First, it’s an incredibly difficult task for non-professionals to get so many items oraganized, assessed and priced, let alone run a sale as it should be run. Not only is the work itself grueling, but you also have to factor in sentimentality, time, and family dynamics. Most non-pros (including attorneys, CPA’s, trustees, etc. ) have absolutely no idea what items are worth in the secondary market. Folks attempting to conduct their own sales, we have found, either over-price or severely under-price the vast majority of their household possessions. We, on the other hand, come into your home or place of business and price merchandise for sale at a fair market value. We market the items via local and regional social media channels, estate sale channels, this website, newspaper ads, word of mouth and online ads. We organize, price and display everything in a way which will net you the most money possible. There is also greater perceived value when a professional estate firm conducts an estate sale. Buyers who come to a sale conducted by Roadrunner will find high-end merchandise, professional signage, price tags and helpful staff members. Finally, bear in mind if your home is for sale, estate sales can bring anywhere from 100 to 1,000 people or more through your home in just one weekend. This kind of exposure can only help sell a property.
Ask yourself this question: ”Why should I pass up free marketing?”
Estate sales (also known as “tag sales” in some parts of the United States and Canada) are orderly liquidations run much as a retail shop would be run. That is to say, every item has a price tag. The liquidator (that's us!) determines the price of your goods while in an auction setting, the bidders determine the price. Estate sales are vastly different from auctions in that customers need not wait hours for one item or another to “come up on the block.” Also, with an estate sale, the estate itself is not at the mercy of a customer base that dwindles down as the day goes by. Offers may be placed on appreciable higher priced items at our sales. Our sales are beautifully staged, professionally organized, and extensively advertised. The public is invited into the home and allowed to shop at leisure. Staff is available to answer questions and cashiers are stationed near the single point of entry to cash out customers and let the next round of buyers through your doors.
You’d be amazed at just how well even an average estate can and does sell when offered to the public in one of our orderly estate sales. We liquidate entire estates that aren’t overflowing with 18th Century furniture, period silver, rare automobiles, or fine jewelry. Ultimately, it’s the estimated sales gross that determines whether or not we take the sale or refer it to a smaller company. We sell furniture of all types, clothing, general residential contents, portable buildings, cars, stereo equipment, tools, motorcycles, farm equipment, musical instruments . . . well, actually, a little bit of everything! Call or e-mail us to schedule a complimentary consultation at which we can advise you how to best liquidate your estate.
We operate on a flat, all-inclusive commission rate that’s based upon the total gross sales. Please see our pricing page for general guidelines. Because we operate on a percentage-based commission, we are doubly motivated to get you the most money possible for your household possessions. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, and farm implements typically run 10%, but we usually cut that down to 5% if the vehicle is a late model with very low mileage.
After the close of your sale, any fees due for clean-out or clean up will be deducted from your percentage and at that point you can expect full payment. There is no need for us to hold your funds--we are a company with integrity and don't have any hidden costs.
1. Make sure all legal thresholds are met. If there has been a death in the family, you must have legal title and full authority to sell contents of the home. Make certain, too, all disbursements have been made to heirs before you call us for a consultation. If this sale is due to a divorce or bankruptcy, speak to your legal counsel before calling us. Any liens or other encumbrances are solely your responsibility.
2. Please step away from the dumpster and the thrift store donation box — PLEASE. You would not believe what some clients have thrown or given away before speaking to us!
3. Indicate to us any items you do not want to sell before we sign a contract, as
a) commissions are based on what we estimate the gross sales to be and
b) items taken after the signing of the contract are subject to full commission
4. Please remember the majority of professional estate liquidators will not work with clients who are still living in the home. It’s simply too taxing for both parties and requires us to be in your living space while you’re in our working space.
5. The estate/owner is responsible for disconnecting from gas or water any appliances which are to be sold. The furnace and air conditioner must be in working order before we begin work, and the water, gas and electricity must be turned on and kept on throughout the sale process. (No need for a phone line, though, as we run credit card sales through a cellular phone app.)
6. If you are the representative of an estate, we will need to have a photocopy of the necessary legal documents which authorize you to dispose of the contents. We also require that the homeowner’s insurance on the home itself be current and in place throughout the sale process--see below.
A common question asked by many clients that contact us to organize an estate sale is do we have insurance? The answer to this question is “yes”. When you have any service provider come into your home to conduct business, it’s important to know you and your home are protected from possible issues that arise. We are happy to share our liability policy information with our clients and expect their homeowner's policy to be up-to-date as well if the sale is to be at the home. Having proper insurance is key—for all parties!
Some real estate agents may disagree with us on this issue, but we answer this question with a resounding “NO!” Selling a home and then contracting with an estate liquidator can — and most often does — paint us into a corner. We want to do your sale justice, and we need adequate time in which to do this. If you coordinate the sale of your real estate with the sale of your household possessions you'll find an estate sale can bring thousands of potential buyers into your home. We gladly work with realtors who want to be on site to market the home to potential buyers.
We usually book our sales anywhere from two to six months in advance. There are only forty-eight “working” weekends out of fifty-two in the calendar year, and so we schedule our sales with that in mind.
We need to promote/market the estate sale for at least 2 weeks prior to the sale. Overall, we need minimum 3-4 week do an estate sale. We have done smaller sales in less time.
While every sale is unique, approximately 95% of our sales are two-day sales. From time to time we may encounter a small sale that only merits one long day or an extremely full sale that merits three days. You can probably count on a two-day sale. We conduct most sales on Fridays and Saturdays.
Our goal is to sell the entire contents of a home but there are always some things left over in each estate. At the end of an average sale what is left is common and miscellaneous household “stuff”. We use two local charities (Revivals, Angel View) which have full 501(c)3 status--they can and will give you tax deduction receipts for your donations. If you request another charity or charities, we’ll be glad to do whatever we can to facilitate. We always encourage our clients to walk through an estate after the sale but before the charities arrive, giving you an opportunity to decide if there’s anything you don’t want to go to charity. That’s fine, too — it’s still your property to do with as you wish. Clients are always welcome to be on site during charity pick-up.
We have found limiting access to one entrance/exit deters most bad behavior. If there’s an attached garage or breezeway, it’s kept separate from the main house itself and manned by one or two staffers. Furthermore, our staff is well trained in watching for “sticky fingers.” We don’t allow drink cups in our sale venues, and we strongly discourage baby strollers which are often used by professional shoplifters, believe it or not. Should someone buy handbags or luggage, we’re careful to check each piece before it leaves the door. Precious metals and stones, jewelery, coins, some vintage toys, knives, dolls, stamps, all valuable objets d’art, etc. are kept in locked showcases. We only allow one piece to be shown at any given time, and nothing leaves our showcase(s) until paid for.
Absolutely! We find that cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles all draw large numbers of new and different customers. As a general rule, we charge a considerably reduced commission on most automobiles and motorcycles--they are not lumped into gross sales.
The charging of state sales tax is required on all purchases at estate sales in California — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And yes, we fully comply with CA state law in the collection and remission of all sales taxes. We strongly caution our clients against working with any estate sale company who doesn’t issue or offer to give a cash register receipt for each and every purchase made. Our sales receipts are available for audit/review by the Internal Revenue Service, the California Franchise Board, and our clients for seven fiscal years after the close of each sale. All sales taxes collected are remitted under our tax/site number in a prompt and orderly fashion once a quarter. Any sales tax exemption permits are collected at the cash register, stapled to their respective tickets, and kept by Roadrunner Estate Sales for seven fiscal years after the close of each sale.
We strive to pick up large debris and leave the home “broom clean” if that is one of your requests. That being said, Roadrunner is a professional estate sale company, not a housekeeping service. If you’d like the home to be immaculate and ready to put on the market, we’ll be happy to refer you to a professional housekeeper.