Expert Estates LLC

From One Good Home to Another

Hire the original Estate Sale Experts for all of your liquidation and appraisal needs. We offer professional quality with true integrity. Both BBB and ASEL memberships set us apart.

Our California estate sales are the place to find: Modern, Vintage, Art, Furniture, Home and Garden Goods, Tools, Antiques and just about anything else...

Our estates are always fresh, never picked over, and found for you by Southern California's Premier Estate Liquidator and CAGA Certified Appraiser, Lisa Kroese.


Estate Sale Shopping Tips

I was talking with someone recently about estate sales and there are some things I think people don't know about estate sales. We stay so busy with sales, that we don't always get a chance to just chat about what it is like for our shoppers or the clients that hire us to liquidate. 

One of the things this shopper said to me was that she never goes to a sale on the middle day. She thinks that all of the best inventory sells on the first day and all of the good deals are on the last day.

As an estate seller, you should know that we are there to sell every day we are open! If you see something you like and you didn't make it to the sale on the first day, by all means come and look as soon as you can. If you liked it - someone else probably does too!

If you come on the middle day but someone else was planning to wait until the last minute, you could go home with the prize. You can alway ask us as liquidators how flexible we are at that point with our asking price. 

Our contracts with our clients generally require that we get the most we can for our clients, but they also authorize us to negotiate and make deals to ensure a fast sale. 

My tip for shoppers is to be not only discrete but also polite when you are asking for a discount. The more you are buying, and the more you are known as a regular at a sale, the easier it is for us to justify giving you that special deal.

Another thing the shopper thought was that everything good is gone after the first day. That is true of some things, but not everything.

Sometimes, as liquidators, our clients have sentimental attachments to some of the best things in the estate. In order to get a contract, we might have had to agree to try to get more for some of those things than we as liquidators would have wanted to ask for them.

Once our sale is open and we are ringing up sales - it can become a lot easier to get our clients to accept lower offers on some of their very best things. I recently had a sale with a pair of antiques that my client didn't want to sell for less than $900. On the final day of the sale, I spoke with her and she accepted our highest offer on them, which was for $700. 

Don't blame the liquidator if some items that are special seem to be priced above what you might want to pay, we might personally agree with you about it! But we have to balance not just our desire to make a sale, but also attempting to get what our client wants for the item. We are always ready with research and details on sales records, sometimes our clients gladly accept those data points from us. And sometimes they soundly reject them informing us that 20 years ago, a friend offered them $5,000 for the item in question. 

Once our sale is open near the end, we might be more likely get a client to accept the current fair market value - the price we may have recommended all along. We want the item sold, we want everything to find a loving new home, just like all of the puppies at the pound.

So, yes, all of the days of the sale, estate sellers are working to bring our shoppers great deals. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are hired to liquidate a family's heirlooms.

We are obligated in our contract to get the most we can for them and to ensure a fast and fair sale.

When you shop with us, understand that our job is to sell their items in a weekend or two to ensure a fair sale and to get the most we can. We are hard at work trying to balance and juggle all of those needs - get a fair price and sell it all. So don't miss out by skipping a day, or by not talking to us if you see something you love but don't like the price tag. Communication is the key to getting what you want and to understanding a liquidator's job.

How Estate Sale Organizing Pays Off

A friend of mine is moving her mother in law into an assisted living facility. She couldn't do an on site estate sale. They have moved everything to storage and she is sorting through the contents when she has time. She recently asked me what she should do now.

My first and best advice is always the same, if she had called me before she started, I would have told her to contact a liquidate before she made the move.

Now the estate is boxed up and it is extremely difficult to know what is there, and to sell everything that needs liquidation from the storage location.

I advised her to piggy back her estate sale with another estate sale, so that her items can be sorted by a professional. It isn't that my friend couldn't find some treasures, it is that she would spend so much time searching for them and then trying to sell them, in the meantime dealing with moving items over and shipping them. Plus all of the storage fees. In the industry we call this a marriage. We take an estate that has room for additional inventory from someone else's home and we marry the two. It is a win-win because the more there is to sell at the site, the more shoppers we will attract. If one family kept all of the art but another is selling lots of art - that is a wonderful marriage!

Getting a good seller who will spend the time needed to organize and research what is being sold is vital for any estate - married or not.

At my estate sale set up today, I came across a box of ordinary pins, keys, costume jewelry and what looked like mostly junk. But, I always sit down and sort carefully. It is amazing the treasures we uncover.

From this box:

From a junk jewelry box

Came this lovely pair of 14k Gold Dolphin Hoop Earrings:

14k earrings

I always get frustrated when I can only find one of the pair of earrings, or when we just find some gold earring backs. But sorting takes time and it always pays off. Even a little gold is better than none!

The Heirloom Challenge

Wall Street Journal covers what it called "The Heirloom Challenge" all about fitting heirloom furnishings into home decor. Check it out here for some inspirational photos and ideas.

Don't feel guilty if you can't move furniture from home to home or if you just want to keep what you have instead of holding onto family sofas. If you don't want to keep family heirlooms, you can always hire an estate sale expert to help you liquidate them.

After that you can just buy something you like with the money made at the sale. Or better yet, invest it, smarty pants, that would make Mom and Dad really proud, wouldn't it?

My tips as an estate seller are

  • take what you really love
  • or what you just want and can afford to move to your home
  • ask yourself if you have space at your home before moving items around
  • if you are moving things keep in mind the costs and risks involved
  • if you are working with an estate liquidator and you prefer to keep your mom's sofa, you can swap hers for yours and just sell the one you don't want to keep
  • avoid putting things in storage, those fees really add up

I have helped families who have postponed dealing with cleaning up a storage unit for literally decades. That is a huge and very expensive mistake. You might think you are going to spend every weekend for just a month or two sorting items and that your storage unit will be short term, but that often doesn't work out and there is no reason to spend money moving and storing property just so you can decide later what you want to keep and have room for. If you have room and want to move it, don't wait, just move it right in and start loving it from day one.

Call me at 661-823-1635 if you want a free estate liquidation consultation!

Selling a Home? Estate Sales Can Help

Whether you need to clear out the clutter, sell antiques, get a home staged or attract potential buyers to your home, an estate sale can be a great thing for home sellers and Realtors. When you are downsizing, moving or selling real estate, many estate sale companies will help you in marketing your home and getting the real estate ready for sale.

"Some Realtors want the house to be empty, some Realtors want the house to be staged," said Basak. If the house is full of older things that won't show well, he said, Realtors will want the estate sale to be held before the house goes on the market, so that it's emptied out. - Source: House Hunters Attracted to Estate Sales By Maralina Cockroft

Read more here.

Call Lisa, at Expert Estates, 661-474-7201 for your free estate sale consult. We conduct estate sales in Bakersfield, Tehachapi, Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita and Los Angeles.

Estate Sale Shopping Tips

I love sharing estate sale tips, I covered insider advice for shopping at estate sales on our blog here. And I just came across another story I wanted to share from The Dallas Neighborhood Guide.

There’s no better treat than stumbling upon a great estate sale. It’s sort of like discovering an open house, but there are crazy awesome deals inside.
Some people seem to be naturals at scoring at estate sales, while some of us seem are perpetually late to the party. We sought some advice from estate sale master, Monica Giddens. Her new Deep Ellum shop Wildly is predominately comprised of her handpicked selections from vintage stores and estate sales, so I knew she’d be able to provide a proper deep dive on the subject.
Here, Giddens shares a few tips for navigating the estate sale.

Read the full story here.

eBay and Auction Sales

Did you know that we have online and auction brokerage services for all of our estate liquidation and consignment clients? Check out a few of our recent eBay sales and give me a call when you have special art, silver, and jewelry to sell!

BERNARD STEFFEN (1907-1980) USA Print "Haying" circa 1937 SOLD $510

European 18 karat gold, enamel pin with diamonds and rubies SOLD $600

1950s Gorham Sterling Silver, Lily of the Valley pattern SOLD $540

Estate and Home Clean Out Services

We just finished our full home clean out for our last estate sale in Bakersfield. Check out our photo album detailing the emptied and clean results. Our team will leave your home real estate ready anytime you need us.

When you need an estate clean out, you want a team that is experienced, thorough and careful with your home and belongings. Whenever needed, Expert Estates can come and take care of routine cleaning for vacant homes or handle full clean outs after your estate or moving sale.

We are trusted, bonded and insured. Our workers are professional and trusted. Just call us at 661-823-1635 or contact us online to schedule your home cleaning or full clean out. We can haul your trash, take care of sales and handle donations for a full service liquidation solution.

How to research heirloom values

I recently had a question posted on Linked in saying "I have some antiques from my relatives who have passed away. How do I research to find out what they are worth? Help!"

There are a lot of ways to get a valuation, if you know what you have (for example, you know you have a Lalique vase, and a Fenton Ruffle Bowl, etc) you can research sold lots for free in eBay's advanced search tool. eBay auctions can be all over the map though. I recommend you might also search for sold and live lots for free at

Sometimes local museums or swap meets will have free or low cost appraisal days, so I would look into those in your area to see if any are coming up.

If you have a lot of items and you aren't sure what you have, hiring an appraiser might be the best thing to do. If you decide to hire an appraiser to come take a look and tell you what you have, you can find appraisers at The Certified Appraisers Guild of America (I am a member there), The International Society of Appraisers and The American Society of Appraisers.

9 Vintage Buying Guides That Will Have You Shopping Like a Pro

You never know what you will come across at an estate sale. One sale might have the mother lode of antique china, and one might be full of cool cameras. You can often get whatever vintage finds you love most at great price points. These buying guides will have you shopping with confidence for some of the coolest things to look for at estate sales.

A Beginner's Guide to Buying Vintage Clip On Earrings

Let me know about your favorite buying guides, share them in the comments.


Round Up

Never overlook anything when taking on an estate liquidation project. Specialty auction houses can be the key to getting the most out of rare objects.

This Superman hankie brought over $5,700.

Hiring an expert to handle your liquidation can help you navigate what should sell where. And can find the perfect venue for unusual items. This can be the key to maximizing proceeds in an estate.

Hake's Americana and Collectibles

A Jupiter Robot with its original box sold at Morphy Auctions for $36,000.

And Heritage Auctions' June 19th Fine and Decorative Arts and Estates catalog with prices realized is available here.

If you need help with liquidating your estate, we can help whether you need a full estate sale or just need a few special items sold online, in our store or in a specialty auction house. Contact Lisa today.

Estate Sale Insider Tips

A recent news article highlights some great estate sale seller tips. If you need a liquidator, here are some highlights:

Making sure you hire someone with references, and who is bonded as well as insured is critical.

Also, anybody in the liquidation business that is not collecting sales tax is not in compliance with California law. This presents a huge potential problem - if the state cracks down and catches the person you hired, they could be out of business overnight when they are hit with tremendous fines for back due taxes.

Note some companies don't collect sales tax from the buyers, but they deduct it from the sale price. That means as the seller you are paying the tax for the buyer - this means you are being paid $9,250 for a $10,000 estate sale.

Ask your liquidator who pays the sales tax. At Expert Estates, we have the buyer pay it so you are paid $10,000 for a $10,000 sale. This saves our clients 7.5% in Kern County compared to some of the other sellers in the area.

The truth is, lots of people have estate sales while they’re still alive, and antiques are falling out of favor. And as for the curating, estate sales specialists tell you the biggest rule: Don’t throw anything — that means anything — out.
— Estate sales not only follow a death, they’re for downsizing, simplifying

Full article here

Estate Sale Business Kit: Saving Liquidators Time, Trouble and Money

Some industry insiders are furious with me, but the truth is my estate sale business book is here to save liquidators time, money and headaches. Check out The Estate Sale Business Kit: No Nonsense Materials that Estate Liquidators Need.

I attribute much of my success to my contracts, and to handling problems via the contract agreement from the consult to during set up, during the event and even after the estate sale. My kit is packed full of materials liquidators need so that they can earn more profits and have more protection in their business dealings.

If you are an estate seller who wants to avoid legal problems, avoid getting pulled into dramas, family feuds and is tired of lost profits at your estate sales there are solutions. Solution 1 is a having a great contract for any type of sale relationship you take on for a client in your business. Solution 2 is having agreements and contracts between you and your employees. Bonus materials include marketing letters, checklists and a sample business plan.

One of my estate start up kit reviewers on Etsy said "Despite the description given, this was more than I'd hoped for."

The liquidation industry is booming and this book gives liquidators the materials and confidence they need for a successful business. For a fraction of the cost of buying an estate sale franchise, I am helping others in the industry to build their own brands and stay in control of their own destiny.

The Estate Sale Business Kit is packed with documents for anyone starting, expanding or improving an estate sale business. This is a nonsense, no fluff kit full of just the things any estate sale business owner needs to succeed and thrive.

Be ready with the exact contract you need to land any type of estate liquidation project or sale. Includes consulting, consignment and clean out agreements in addition to two estate sale contracts. Learn what to ask prospects and how to present your settlement statement. Marketing materials to land referrals and clients.

Protect your business with a non competition and non disclosure agreements, a sample employee handbook and employment contracts. Checklists for staff and clients, and an inventory worksheet to help you value and itemize any estate. Plus my sample business plan - the plan that set me up for success during my first three years in business.

Everything is ready for you to customize to suit your specific needs. The estate liquidation business is booming and you can improve or build your competitive and successful business with The Estate Sale Business Kit.

Hidden Treasures Checklist

As estate liquidators, we find family treasures hidden in all kinds of places. And I personally hear from families during our free consultations that they know their mom or dad had something special hidden away that just has not been found. We have come across many lost and hidden items for our clients - from safe deposit box keys, old family photo collections, to gold coins, jewelry, gold pocket watches, stamp collections, and cash. If you are missing something or you just know your loved one liked to stash things away in secret spots, this list is for you.

If you are clearing out a family estate and need a checklist of where to look, here is my list.

  • behind dressers (look for jewelry hung from mirror screws or nails)
  • under tables and chairs
  • in drawers (check underneath paper lining too)
  • under cushions and mattresses
  • under beds and furniture
  • behind art and picture frames
  • inside books
  • closets, check top shelves
  • in all clothing pockets and drape hems
  • Inside shoes and shoe boxes
  • dressers, items folded into shirts, wrapped in socks or under garments
  • purses and old wallets
  • inside old savings books and files
  • inside file cabinets
  • inside the toilet tank
  • refrigerators/freezers, check ice cube trays and jars
  • pantry, inside boxes, baskets, jars
  • garage, jars and tool boxes
  • garage and attic rafters
  • above the water heater or appliances
  • behind works of art

It is a lot of work but you should find just about anything that is there if you follow the list. Let me know if you think we should add anything for our next estate sale set up. We always love getting comments about our blog.