Expert Estates LLC

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 Tag: Estate Sales

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.

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!

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

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.


Elder Law's The Ins and Outs of Estate Sales

Great article on estate sales for those who need more information on how to find someone and what to know about the process. Excerpt:

There is no regulatory body that oversees the estimated 14,000 estate sale companies, so before hiring one of them you should do some research. You can search the website of The American Society of Estate Liquidators, a trade association that requires its members to meet certain education requirements and abide by an ethics code. Be sure to check your local Better Business Bureau and Yelp for complaints about companies you are considering. You can also ask for references or attend a sale run by the company. In addition, make sure your liquidator carries insurance in case there are any accidents while buyers are at the estate sale. Finally, you should make sure the company offers a written contract.

Flow Blue at Auction

We have a nice collection of antique English Flow Blue in our current set of iGavel Auction lots. These close tomorrow, so bid now!

If you start a collection of Flow Blue, here is a fantastic resource for Flow Blue collectors, you can date your English Flow Blue by the registration numbers on this chart 

Here is a video from Martha Stewart about collecting flow blue and its history. 

Flow Blue Pitcher and Wash Basin from a California Estate

Flow Blue Pitcher and Wash Basin from a California Estate

Finding Qualified Appraisers

Here are and tips from Estate Sales News with links to appraisal associations. ASEL does not certify appraisers, but does provide contact information for their local member estate liquidators. Expert Estates is a member of both the American Society of Estate Liquidators and the Certified Appraisers Guild of America.

Personal Property Appraisers – several different associations | Estate Sales News.

There are several appraisal societies and each one has certain criteria that members must meet. Some estate sales companies offer appraisal services, however, that does not make them appraisers. They may be experienced and knowledgeable, but belonging to one of these associations includes a code of ethics as well as specific appraisal education.