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.

 

Filtering by Category: Shop Smart

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.

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!

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.

 

Certificates of Inauthenticity

In the course of doing fine art and personal property appraisals over the years, I can't count the number of times I was called to do an appraisal for a work of art that was completely fake but came into the buyer's hands with a Certificate of Authenticity. And you know I hate to be the bad news bear, right? In some cases, the certificate in question was meant to go with an authentic work by the artist but got attached to a fake instead, in other cases it stated the work was authentic but was not issued by right authority, foundation or expert in the artists' work. But which were the cases I hated the most? When the fine print or a little digging would show the buyer on their own that the certificate had no merit before they spent their money.

Ending soon on eBay, there is a listing that falls into that last category. It's heading states it is an "Original Watercolor Ink Signed Andy Warhol with COA" Well that sounds like you would be bidding on the real thing, doesn't it. But let's see, who issued the certificate?

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Well, the seller has a photo attached of a fancy looking paper issued by a group called the National Fine Arts Title Registry. If you visit the nice title registry folks online, you'll see that in exchange for a payment, they will create a record of an art work based on the owner's input. I am sure that they are providing a great service for folks who are using them to document their own collections. But this paper in no way proves that the Warhol in question is authentic, and in the case of this listing, the document pictured even states that the work is "Attributed to Andy Warhol". An attribution statement is always a red flag. So not only is this not a certificate, if you read it, you will know that the seller is not really telling you it is by Andy Warhol. Convenient for them, isn't it?

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We can talk more about recognized experts and having a work of art correctly authenticated another day. This work has a letter from someone in Italy but the person is not a recognized expert in Warhol authentication.

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For now, just read the fine print, remember that anyone who will mislead you about what they are selling will also go to great lengths to convince you that they are not being misleading. For too many people all it takes is a little ole "certificate". But not you, because you shop smart!