About Estate Jewelry Sales
Estate sales after the death of a family member often are a difficult and emotional process. That is why many choose the convenience of an estate buyer who offers complete liquidation services and buys everything from furniture and clothing to appliances and collectibles.
However, convenience has its price. Estate jewelry collections and luxury timepieces are among the most valuable goods of an estate sale. They are items whose accurate appraisal value requires a high level of expertise and strong global resale network — the kind of which is beyond that of the typical one-stop-shop estate buyer.
At Diamond Estate, we have helped clients nationwide get the best possible cash return on estate jewelry collections, rare timepieces, large carat diamonds, and precious colored gemstones.
Our friendly and knowledgeable estate buyers can be relied upon for superior cash offers on diamond jewelry and watches from legendary luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co., Harry Winston, and Cartier, as well as antique jewelry from all historical periods, including Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco.
Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers’ estate buying services are managed personally by the owner, Carl Blackburn — an internationally-recognized fine jewelry designer and one of the country’s most notable estate jewelry buyers. Mr. Blackburn provides luxury estate liquidation services to clients throughout Southern California and nationwide.
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How Do Estate Sales Work?
An estate sale is a way of quickly liquidating the physical belongings of a family or estate. Usually run by professionals, estate sales are generally the result of one of the “Four Ds”: downsizing, debt, divorce, and death. With more than 10,000 baby boomers reaching age 65 every day, the liquidation business is thriving as aging boomers downsize in later life.
More than just a glorified garage sale, estate sales are designed to rid a home of all unwanted items, from furniture, artwork, and jewelry, to tools, clothing and household goods. The public is invited into the home and may purchase any item that is priced for sale, usually on a first come, first served basis. After the sale, a home is generally left “broom clean,” meaning it is ready to be rented or sold.
Before conducting an estate sale, it is best to seperate your expensive diamond jewelry and/or luxury watches from the items you plan to sell. These items are best sold through a specialist buyer like Diamond Estate, who can get you a better cash return for fine jewelry and watches valued over $3,000.
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Who Runs Estate Sales?
While many estate sales are run by professional estate liquidators, there is no strict accreditation program or national regulatory body that oversees the process, so literally anyone can call him or herself an estate liquidator. While this can lead to the possibility of abuse and conflict of interest, the American Society of Estate Liquidators does offer training, education, and a comprehensive code of conduct.
When choosing an estate liquidator, due diligence is necessary on the part of the client. Contracts are a must, and all the fine print should be considered carefully. Checking with the local better business bureau is always a good idea.
Before Signing the Estate Sale Contract
Once an estate liquidation company has been chosen, the next step is a comprehensive interview, where the liquidator will meet with the client and see what is to be sold. One important piece of advice from liquidators is simple: Do NOT throw anything away! There are many heartbreaking stories about truly valuable items being tossed or given away. That ‘pile of junk’ might be worth big money, so don’t throw anything out until you’ve had an expert look at it.
Most estate liquidators charge an average commission of 35% of total sales.
If the home is found to have enough content to make an estate sale a reasonable choice, a contract is drawn up, which includes all the particulars about comission fees and services provided. Most estate liquidators charge an average commission of 35% of total sales, and that fee may or may not include the removal of unsold items and cleaning. While this fee may seem high, consider the service provided, and the time constraints involved. Often clients need to liquidate an estate quickly in order to sell the house, and may not even live in the area. Professionally run estate sales are usually well advertised and attended, and can be well worth the money in the long run.
Sellers will need to provide legal documents proving their ownership of the items for sale, as well as proof of homeowner’s insurance. Likewise, the liquidator should carry insurance like any professional who works in a home, including workman’s compensation insurance in case an employee gets hurt.
Before the liquidator’s team begins the process of sorting and pricing the assets, the clients need to make sure they sort through the estate and remove any items they don’t want sold. Any items that will not be offered for sale need to be clearly indicated so that the liquidator does not advertise the sale incorrectly. Many companies charge a commission once they start work, so if a family removes an item from the sale after the contract is signed, they may be responsible for paying the commission.
Building Your Estate Sale
Estate sales are usually held on weekends, and are generally two day events, though some include a pre-sale on Friday night for family, neighbors, friends, and anyone else invited by the client. Some liquidation companies will prepare a sale in as little as a week, while others may take months, depending on the size of the estate and the particular needs of the owners.
Once the contract is signed, the estate liquidator begins the process of sorting, photographing, researching, and pricing all the items in the estate. If truly valuable items are found (think Cartier and Tiffany), a professional jewelry appraiser may be consulted in order to set a reasonable price. However, remember that a buyer like Diamond Estate can usually get you a higher price for such items. When signing your contract make sure you are under no obligation to sell these items during your estate sale, if you don’t receive a good enough offer.
When signing the contract make sure you are under no obligation to sell your estate jewelry, if you don’t receive a good enough offer.
Items are sorted and grouped together, and jewelry is often displayed in locked cases for security. Estate sales can draw significant crowds, so all the belongings in the home are arranged in a way to allow for a reasonable flow of people traffic.
In order to have a successful estate sale, the right kind of buyers have to be made aware of the kinds of things for sale, and a good estate liquidator will advertise accordingly with a well written advertisements and photos. Many liquidators have a regular list of clients who attend their sales, and they are notified through direct mailings or emails. Local newspapers, both physical and online, are a good way for liquidators to contact potential buyers, and social media like Facebook and Linked In are useful as well.
Managing the Day of the Estate Sale
Directional signs and parking information are posted the night before the sale, and it is not uncommon to have people lining up hours before the beginning of the event. Once the sale begins, the people in line are admitted on a first come first served basis, though some companies use a number system, where the people in line are issued a number, and are admitted in order once the sale begins. Depending on the size of the home and crowd, only a certain number of people may be admitted at a time.
Customers walk through the home, and usually pick up and carry the items they are going to buy until they are ready to check out. If an item is too large to be carried, it may be “marked sold,” indicating that the piece is spoken for, and the buyer is committed to paying for it. Unscrupulous buyers might mark items as sold as they walk through a sale, only to change their minds once they’ve seen the entire lot. This breach of estate sale etiquette is unfair to both the seller and other shoppers, and some companies only allow their workers to mark a piece as sold.
You may wish to prohibit backpacks, handbags, and strollers to discourage shoplifting at your estate sale.
Estate sales professionals should provide enough staff to manage the sale properly, and often a police officer is hired to provide extra security. Large backpacks, handbags, and strollers are usually prohibited to discourage shoplifting.
A check-out table is usually located near the exit, and customers are expected to pay by cash or credit card as few companies accept personal checks. Also, buyers will have to cover any applicable sales tax, and provide transportation of large items.
After the Estate Sale
After the sale, financial disbursements are made according to the signed contract, and any remaining items disposed of, usually by a donation to a charity. Depending on the stipulations in the contract, the home is left ready to show for sale or rent, though professional cleaning services are usually an extra cost.
Sell Estate Jewelry Before The Sale
To sell your valuable estate jewelry before conducting your estate sale, contact Diamond Estate’s jewelry appraisers today. We will provide you with a free verbal market appraisal of your items, as well as a generous cash offer. For large estate jewelry collections, we will fly out to meet with you in person, if we do not have a local office near your home.
Call Toll Free: (800) 956-8505
Estate Sales Versus Estate Auctions
Estate sales and estate auctions are both common and viable ways to liquidate an estate. While both alternatives have the goal of selling the entirety of an estate, the methods differ significantly. Deciding between the two can be complicated, and depend on the particular circumstance of the seller.
The Benefits of Conducting an Estate Sale
Estate sales generally take place in the home of the person whose possessions are being sold. This allows the public to see items in their ‘natural’ environment — it’s much easier to visualize what a piece of furniture or artwork will look like in one’s home when it is seen in a home rather than on an auction block. And because everything for sale is still in the home, there are no moving charges or other associated logistics of transporting belongings to an auction house. Also, there are no fees for photographing merchandise for an auction catalogue.
All the items for sale in an estate sale are clearly marked, and the public can browse and shop in a way most are familiar with — much like shopping in a retail store. Some people are simply not comfortable with the idea of bidding on an item at an auction, and prefer the familiarity of a set price on an item. Estate sales tend to attract homeowners looking for items for their own homes, and as such, these types of buyers are likely to pay more than an antique dealer bidding at an auction.
An advantage of an estate sale is that they usually take place over two to three days and reduces crowd size.
Another advantage of an estate sale is that they usually take place over two to three days. Not only does this allow shoppers the luxury of lingering over a particular item if they choose to, but it has the advantage of a kind of natural crowd control — the ultimate number of attendees is spread out over a weekend. And shoppers don’t need to wait around for an item to come up for bidding. At estate sales, buyers simply take an item they want to the check-out area and pay as the leave.
Estate sales professionals set the prices on individual items, and as each piece is sold separately, greater incomes can be realized. At auctions, smaller, less desirable items are often grouped together in ‘box lots’ and sold, often limiting the potential income.
The Benefits of Conducting an Estate Auction
The biggest advantage of an estate auction is simple: auctioned items are sold to the highest bidder, realizing the greatest selling price for that given day. At an estate sale, the selling price will never exceed the fixed tag price, but at an auction, selling prices can only go up. There is often palpable excitement as bidding increases at an auction, and some highly valued items can sell for way beyond what a tag sale might have realized.
Estate auctions also offer the advantage of allowing buyers to preview and closely inspect items before any bids are placed on them. At an estate sale, you may not have time to thoroughly examine an item, especially if you’re not one of the first people in line when the sale starts. Auctions allow not only for preview of goods, but they afford everyone an equal opportunity to bid on items, not just the folks who chose to wait in line at 5 am to be the first admitted. Also, if you are unable to attend an auction, you can often place an absentee bid. A member of the auctioneer’s staff will place bids for you, up to but not over an amount you specify.
If you hire someone to run an estate sale, you’d better do your homework.
Estate auctioneers are certified professionals, generally licensed by state regulatory bodies, but there is no regulatory body overseeing estate sales. If you hire someone to run an estate sale, you’d better do your homework. Estate sales assume that the vendor setting the price knows exactly what everything is worth, and unscrupulous vendors are sometimes tempted by a conflict of interest. Prices can be set deliberately high so that an item doesn’t sell, and at the end of the estate sale, the provider will ‘buy out’ the clients left over pieces at greatly reduces prices, realizing large profits.
A Three-Tiered Approach
A growing consensus among some professionals is that for many estates, a three-tiered approach to liquidation is the best.
1) For larger, higher-value items (like antique furniture, sculptures, and cars), an auction is clearly the better choice, and competitive bidding often will realize the greatest profits.
2) For everyday household items (like ordinary furniture, appliances, and clothing) an estate sale is likely to be the better option.
3) For very specialized items valued in excess of $3,000 (such as art work and high-brand jewelry), it is best to deal with a professional buyer who specializes in these items. Such a buyer will have spent years developing an expansive resale network, and will have the knowledge and experience to get you the best possible cash return.
At Diamond Estate, we specialize in large carat diamond jewelry, signed antique jewelry, and limited-edition watches, which in the past were sold exclusively via auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s. To learn why people now choose us versing attempting to auction these items, please visit the following link: Auction Diamonds, Jewelry & Watches
Contact our jewelry appraisers now to discuss the valuable fine jewelry and/or timepieces that you would like to sell. We will be happy to share with you everything we know about your items and their value on the resale market.
Call Toll Free: (800) 956-8505