A friend or a loved one passes away and you are in charge of settling the estate. At Fouss Auction & Appraisal LLC know it can be a daunting task to even consider. We always advise our clients and friends the first step should be to seek legal advice from an attorney that specializes in estates. You will need to follow certain steps before you can dispose or transfer any items from the estate. The statements below deal only with auction services and how they can be used once you obtain approval to sell or dispose of the estate.
Advance Planning– While it has become more popular over the years to do advance planning for funeral services, many families are also working with auctioneers to plan the disposition of their estates and collectibles in advance. At Fouss Auction & Appraisal LLC we believe that meeting with us in advance assures that when your collections sell, it is in line with your expectations and desires. In most cases these details can be incorporated into your wills or other legal documents by your attorney. Please contact us for more information on our Advance Planning services.
Our most Frequently Asked Questions on Handling Estate Settlement
When do we call the Auctioneer?
As early as possible. While you probably do not have approval yet to sell anything, we can provide you with several options and help relieve the stress of dealing with these issues. At Fouss Auction & Appraisal LLC, we believe the family should grieve and celebrate the life of their loved ones and focus on the family first. Our initial Family Consultations are centered on simply relieving the stress of the situation and providing options for future consideration.
There are several items that were “promised” to certain family members how can I be fair with the values?
While we can help set values on items, giving away items too early can be a big mistake. Remember to consult with your attorney on this process. Some families have no trouble during this time, however with others it can become a point of contention now or arise again years in the future. Many families have found the easiest way to insure fairness is to keep the estate whole and allow nothing to be removed. All the items are then sold through the auction process and if family members want items, they can buy them at the auction. Those who benefit from the eventual proceeds of the estate, will more than likely receive a distribution of money from the estate in final settlement, which could help offset the money they spend on purchasing items at the auction. Regardless, in this scenario everyone has an equal opportunity to buy the items and as the person settling the estate, you may avoid having a future Christmas dinner ruined because a relative claims you gave one person something more valuable than another.
Should we go through and throw away trash and other items that are not valuable before we call?
Please do not throw anything away. Too many times we hear about items that were thrown away that actually had value. Before disposing of anything, let us do a walk through the estate with you to determine if items you think are trash, might have value.
What about clothes? Should we donate them or try to sell them?
Some clothes have considerable value and this again is something you should not do before allowing us to walk through the estate. We will go through the clothes with you and either provide you guidance on how to sell them or donate them to a local charity. If you decide to donate them, we will even pack them all up for you and deliver them to the charity. You do not need to do anything.
What is the difference between what you call “Full Service Estate Settlement” and what others auctioneers provide?
According to our research, we are one of the few if not the only “Full Service Estate Settlement” auction companies in the area. Not only are we licensed, insured and bonded for the Auctioneering profession, but we are also Licensed Construction Contractors, Master Plumbers, and have extensive experience in home restoration. Our desire it to be a one call provider for your entire project. In addition to the auction services we provide families, we also offer cleaning, trash removal, painting and minor repair services to get the house ready to list, landscaping & yard work. We work with many out of town clients who have inherited a house and contents and need to simply liquidate the contents and get the house ready to sell. We will customize a specific plan to fit your needs based on our initial meeting.
What about having a “Tag” sale?
We strongly believe this is a bad idea and in our experience almost never accomplishes the final financial or other goals of the family. With a “tag” sale, a person comes into your home and tries to estimate the values of your items and prices them. While they may get close on some items, you are eliminating the advantage of the auction process when two or more people might want the same item driving the prices above the perceived value. At the end of the “tag” sale you are left with items that did not sell and an even larger problem. If you allow people to “pick” the most valuable items in a “tag” sale many times the products left have a value less than the cost of marketing or removing them. In other words, you may end up renting a dumpster and paying someone to finish the job that an auction would have accomplished.
Most states require auctioneers to be licensed, bonded, attend yearly continuing education classes, and maintain trust accounts for the protection of sellers. These are all factors which should be considered before allowing anyone to conduct “tag” sale on your behalf. Be sure to do your research and ask specific questions on professional licensing.
How do auctioneers charge for services?
There are many different models used in the auction profession for estates. Historically, Auctioneers are paid a commission for their services from the proceeds of the auction. Other items such as Advertising and Tent Rental are either included in this commission or priced as a separate expense to the seller. In some auctions the buyers are also charged a commission on purchases, this is called a Buyer’s Premium.
It is the policy of Fouss Auction & Appraisal LLC never to quote commission rates until we have actually met with our sellers in person and inspected the items to be sold. Each of our auction plans are customized to specifically match the needs of each family.
From the time we reach agreement on the terms of the auction how soon can it be scheduled?
From the date we sign the paperwork for your auction expect it to be at least 3 weeks before the actual auction event. This time frame is driven mainly by advertising deadlines. If needed, we can always try and shorten this time frame, but marketing for at least three weeks is recommended.
What if I do not have enough items to justify having an auction onsite?
This is a determination we can make in our initial Family Consultation. If we do not believe you have enough items to have your own auction, we will either make an offer to buy your estate or move it to another location where it can be combined with items from other estates creating a more attractive auction event.
Will my items bring more money if the auction is held at the house?
While it is impossible to predict the price items will bring at auction, our historical experience has shown that items almost always bring more money when the auction is held on-location.
What if I want to just sell it all and be done?
Unlike most auction companies, at Fouss Auction & Appraisal LLC we do buy complete and partial estates including the real estate. We also buy complete businesses, business inventory, and all types of products from around the world.
So you will buy the house and all the contents together?
My Parents also owned a business. Can you liquidate or purchase that also?
Absolutely. Over the years we have purchased several businesses and auctioned many more. We can also provide complete going out of business marketing plans with or without an actual auction.
Call Us Early in the Process and Schedule your Free Family Consultation