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.


Six tips for maximizing the proceeds at your estate sale

One of the things that keeps us so busy is not only a loyal following of shoppers, but also a steady stream of estate sale clients - families are counting on us to find a loving new home for their personal property. I want to share a few expensive mistakes people make when they think about liquidating an estate:

1. Myth: I can get a sale ready myself over a few weekends off. I don't need to spend money on an estate seller.

Reality: Most families underestimate how much work it is to get an entire estate sale ready. You might think everything can be set up in a couple of days, but an organized sale that brings the most money - is going to be full time job, probably for 2 to 5 people. Professional estate sellers have an experienced crew working for usually between 1-5 days to set up an average estate sale. Taking a month or more to get your sale ready will probably leave you frustrated and tired. It can also cost you much more in the end - the more time it takes to get your estate sale ready, the more carrying costs you have. Factor the carrying costs of your real estate as well as your time away from your other tasks and your own home. How much is the monthly burden of the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintaining the yard, your travel time and expenses, etc? Does it really make sense to spend more time to try to "save" on professional helpers who can finish in a fraction of the time?

2. Myth: You can price things based on what your family paid for them and get the most value, you know what the things are worth. Your dad said not to sell the model T for less than $23,000 and he knew what they are worth.

Reality: Many clients feel they know the value of what is in their estates, but what I have found is that a professional estate seller knows the current market best. What your dad said something was worth 5-10 years ago probably isn't accurate today. Sadly, sometimes our parents think they have an original antique but they actually have a more common and less valuable reproduction. The pitfall here is that at a family run sale, often you will sell some items for far less than they are worth today, and you could also be left with some big ticket items because in today's market the item your dad said was worth $23,000 is just going for $18,000. A professional knows what shoppers actually spend on second hand goods at an estate sale, their experience can bring you the most by liquidating everything at the current fair market values.

3. Myth: Get rid of all the small things so that you can focus on the big ticket sales. Clients may want to donate clothes and household goods, get rid of Tupperware and cleaning supples, so that shoppers can see and spend on the other more valuable things. 

Reality: All the small items in an estate add up. Estate sale shoppers are looking for everything they need for their homes. They won't decide to buy a dining room set just because cleaners or shampoo bottles were not available for sale at your estate. If we sell 150 articles of clothes, shoes and accessories for an average of $5 each - that is $250. Laundry detergent, garden supplies, paint and other cleaners at $1-3 each can add another $250, and some estates with a lot of these items can see figures adding up to thousands just on small everyday useful things.

4. Myth: The percentage or fees are the most important factor in determining who I should sign a contract with.

Reality: Most clients focus on the costs involved, they forget to ask a key question when they interview companies: What do you think the sale will generate? One liquidator might seem like a bargain at a 30% commission. But if they are not spending time staging, cleaning and researching the items they are selling - the sale will not generate maximum proceeds. A seller who takes extra time can generate two or three times the sales. I have had dealers tell me they have purchased similar items from my sales for far less at other sales - but they buy! A sale of a bracelet at $65 instead of at $25 will definatly justify a higher commission. Which is a better choice - getting 70% of a $4,000 estate sale, or getting 50% of an $8,000 estate sale? Also, find out which companies carry insurance and worker's comp coverage - if there is an accident or injury, saving a bit on the fees might have been a very costly mistake.

5. Myth: I need a specialist to handle high end items, Jewlery and art, and I should sell some of the good things myself to family friends before the sale to save on the commissions.

Reality: A true professional estate seller should be able to determine where to best sell even very high end items. They can broker auction contracts for you, and they know which dealers, auctions and customers in your area will get the most for the items you have. Estate sales are competitive, the more things you have to sell, the more people will come to your sale, and the more people see other shoppers in line buying, the more they will feel the urge to hurry up and grab what they wanted. Even if your seller tells you they plan to liquidate a stamp collection with a dealer before the sale - most are going to factor your entire estate's value into the commission. So you might sell some things yourself and avoid a commission on those things ... you can be sure that you are going to be paying higher commission on the rest of the items you are selling now that you cherry picked the estate and sold off the best or most sellable things. And worst of all, some sellers might be too busy with better estates to be able to help you if the best things are gone. In some cases, I have had to tell families that they sold or gave away so much that the rest is just a garage sale or a charitable donation. They could have had a $10,000 sale, but they end up selling $4,000 on their own and not having enough desirable items left to attract buyers needed to generate the other $6,000. Estate sales are competitive, remember, you want the best possible sale!

6. Myth: My family didn't have antiques, we don't have enough to hire a professional. 

Reality: All of the everyday things in the estate add up - often our best sales don't even have antiques, they are just normal homes full of good kitchenware, tools and newer furniture in good condition. If you have a smaller sale, and even with a big sale, including the vehicle in your contract can help get a seller interested in also taking care of the personal property at their best rates, that can save you a lot of work and time and will bring in as many shoppers as possible to your estate.

I hope these tips help you with thinking about your estate liquidation. Call me at 661-823-1635 to schedule your free consult!

Upcoming Estate Liquidations

A little preview of our first three liquidation projects coming up in 2018. We are so excited for estate sales coming soon in Anaheim, Tehachapi and Bakersfield. Contact me at 661-823-1635 if you need a free estate sale consultation or if you need help with liquidating anything at all! We love to help families with: 

  • a special collection
  • family heirlooms
  • antiques
  • fine art
  • vehicles
  • full estates
  • hoarder homes
  • business liquidations

Estate Sale Gallery

Some of the highlights of our sales since the summer - we have covered estate sales from Bakersfield, to San Luis Obispo and from Tehachapi to Palmdale and Santa Clarita. Thank you for keeping us so busy again in 2017. I never know what we will come across and these are some of my favorite sold items from the past few months. It is amazing what you can find at an estate sale - nothing is too big or too small for liquidation service providers. One call sells it all - we can take care of everything from vehicles, to huge safes, pianos and pool tables to vintage specialty items like collectible enamelware and high end handmade rugs. We can't even count how much furniture we have sold since we started. Call me for your free consult anytime you need an estate sale or consulting services. 661-823-1635.

5 More Estate Sale Tips: My Estate Liquidation Year in Review

It has been another busy year of estate liquidating for Expert Estates LLC. My team and I are so thankful to all of our shoppers and all of the folks who refer their friends, clients and family to us! 

I expanded our estate sale coverage area and am booking more sales in Santa Clarita, Lake Elizabeth, Lancaster and Palmdale while we are still working great sales in Tehachapi, Bakersfield and Kern County. This weekend we have our first sale in Llano and two weeks ago we had our first sale in San Luis Obispo. We had great feedback from one of our San Luis Obispo estate sale shoppers who told me:

Let me tell you though, your estate sale went down in the history books. So unorthodox and so genius, my circle of resellers and estate sale people all state they’ve never been to one like this before. Pretty darn epic.
— Estate Sale Buyer and Reseller

There is nothing that makes me happier than when we get feedback like that from our sales. It is always nerve-wracking breaking out into new territory, especially for a sale that is out of the ordinary. When things go great, we are always thrilled.

Some of my estate sale tips from this year:

  1. Every sale is different, and every liquidator is different. Get to know us. If there is something you aren't used to as a shopper - just ask us about it. I am always more than happy to explain why I do things the way I do at my sales. I know not everyone does it the same way, but I have my reasons. Of course, I think my reasons set me apart in a good way! 
  2. Negotiate before you pile. Please, don't expect to make a huge pile at my sale and then offer $10 or even $50 for it. I will expect to add up what you have and charge accordingly. Piling the items keeps other shoppers who might have paid full price from putting it into their pile. Please understand that if another shopper is paying $25 or so at my prices for a handful of things, they are going to be resentful if you walk out with a steal and they will probably never return to my sale. If you are a dealer or buying in bulk, do us both a favor and ask us before you stockpile about getting trade pricing on the things you buy.
  3. Be discreet if you are negotiating. It might pay off. Or maybe I will tell you when I can give you a bulk sale price, etc. Communication is key in any negotiation, based on my experience, you and I are both going to be unhappy if your pile has to go back to the shopping area. I want to help you get good deals when I can, but I am obligated to get the most I can for the estate also. I would violate my contract if I didn't do that.
  4. Don't interfere with our sales or hurt our bottom line. I overheard one of my shoppers telling another shopper, "Oh, she wants too much for that." And it was an item that both of the shoppers wanted to buy. If you want something and someone else wants it, don't try to turn the other shopper off, odds are pretty good that I will find out about it. Even if I didn't hear it, the other shopper will tell me later. I am less likely to work with this "sneaky" shopper on special deals, and I might even ban them from my sales if I feel they are hurting my bottom line. I usually give someone a chance to reform before I ban them from a sale, but there are times when I have done it on the spot with no warning.
  5. If you want something big or expensive, let us know asap. I had a large, high priced item recently and at the end of the first day, I sold it to the last customer at the sale. The next morning, someone else came and wanted to buy it. He was upset that someone else bought it. But he never told me he was planning to come back to look at it again, or that he was researching it, or seeing if he could move it. Whatever it was, I didn't know and couldn't factor it in. If he had just told me that he had been thinking of buying it, he probably would have been able to. But when we haven't seen any interest yet at the end of the day, I closed a deal as soon as I could. So if you think you might want something, let us know because someone else - maybe even the person who told you the price was too high - might be negotiating for the same thing. Chances are, I only have one!
  6. Lastly, estate sales are competitive businesses, we appreciate good word of mouth advertising. We always love good reviews online and your referrals. Let us know if you gave us a five star review, or if you told a friend who needs a sale to call us. Share our sale post with a friend. That makes our day and we will remember it! At the same time, if we did something that you didn't like, talk to us about it and give us a chance to make things right. We are all only human, after all, so far I haven't met anyone who is perfect!

My team and I are looking forward to another great year in 2018! We have a sale this weekend in Llano and one next weekend in Santa Clarita. Come see us soon!

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.