Estate settlement professionals help Tri-Citians clear up the mess
Do you have unwanted items lying around? Maybe an entire house?
Tri-City real estate liquidators can help you by offering a variety of sale formats, including traditional tag sales, auctions and direct buys.
Real estate sales aren’t just for seniors, or even estates.
Rick Craig, owner of Craig Estate Sales, has been running door-to-door tag sales throughout the Columbia Basin for 28 years. In addition to estates of people who have died or who need to downsize before moving into an assisted living facility or retirement home, many clients are simply moving out of state.
“Mostly Hanford workers,” he said. “Nuclear families are like military families: they come and go. They don’t know how long sometimes, so they sell everything and buy new when they get there because moving is too expensive.
Craig holds at least one sale a week.
On Monday, he and his team arrive and start sorting.
On Tuesday and Wednesday they organize the articles and take pictures to post on Thursday on their website to advertise. Friday is the first day of the sale and everything is priced.
On Saturday everything is half price and on Sunday it’s make an offer.
“We always open at 8 a.m. sharp. People say we’re the most expensive in town, but we try to make as much money as possible for our customers first. We’re doing really well,” Craig said.
Upon completion, all unsold items are sorted and routed to charities, thrift store donation centers or the landfill accordingly.
Craig Estate Sales charges 25% to 40% of the total sale in fees depending on the size, condition, value of the estate, and the amount of labor involved in cleaning and preparation.
Craig’s wife, Linda, a real estate agent at EXP Realty – The Phipps Team, will represent the house if needed and will orchestrate carpet cleaning and other basic tasks to prepare the house for sale, making it a package deal complete.
Craig began managing real estate sales as a partner to a banker friend who was later promoted to his institution’s trustee division. The company viewed real estate sales as a conflict of interest, so Craig took over.
“I had been to a few other estate sales and it was awful. If it was my grandma or my dad, I would have been really upset. So I decided to help the elderly at the worst time of their lives,” Craig said.
Business took off, and the retired Marine made real estate sales his full-time job.
Not your grandma’s estate sale
Musser Bros. Auctions and Real Estate decided to throw its hat into the estate liquidation arena when, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, a family friend was dealing with an estate.
The house was to be sold, but also colossal collections of baseball cards, tools and coins. The friend knew they were valuable but wasn’t sure how to proceed.
“Scott (Musser) has been in the business for about 40 years…but he never really got into the real estate aspect because there’s a lot of pans and little stuff,” said his wife, Teresa Musser. . “But at the time, all the usual places selling collectibles were closed. We decided to take care of that.”
They predicted that they would win between $3,000 and $4,000 at auction for everything.
It brought in $25,000.
“There was something there,” Teresa said.
She and her daughter, Jacqueline Musser Gering, decided to develop the concept.
And so, Musser’s new brand, Estate Details, was born.
How it works: Estate items are sorted, divided into lots, photographed and uploaded to the Estate Details website.
Anyone can browse lots, create a free account, and bid on items until lots close.
Estate Details also holds monthly auctions where anyone can bring items up for auction. Some smaller domains are integrated into it. Additional ad marketing is available at a cost.
The overall cost of managing an entire estate varies depending on the complexity.
All items are also subject to a 15% buyer’s premium and sales tax.
After winning an item, shoppers register for a pick-up slot and collect their items from Musser Bros. Pasco office or the house where the domain is located. Shipping is also available. Additional charges apply for items held beyond the day of pickup.
“What differentiates us from tag sales is that with us, we sell almost 100% of what’s out there,” Jacqueline said. “Tag sales are often negotiated. At an auction, the price never goes down, it always goes up.
Of course, the caveat is that unless a reserve price has been set, which must be met for the item to sell, one runs the risk that the items will not achieve the expected price. . It all depends on the right buyers showing up to bid.
This is also true for tag sales.
“Some people don’t want it in their homes,” Teresa pointed out as a benefit of the online auction format.
Estate Sale Flip
Another option for people who don’t want to hold a home sale is to sell their entire property or a selection of items to a single buyer.
Liz Thompson, owner of ET Estate Sales in Kennewick, buys items, partial and whole estates, then resells the items at her retail store at 422 E. Columbia Drive.
The 18,000 square foot store is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Thompson said her bread and butter is the two to three truckloads of furniture she receives each week. But ET offers a bit of everything, from antiques to jewelry, housewares, collectibles and more, depending on what she and her team are going through during the week.
People with items to sell call Thompson. She then looks at the items by appointment on Monday and decides if she wants to make an offer. If his offer is accepted, his team comes with a truck on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Once the items are installed in the store, photos of the new arrivals are taken and posted on ET’s Facebook for the public to preview.
“What customers appreciate about us is the privacy of no one coming through their door and knowing exactly what (price) they’re getting,” she said.
Thompson and her husband have been in business for 17 years, in their current location for nine years.
She said her grandfather’s passion for collecting inspired her.
“Collecting has always been in my blood, then my husband collects antique marbles… When we first met, he had a jar of them on his table, and now we have this big store.” Thompson has an affinity for perfume bottles.
She said “matchmaking” items with new owners is the best part of the job.
“I get goosebumps sometimes.”
Asked about the strangest objects they’ve come across, Craig took the cake with a World War II 15mm mortar shell found in a trunk in the basement of a Richland rental. Soldiers arrived from Yakima to disarm him.
Thompson’s favorite article was a press kit for John F. Kennedy’s 1963 visit to Hanford.
Hidden money is a reality when it comes to estates.
Thompson and Craig found $20,000 and $15,000 in furniture, respectively. They returned the money to the families.