a sale? Whereas we can set up and host a sale in one week. If you are set on doing the sale yourself, the best thing you could do is to hire us to do a market value appraisal on the more expensive items and collectibles, just to make sure you don’t sell that $5,000 doll for $75.

 

If I hire someone to do the sale, why should I hire you?

We are the only company in Oklahoma City that only does estate sales. This is our specialty. Every other company or person that does estate sales in Oklahoma City either have other primary businesses or jobs and only do estate sales part-time. We are able to focus on the sale at hand and not be distracted by other business. Secondly, We have held more sales than anyone else in Oklahoma City. Every Year, we usually hold twice as many sales as the next largest Estate company. Obviously, the more sales we hold, the larger our email list will be and the more up to date on prices we will be.

 

Should I be there during the sale?

No. it is much easier for us to conduct a sale if you are not present. Many customers are not comfortable shopping when a family member is present. Also, no matter how prepared you are for the sale, it can be very hard for you to watch people milling around the house and digging in the closets for clothes. To you, everything has memories associated with it. To the shoppers, it is just one of a dozen sales they are shopping on that day.   It only takes a couple of people making off-hand comments about the choice of wallpaper or the style of furniture to really offend someone. We feel it is our job to make this process easier on the family and to eliminate the stress involved with it. This is why we suggest you not involve yourself during the sale, and let us take care of it for you.

 

What happens to everything left after the sale is over?

This is up to you and is different on every sale we do. Everything still belongs to you. If you want to keep the remainder, we just leave it for you. If you don’t, we will try to work with someone to come pick up anything left over. You may also opt to donate the leftovers to charity. 

 

When do I get the proceeds for the sale?

We usually cut you a check for the proceeds, less our commission, seven business days after the end of the sale.   This gives us time for the credit cards to deposit and allows us to process the checks and make sure that any 'hot' checks are collected. Even in the event that a check does bounce, you are paid regardless of whether we collect on it or not.

 

Do you accept credit cards?

Yes, we accept cash, credit, and debit cards. In some sales, almost half our sales are credit/debit cards. We were the first and still are one of a few companies to accept them, at no additional cost to our customers. Any legitimate company should accept credit cards. 

 

What happens if there is bad weather?

Weather is rarely a factor in estate sales. Unlike a garage sale that can be rained out, an estate sale is inside and snow, rain or wind rarely will affect you. In the event of a weather emergency, we may opt to reschedule your sale

 

Can I put out flyers to sell my house at the sale?

Absolutely. An estate sale is a great place to get exposure to sell your home. You will have hundreds or even thousands of people attend a sale. We have had many homes sell because of the estate sale and you simply cannot beat free advertising.

 

How will you market my estate?

We will market your estate in many different ways. First, we will place large ads in the Daily Oklahoman or other local newspapers. Also, we will place several estate sales signs at major intersections directing traffic to your home. A large fifteen tall foot banner will be placed in front of your home. Finally, everything in your home will be photographed and videoed and placed on our website and three other estate sale websites, plus Craiglist and Facebook. We have thousands of people every week preview the upcoming sale and we directly email thousands of people on every sale to notify them of your sale. Almost half of our customers are repeat customers who will attend every sale, even following us as far as Enid, Lawton, and Tulsa.

 

Should I wait for spring to do a sale?

No. The best months to do a sale are September, October, January, February, and March. Although fewer people will be shopping, you have very little competition with garage sales in these months. When spring comes, there may be hundreds of garage sales the same weekend and it is simply not possible for customers to make it to every sale. This is not to say that spring is a bad time, but do not let it be a factor in deciding when to have a sale. 

 

Do all estate sale companies offer the same service?

No, even though the rates may seem similar, the quality of service will differ drastically from company to company. We feel we offer our clients the most comprehensive service, and we invite you to call and allow us to show you how much more service we offer over most other companies. 

 

Professional Tip:

Attend an estate sale conducted by the company you are considering hiring. As a potential client, we invite you to attend one or more of our estate sales to see first-hand the difference made by our attention to detail, our security, our experience, and our sales team as they assist the thousands of customers who attend our sales.

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James Bean Estate Sales is Oklahoma's Most Experienced Estate Liquidator. Contact us today for a consultation.

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