Monthly Archives: July 2020

estate sales 7/29/2020 – gtg

Estate Sale Treasures – Do They Really Exist?

Unearthing items that haven’t been seen for decades…

Finding the most amazing pieces of history from a time gone by…

Never knowing what you are going to find…

These are facets of the industry that estate sale professionals thrive on. Handling hoarders’ homes, collectors’ homes, or estates that have sat for years, the estate professional will go in and hunt for these estate sale treasures to sell them for the family. Do these “treasures” really exist? Absolutely! While the cable shows will have you thinking there are treasures to be found in every nook and cranny, that is simply not the case. But then again, a treasure is in the eye of the beholder. Here’s a true story about an unexpected find.

In an old Victorian estate, the estate professionals found a small door inside a closet that had been filled to the brim. It was clear that this closet had remained undisturbed for decades. Once they were able to clear out the closet and swing this little door open, it revealed an entire other room that the heirs didn’t know even existed. Armed with proper lighting, gloves, and masks, they ventured into what felt like King Tut’s tomb.

Immediately, they saw items from the Civil War era — a drum, clothing, military items, lanterns, even a disassembled buggy. As they dug into some of the trunks, they found antique maps, letters, photographs, jewelry, clothing, firearms, etc., all from the 1830s to the turn of the 20th century. Did these estate sale treasures belong to the client who passed away? No one knows — unfortunately, that information died with them. Perhaps it belonged to the original owner, and when the family cleared out the home, they overlooked this little door that opened up into a large room. If this liquidator had not ventured to look in, those items would have remained forgotten, but instead, the estate sale treasures were gathered, cleaned of dust, and sold.

Many of these estate sale treasures are found every day, mostly because loved ones may have forgotten where they stashed jewelry, gold coins, etc., and never told the children where they can find them. Sometimes there are no heirs and it is left up to the estate sale professional to report back to the executor/trustee/admin any estate sale treasures they have found.

This story, and many others like it (like finding a $70,000.00 vase in a laundry basket the executor was getting ready to give away), are great examples of why finding a trustworthy estate sale company is paramount. Not every estate will contain such treasures, but finding professionals that you can rely on relieves the family of a huge burden. This is particularly important if the loved one was afflicted with memory impairment issues, as they can hide things in places you would not think to look unless you were a professional.

Finding estate sale treasures in one thing. Knowing what to do with them, and how to find the best and most relevant market to sell them, is another. Documenting what you find with photos and a description, reporting the find immediately to the decision-maker handling the estate, doing ‘due diligence’ with research, and enlisting the assistance of professionals who can help is how you handle the discovery of something you feel is significant. Being honest and ethical in all aspects of what is found is vital to the reputation of the estate sale company.


Estate Clean Out Services – The Fastest Growing Trend in the Industry

After helping thousands of people settle their loved one’s estates, one glaring fact always stands out: we have way too much stuff. When dealing with an estate situation, many heirs realize just how overwhelming the process can be … peering into closets, cabinets, drawers, under beds, up in the attic or garage. They inevitably feel a pang of panic when they see just how much stuff has been accumulated over the course of a lifetime. Overstuffed homes have created a new industry: Professional Estate Clean Outs. Thank goodness for those who offer this service to their clients, because we are seeing a strong and rapidly moving trend for cleaning out estates.

The first thoughts among children left to handle a full estate are, “Where do I begin?” and “What comes next?” What they are looking for is someone who can offer a combination of services: estate sales plus a final estate cleanout, leaving the home empty so it can be sold and the children able to move forward. Many of them have full-time jobs, are caregivers, trying to juggle many demands in their lives, travel back and forth, etc. A large percentage of heirs are geographically remote from the location of the estate and may need to rely on trusted local resources: Sometimes there may not be enough for an estate sale, and there are options for that as well. One can combine consignment and charity, auction and charity, or just a straight donation which may benefit the client in some cases.

Estate cleanouts are exceptionally challenging for those who do not know the process of disassembling an estate in the proper order. For those interested in learning how, please go to this link to add it to your menu of services: The scope of work is grand and it is physically laborious. But with the right team and the right step-by-step instruction, this service has tremendous added value for your current business.

Your clients will most likely be baby-boomer children who would prefer to hire one professional to conduct multiple services if this is financially feasible for the family. Consider adding estate cleanout services to your current estate sale business. Together, they offer your client powerful resolutions to a challenging endeavor that lies ahead of them. When discussing these services with your clients, you can already see their faces relax, knowing someone can do this and it doesn’t have to be them.

The American Society of Estate Liquidators is a training, educational, and resource organization specializing in estate liquidation and is not affiliated or sanctioned by any governmental body. ASEL is not a policing organization and therefore liquidators are responsible for their own conduct and actions. While ASEL offers comprehensive guidelines for conduct and ethics in its training courses and materials, it does not guarantee the success of any business launched as a result of its courses. ASEL is not responsible for the conduct of an estate liquidator nor is it liable for the conduct of an estate liquidator who has taken classes, accessed resources, or is listed as an associate of ASEL. The ultimate success of an estate liquidator rests solely with the owner and business practices. All associates are certified based on information provided by the associate to ASEL.


appraisers 7/19/2020 – gtg

1. What is the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice?
The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) are the generally accepted standards for professional appraisal practice in North America. USPAP contains standards for all types of appraisal services. Standards are included for real estate, personal property, business, and mass appraisal. The Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 recognizes USPAP as the generally accepted appraisal standards and requires USPAP compliance for appraisers in federally related transactions. State Appraiser Certification and Licensing Boards (federal, state, and local), appraisal services, and appraisal trade associations require compliance with USPAP.

2. Why should I get my jewelry appraised?
It depends on the market, what you’re planning on doing with it, and the type of appraisal needed. There are 2 common reasons why people get their jewelry appraised. The first is for insurance purposes. Most insurance companies do offer some coverage (usually $1000) for jewelry in case of theft in a standard homeowner’s policy. For full coverage, insurance companies want an insurance appraisal of your pieces. The second common reason for appraising jewelry is if you are buying or selling pieces. This type of appraisal determines the Market Value of the jewelry. Other reasons to get an appraisal include cash liquidation for a fast sale, for IRS purposes regarding estates, or to determine Market Value for the distribution of an estate.

3. What do you appraise?
Any type of jewelry, antique to modern, including watches, as well as loose diamonds and colored stones.

4. Why do you charge for appraisals?
Appraising is a professional service that takes years of education, specialized training, and unique market skills. Your assurance that you are getting a qualified opinion, can only come from a certified professional. As you would expect to pay for an attorney’s legal opinion or a doctor for medical advice, so you should expect to pay for an expert jewelry appraisal. How much you should expect to pay per hour typically is linked to the appraiser’s level of expertise.

5. How much is my property (piece of jewelry) worth?
That’s always the million-dollar question. The actual value of a piece of jewelry will depend on what you are wanting to do with it. For example, a diamond ring may sell for $10,000 new (Insurance/Replacement Value); but once it is worn, and considered used, it’s retail value maybe $7,000 (Market Value). However, if you were wanting to sell the ring to a jeweler you would probably only get offered $4000 (Wholesale/Cash Value).

6. Is a bid to buy the same as an appraisal?
No. The confusion regarding this comes from jewelry buyers who are trying to make a bid to buy seem better (or more legitimate) that what it really is. Hence, when you see the term “pre-appraisals”, what they are talking about is actually a verbal bid to buy. Obviously this is not a professional appraisal report.

7. What is an independent appraiser?
An independent appraiser acts as an impartial third party. The appraiser cannot act as a buyer or a seller of the piece and can have no relationship with the pieces being appraised (or the parties involved). This assures you that the appraiser is being fair and impartial; that the pieces being appraised are not being artificially inflated or devalued. It is not the duty of the independent appraiser to determine whether you are getting a “good deal” or are getting “ripped off.” It is their job to determine the average “sales” price in the market.

8. Can a jeweler be an independent appraiser?
Yes, if the jeweler is a certified appraiser AND if he/she adheres to a code of ethics.

9. What is the difference between a gemologist and an appraiser?
Gemology is the science dealing with natural and artificial gems and gemstones, and so gemologists are trained to identify and evaluate gems. An accredited jewelry appraiser is a professional who has been trained and certified to place a valuation on the piece. Similar to comparing a realtor to a real estate appraiser. Two separate individuals – one who sells homes, one who appraises. For the record, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) does NOT certify appraisers. They only certify gemstones and award the Graduate Gemologist (GG) degree which shows the individual can identify gemstones.

10. What is the difference between a grading report and an appraisal?
A grading report or identification report is entirely about the geological information of the stone. They do not attach a value or indicate ownership of the stone. An appraisal evaluates the stone and determines the value. Often the two are used in conjunction since grading reports are used to determine the quality of the stone, while the appraisal translates that quality into value. This is especially useful when buying or selling a loose stone.

11. Do I need to have my appraisals updated? How often?
The Insurance Institute of America recommends that you have your jewelry appraisal updated every 2 years, Jewelry Appraisers recommends every 3 years. This is flexible, however, and many people update every 5 years. If you have jewelry that has large gemstones, especially diamonds, we do recommend that you update that appraisal more frequently than an appraisal for an all gold piece.

12. Do I need to make an appointment? How often?
Sometimes jewelry needs to be researched, so it may not be possible to appraise white you wait. For example, watch manufacturers may need to be called for verification.

13. Do I need to bring in old appraisals or paperwork?
Grading reports (such as a GIA diamond grading report) may not be looked at until an appraisal is done, but saves time. Anything that saves time saves you money since we charge by the hour.


ac services 7/27/2020 – gtg

Understanding Efficiency

What is S.E.E.R? This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Basically this ratio is the efficiency rating of a particular A/C system. The higher the ratio the more efficient the system. A standard-efficiency system today is 10 SEER and can, in some cases, go as high as 16 SEER. The major difference between different systems is the condenser size. The condenser is the outside unit. The larger the condenser the more efficient the unit. The reason for this is very simple. Your compressor takes in gas and raises the temperature and pressure of the gas to the condensation point. The pressure on the compressor is tremendous. This compression stroke is where the most energy is used and in turn, where your electric cost to cool comes in. If the pressure in this area can be reduced, then the compressor draws less power to do its job. Large condenser coils accomplish this task. More area for the refrigerant to be compressed into reduces the pressure and reduces the power required to do this. There are many factors to consider when buying high efficiency. One is the size of your home, the bigger the home the more you will save on energy, Two, how much you really use your central A/C system, Three, the size and condition of the homes duct system, Four, the condition of the furnace or air handler. The reason to consider these factors is time for “payback”. If the additional cost for a super high-efficiency system as opposed to a standard system is $900.00 and you use the system for three months out of the year it may take as long as ten years to recoup the initial cost of the upgrade. Meaning if you save $100.00 per season, you are looking at nine years for payback. High-efficiency systems are a great thing, but not in every case or every home. If you have a small ranch-style house with say 1200 sq ft, I would not suggest such a system for you. Your payback time may well exceed the life span on the system itself. In short, consider all these factors when you are ready to purchase a new comfort system.

Your Thermostat
The thermostat is the main controller of your home heating system. It basically is a switch. Controlling when and how often that switch goes on affects the cost to heat your home dramatically. Using a set back type stat that sets the heating system back at night or when the house is not occupied is a great way to reduce heating costs. Using these types of stats is very simple, just remember don’t go overboard, reduce the temp by no more than 8 degrees, any more then that is counterproductive, causing the heating system to run too long to reach comfort levels. Also never use setback in the summer. Doing this will cause higher utility bills. Consider the temp swings in winter, 70 degrees indoor 30 degrees outdoor, 40-degree temp difference. Summer 95 outside temp, and 70-degree indoor temp, 25-degree difference. This means less need for a setback.