The Ring

Go ahead and get your tissue box now; I have mine on my lap as I write this.  Let me tell you a beautiful story.

An 80-year-old mother knew her health was failing, but she didn’t tell her children how bad it was really getting.  Her 82-year-old husband was afflicted with dementia; the disease was just starting to rear its ugly head and become too much for her to handle, seeing her beloved husband of 58 years slip away.

This mom and dad lived far away from their two children and grandchildren by choice.  All of their dearest friends were in Florida, and that is where they wanted to spend their golden years together.  The only problem was as the years passed, they watched all their friends get sick and pass away one by one, visiting each of them in the nursing homes and hospitals, saying their goodbyes.

Their family loved each other dearly and always remained close in heart through daily phone calls and emails, reminiscing and sending each other “remember whens.”  But it was time to call in help and the children intervened, trying to get them closer geographically.  Finally, mom agreed.  When the middle-aged daughter went for a visit to discuss options and make decisions, the mom again showed the daughter where all their trust and other legal papers were located, to make sure the kids knew where everything could be found.  How heartbreaking for the daughter to see her parents decline and become fragile, and equally hard for the mom to discuss her final wishes and personal thoughts with the daughter.

Bury me in this dress, call these people when I die, don’t spend a lot on flowers, etc…

It was a difficult day for mother and daughter; the deed was done and the day dragged long.

The mom got up and went into her bedroom and called the daughter in after her.  She presented her daughter with a ring, placing it in her hand and clasping her frail, weathered hand around her daughter’s, she spoke from her failing heart:

It’s yours now.  It’s time for you to keep this.  I remember when you were a little girl, no more than 5 or 6, you would sneak into our bedroom, open my jewelry box, and try this ring on when you thought no one was watching.  You would put it on your index finger, and it was so big for your tiny finger.  I was there watching.  Mothers always watch and know what’s going on with their children.  You loved this bauble then, and I hope you will remember this moment after I’m gone, because I want you to have this.  It isn’t worth much, but I always cherish the memory of how you would tiptoe into our room just to try it on, careful to put it back where you found it.  Wear it in good health, and may God bless you always for who you are, for the woman you have become, and for what you mean to me.  I love you very much and I’m so proud of you.

The daughter was speechless and choked up all at once, trying very hard to be brave, but it didn’t work.  She collapsed in front of her mother, knowing the message she was giving her: that she was dying and she had made peace with it.

Julie ring

This story is about my mother, Anne, who died not long after that day, and I was the little girl who adored the big, purple, shiny ring.  I will always cherish the ring because of the story behind it, because mom gave it to me in person, and because of the special words that went with it.  Mostly, it made me realize I carry her courage inside me; I hope one day I can pass that to my daughter (the ring and the courage).

I wear this ring any time I wear purple.  Each time I slip it on my finger, I think of mom handing it to me and how it fits perfectly on my finger now.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

10 lbs. of Flour in a 5 lb. Sack

Downsizing may be in vogue, but the very sound of the word can make one cringe, including me, and I help people with it every day!

Funny thing how we humans accumulate so much.  We hardly notice how out of hand out accumulations have become until we stop, look around, and then panic as we begin the downsizing/selling process.

I have noticed a commonality among my older boomer clients.  They have so much in their homes, because they absorbed their parents’ and their grandparents’ possessions.  They did not really sort through them; they did not discard much or donate much to charity.  They simply absorbed the bulk of it into their own lives and homes.  Was this done out of

OBLIGATION?

SENTIMENTALITY?

TRADITION?

Fast forward 50 years … oh my goodness, what do we do with all this stuff now?

When I am called to assist a family with their downsizing challenges, I go in to ascertain values and the market, resources and options.  However, the one thing I am always faced with is this eye-opening issue:

If a client currently lives in 3,000 square feet,

and they are downsizing to 1,000-1,200 sq. ft.,

logic dictates they will need to get rid of two-thirds

of what they currently have

to fit comfortably in their new home.

Therein lies the mystery.  They still seem to think that letting go of:

6 pieces of furniture,

8 crystal vases,

grandmother’s china service,

and 9 framed prints

is all they need to discard.

“We can squash the rest of it into our new place.”

Cluttered-livingroom-too-much-furniture

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but …

You can’t fit 10 lbs. of flour in a 5 lb. sack,

any more than

You can fit 3,000 square feet of stuff

into 1,000 sq. ft. of house!

It just isn’t going to happen, no matter which way you squish it.

You could try anyway, but you will dislike your overcrowded new home, create tripping hazards, and not want to show off your new place.

“Why not let go?!”

Deal with it head-on and do it sooner, rather than later, when someone else has to do it for you.

Enjoy your new home; don’t make the mistake of taking too much.  Don’t put stuff in storage, and don’t pass the buck to your kids or relatives that do not want or need the extra stuff.

There is a season for everything.  Now is your season to let go and start over, fresh and simplified.

 

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

The Dragonfly

My garden is demonstrating a last-ditch effort to produce anything fruitful due to the heat, and regrettably, a bug infestation that has taken place as well.  I fought valiantly, but eventually the bugs won.  A little while ago, I was in the garden picking dozens of cherry tomatoes from my amazing giant tomato plant.  It is approximately 10 feet tall and draping all over the place, despite my creative stakes tall enough to support it; I should have pruned it long ago.  Stooping under the graceful limbs, heavy laden with small tomatoes I couldn’t wait to gather, I caught sight of her, a huge iridescent dragonfly resting on top of a garden stake about 18 inches from my face.

é vŕšky, Bahno

I don’t really like insects at all, though I realize they are all very necessary to keep nature balanced.  But she was different; minding her own business with her beautiful stained glass-looking wings shining in what was left of the day’s sunlight.  I said “hello” out loud and she cocked her head towards me.  When I cocked my head in the other direction, she did the same thing.  If I moved forward, she moved back.  If I moved back, she moved forward.

Suddenly, in this big and chaotic world of ours, I found myself totally locked in a dance with her, enjoying a “moment” nature provided for this one-person audience.  For a minute, we observed one another.  She must have instinctively known I meant her no harm.

What took me aback was the intelligence I experienced in a living thing so small and common that I had never noticed before.  She did not demonstrate fear or wariness by my presence.  She was not startled or irritated.  She was simply in the moment and inquisitive.  I wish I could be more like that, instead of always worrying about deadlines and self-imposed pressure.

I also wondered if the dragonfly may be resting.  Maybe that was a sign for me to rest too, because my work has kept me juggling so much up in the air for the last year.  I went about picking my tomatoes and cucumbers after she flew off; I was left with the very weird sensation that it would be me who missed her, and not the other way around.  We really are connected to everything, and sometimes we all need to “take a moment” and learn a lesson from nature.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on August 7, 2014 at 10:10 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

The Expense of “Free”

Everyone is trying to pinch pennies.  But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t send up a warning to be extra careful if something is “free.”  A “free” something will almost always lead to strings attached or something expensive coming later, like a repair, further services of some sort, or worst … it could be a scam.  In the professional world, “free” is used to attract you and extract your personal information so they can use it to get money out of you for something else.  Here in the 21st century, your information can also be used against you in the cyber world.

A Positive Thumbs Up Sign

It is equally important to realize that paying for a valued service versus a free service does have its differences.  A free service (such as an estimate, consultation, product, etc.) will only provide you with a fraction of the information, leaving you hanging for more, but then you will have to pay for it, often in more ways than one.  A paid service will get the job done to completion the first time, if you choose the right professional.

Everyone is always attracted to “free” but should we be?

My late father had a saying, “If it’s free, take two.”  He was a Depression baby.  I am not.  This is the thought process of many people.  But no, I will not take “two” because I don’t want to clutter up my home with things my child won’t want one day, and I don’t want right now.  I won’t do that to my family.

What possible trouble could “free” cause?

Let’s take a closer look at the repercussions…

  • What if something goes wrong?
  • What if the service or information is inaccurate?  Where does the liability lie?
  • What if you get hurt, someone else gets hurt, or property (such as your home) gets damaged?
  • What if they don’t complete the job, or the job goes for months with no accountability?
  • What if you dislike the results or get really bad information?
  • What if you hired family, friends, or neighbors?  That relationship will never be the same.
  • And finally, what is your recourse if no money changed hands?

Many times, people have ulterior motives for offering something for free.  Not always, but a good bit of the time, it’s true, even in my own industry (as well as every other industry).

“Free” is never free.  It just sounds good.  Free can mean hasty mistakes, and free can mean costly mistakes.  Sometimes free can be very expensive.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Dead Men Tell No Tales, But Their Possessions Do

One thing I have learned from cleaning out estates all these years is that many people have “skeletons” that need to be dealt with prior to their passing.

In the land of the forgotten (attics, boxes in the back of the closet, locked trunks, hidden in barns or sheds, etc), we find things I can’t even talk about because I will get very sad.  I do my best to let go, or tuck these things away somewhere in a spare brain compartment, hoping not to think of them too often.

It is not unusual to find love letters, adoption papers for a child that never knew they were adopted, or evidence of an extramarital affair.  On occasion though, we find things like suicide notes, drug abuse issues, different levels of pornography … some so bizarre it challenges my understanding of humans.  In once case very long ago, we even found pedophile material up in the attic after he died.  These things had to be from the 1940s or 1950s, but it still leaves a mark of sadness upon one’s soul.

We see the dark portals in people’s lives after they leave.  We will never have a clear understanding of why these people did what they did, made certain decisions, or why on earth they would ever leave those secrets behind to be found.  I think to myself how fortunate it was that my company was the one who found those items, instead of a family member who may be traumatized for the rest of their life.  It is my cross to carry … discretion and protection.

Uncovering these secrets casts a shadow which can change your feelings about the person who has died, not to mention seriously tarnishes their personal legacy.

Some things need to be told to the family

and some secrets need to go to the grave with the deceased loved one.

Remember: The dead cannot defend themselves or their actions.

It is difficult to write these things.  I am choosing to use these challenging illustrations for the greater good, in hopes that we can learn to better prepare for our own estates.  Think about the many different facets of an estate and how complex it can be.  We must not only think about ourselves and what we desire, but we must think about those we leave behind and what they may find.

TIP OF THE WEEK: Be forewarned. Clean your home and clean your life!  Take it from one who knows.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on July 25, 2014 at 9:30 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , ,

Did You Say “Cockroaches?”

The voice on the phone was very shaky and distressed.  Through her tears, I heard her say, “Doing business with people in your industry is like doing business with cockroaches.”  A knife to my gut would have hurt less.  Those words were truly cutting and very upsetting to those of us in the industry who put our hearts and souls into assisting our clients.

This woman called my office to complain about an estate sale company, one which was completely unfamiliar.  I own and direct The American Society of Estate Liquidators® and complaints regarding our members, who uphold a Code of Ethics, are minimal.  When a complaint is made on our members, usually it is easily remedied, like replacing a widget that was accidentally sold.

Phone calls like this woman’s are starting to come in at an alarming rate, and the complaints are serious.  So serious, some of them are criminal in nature, and law enforcement and the court system become involved.

For someone like me who has done my best to pave the way for ethics, integrity, and high standards in the estate sale business, this is a massive black eye.  It hurts personally.  Some of the customer complaints include not getting paid after a sale is completed.  Liquidator complaints include clients who pull items from a sale, during the sale, when they see how low the prices are and don’t want to pay the liquidator’s imposed fees.

I could never defend estate sale professionals who run an unethical business and cause these people to fall to pieces emotionally.  This is not why the “good ones” went into the business.

We went into business to make a positive difference in the lives of our clients.  We strive to uplift them and their emotional turmoil.

However, I will defend the good estate sale professionals who work from a thorough contract, have explained everything to the client with the client’s agreement, and simply do their best to get the highest proceeds from the sale.

The estate sale professional has the right to earn a good living; the work is back-breaking, disassembling a lifetime of accumulation in just a few short days.  In some cases, the clients expect far too much.  They have not yet awakened to the fact that our economy is weak, despite what the news is promising.

The estate sale professional has the right to charge a fees or commission for items clients give away, take or remove from the sale, even though the clients have signed a contract that they will not do so.  This is taking income from the professional.  This leaves them with egg on their face when the public arrives and screams at them because advertised items are gone.  This is simply not fair.

Courtesy goes both ways!

When searching for an estate sale professional, or any professional service, the responsibility falls on the consumer to research them thoroughly and interview several.

Ask associates and business owners, such as estate planning attorneys and realtors, in your community.  Check Angie’s List and BBB.  Check professional organizations, if they belong to them.  Check references.  Do your due diligence.  Then you will select an estate sale professional who will do a wonderful job for you … not a “cockroach.”

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Don’t Let Your Dentist Operate On Your Knee

Our house is starting to need some work.  There is exterior trim that needs to be painted, the siding needs power washing, and the gutters need to be cleaned out.  I would love to have some new landscaping in the front island and three light fixtures I would like replaced because they are old; the house needs an overall facelift.

Then there’s me.  I could use a little sprucing up too.  My lower back feels like it was thrown in a wood chipper and spit out, probably from all my years of estate work.  I have arthritis in my neck and hands, and a little bone in my foot that is protruding slightly (arthritis from pointy high-heeled shoes I just had to have way back when).  My hair needs the gray roots covered over and a few more highlights added, but I haven’t had the time yet.

I’m not complaining.  I’m making a point.

For each of these endeavors mentioned, I will call in a professional who knows exactly how to do them, because I do not.  I will not attempt these tasks because somewhere along the line, I will botch the work and then it will cost more money and time to fix it.  I know my limitations.  Life has shown me my strengths, and it has also shown me when I should walk away and let a pro do it.

There are many who are do-it-yourself people, and for the most part, I admire people who can get so much done on their own.  But I have also seen those who should have quit while they were ahead, for their work was not good.  I go to a back specialist for my back, a foot specialist for my foot, a dentist for anything to do with my teeth, and a hairdresser I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!  I would not attempt to fix any of these on my own, for they are not in my repertoire of skills.

You wouldn’t go to a dentist for a knee replacement, would you?

The same is true for handling an estate.  Families think they can navigate some pretty treacherous waters on their own.  In my experience, many of them have capsized the boat along the way and hurt others in the process.  All because they think they can do it or want to save the money that would have been spent on a professional.

“An estate professional knows these troubled waters and knows every aspect of handling the twists and turns.  We know the market; we can predict human nature.  We can maximize proceeds and preserve the good for you.  Even with our commission, we bring in more money than a non-professional.  We know the right contacts (local and national), resources and options, plus we guide you through the process.  It’s like having an estate expert in your pocket.  An excellent estate sale pro is worth their weight in solid gold.”  — Julie Hall

Then there are those who know and understand the worth of hiring professionals.  They want to pay to get the job done right the first time, so they don’t have it drag on, only to have to deal with it a year or so in the future.  They simply want it done, and done correctly the first time.

There is an old saying, “Penny wise and pound foolish.”  This applies to much of what I see when families deal with loved ones’ estates.  They don’t want to pay a professional, but the mistakes they make are so costly: throwing away valuables, making hasty decisions, giving away things quickly, assuming mom just had junk, etc.  They could have hired 4 professionals by the time they are done!

TIP FOR THE WEEK:  There are some things you just shouldn’t attempt.  Research and find the best estate professional; the right person is very worth the effort to find!  Moving forward through a challenging estate situation is paramount to your continued well-being.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on July 10, 2014 at 9:55 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: , ,

The Lump

If my mother were still living, she would be aghast that I have not personally reached out to you — my friends, colleagues, and blog followers.  You may know of me or know me personally, have read my writings or just started following me.  But I want to make the time to say “THANK YOU” for allowing me to share pieces of my life, and for your willingness to listen and reply.  It is my desire to inspire others, and in doing so, help myself to grow into the finest human I am capable of being.

Last week was a rough week.  My daughter got her first job, which is wonderful news in this economy, my husband’s company is downsizing and sending jobs overseas (he’s still ok, thankfully), and me, well, I found a lump.

To some of you, that may seem incredibly personal, but sitting here in my early 50s, I really have nothing to hide and everything to share, especially if it can help others.  The week was filled with “what ifs” and dread.  I let my imagination run wild, and I have one incredible imagination, if I do say so myself.  Then I got scared.  I mean really scared, and not much spooks The Estate Lady®.  I called the doctor immediately.  Truth of it is, I should have taken better care of myself a long time ago.

I found myself crying in the shower, and the best I can figure, it came from guilt.  Guilt because I have not taken good care of myself in years.  I have not eaten well, not exercised diligently.  I put on weight and am stressed out just like everyone else, still grieving the loss of my parents, etc.  My imagination suddenly threw me years into the future, where I so desperately want to be a part of my daughter’s life and see grandbabies grow.

Then I prayed.  I asked friends to pray for me.  It brought a calm over me when I needed it most.  There’s nothing easy about dealing with things that go wrong with our bodies, and medical stuff is scary.  I sat and waited my turn for the mammogram and other tests with other women in a small room, and I realized that not everyone in that room would get good news.  I prayed for them too.

Long story short, the news was good!  It was just a lump that will stay with me the remainder of my life … a calcified thing.  I got the wonderful news and my legs made it as far as my car in the parking lot when I broke into tears of great joy and heartfelt gratitude.  It seemed only right to give thanks for this blessing, and to pray for those who are also living in fear or receiving less than good news.

If you know someone who is in the midst of this kind of scary experience, just be there for them and offer support.  Everyone needs good friends to walk them through and keep the “what ifs” at bay.

“Taking our lumps,” unfortunately, is a part of life, but it sure is frightening on the literal side of things.  On the figurative side, we carry them from injuries, past experiences, and lessons learned; we live with them emotionally, mentally, and physically.  They are a part of how we become “us.”

I came home that day, and in a very uncharacteristic manner, took a selfie.  I have much to smile about and I am wishing you the same!

WP_002312

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on July 2, 2014 at 10:20 am  Comments (16)  
Tags: , , ,

Close Encounters of the Creepy Kind

From ancient times to the present, snakes have been looked at with disgust, as a harbinger of bad luck.  Indiana Jones certainly showed his repulsion for snakes from the very beginning.  We all know the trouble the serpent caused Adam and Eve.

Everyone always wants to kill snakes, when in reality, they just want to be left alone and can be very helpful to the environment.  The snake is really quite incredible, though I must admit I have no love lost for them, as undoubtedly my neighbors testify to my shrieks from several streets away when they slither across my path.

Did you know scientific studies have been conducted to demonstrate that a part of our brain and consciousness senses a snake before we visually see it?  Thank God for that!

I’m researching snakes because in the last two days, two large black snakes have crossed my path.  Both were large.  One was a black Carolina racer (the constrictor kind) and the other a harmless black snake who glided past my garden door and into the woods with gentle, nudging spray from my garden hose (after the neighbors heard the shriek, of course).

A long time ago, I shared a story about a client of mine who lived symbiotically with a 7 ft. black snake named “Frank.”  She loved Frank and let him go anywhere he wanted in her house, because he took care of the rodents and other undesirables.  Then she added that Frank was far less trouble than her ex-husband and far more pleasant!

Here are some interesting facts about snakes I didn’t know:

  • Only about 20% are poisonous.  (That’s a good thing, right?)
  • Snakes do not live in Antarctica, Iceland, or New Zealand.  (I start looking for real estate there shortly.)
  • Snakes have no ears but feel vibrations.  (I wonder if the vibrations from my spontaneous operatic high “C” had any effect on it?)
  • Snakes are very helpful.  The small ones often eat harmful bugs and insects.  The big ones eat rats, mice, gophers, and animals that destroy crops.  Good farmers and gardeners know how helpful most snakes are, and are happy to have them around.  All snakes, except those that threaten people, should be kept safe from harm.  They are part of the chain of living things, as we are!  (Thanks to TeacherVision.com for this information.)
  • In certain parts of the world, they can be as tiny as a toothpick or as long as 33 feet, and weigh 320 pounds.  (Eee-gads)
  • Some snakes can live up to 30 years.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans believed snakes to be healers.  To this day, two entwined snakes are on the medical Caduceus.
  • Native Americans and other cultures believe snakes can bring transformation and healing.  They also believe they are protectors.

WP_002283   WP_002282After seeing this, I managed to put my shovel down and watch in wonder as this large snake balanced on its tail.  If he was trying to get my attention, he succeeded.  Instead of killing him, which I really didn’t want to do, I gently used my 6 ft. long tomato pole to gently guide him away from my back door!  He left in no great hurry, as if to say, “OK crazy pole lady, just let me explore and snooze in the sun for a while, eh?  I won’t bother you if you won’t bother me.”

And what thanks did I get?  I found another snake today, who also slithered right beside me and left me completely alone.  I offered him the very same courtesy, after jumping several feet in the air.

Snakes are everywhere this time of year.  Think twice before killing them because many species are beneficial!

TIP FOR THE DAY: Be careful if cleaning out an estate, attics, garages, outdoor barns and sheds, etc.  Be especially careful if reaching under piles of stuff in these environments.  Always wear blue jeans, boots, and heavy gloves!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on June 25, 2014 at 9:45 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , ,

Caveat Venditor

“Let the Seller Beware” When It Comes to Selling Gold

Pick an industry – any industry – and there will be good and bad people in it.  The estate industry is no different.  You find dedicated souls who are simply outstanding and go the distance to help their clients, and then you have those who are in it for a quick buck and could care less.  You must heed my advice:

SELLER BEWARE!

Sadly, people do get ripped off every day, and more people get taken advantage of when selling gold jewelry than the sale of anything else.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Most people take their jewelry to jewelers, thinking this is the logical place to sell it.  While that’s not a bad choice, there are other options.  You owe it to yourself and the estate to shop around.  Some go to coin shops, antique stores, or private collectors.  Try locating places closest to the refinery; you are likely to make more money.

Here are some tips to help you get your fair share:

  1. Have sterling and gold identified as genuine.  Do not sell it at this time; just get help in identifying it.  Do not sell it in a rush, unless you have to.
  2. Find a local place that is close to a refinery, get a quote, then take it to jewelers.  Do research online to see if you can find a local resource.  Most jewelers sell to refiners, so you may want to go straight to the source.  Have your facts together first.  It is worth taking jewelry to multiple places to get the most $$ you can.
  3. Pay attention to daily spot price of gold and silver, http://www.kitco.com.  Prices fluctuate throughout the day every day.  This site will give you a per ounce price.  You need to understand that the per ounce they are referring to is pure bullion, pure gold, pure silver, NOT 14K, 10K, etc.  These are not pure, so the spot price will not apply to a handful of 14K jewelry.
  4. The troy ounce is used in the weighing and pricing of precious metals: gold, platinum, and silver.  The troy ounce is different from an ounce you would weigh on your kitchen scale.  If you get into weighing metals, you will need a jewelers scale that includes troy ounces or “ozt.”  You can buy an inexpensive jeweler’s scale online.
  5. Let’s say that gold is $1,300 per ounce.  You will not get $1,300 per ounce for your 10K or 14K because it is not pure gold.
  6. Divide today’s gold price from Kitco.com in dollars per ounce by 31.1 to get today’s gold price per gram.  There are 31.1 grams in an ounce of gold or silver.  If today’s price was $1,300 per ounce, then: 1300 divided by 31.1 = $41.80/gram.  Then, multiply by the fineness of the gold:
  • 10K = .4167
  • 14K = .5833
  • 18K = .7500
  • 22K = .9167
  • 24K = 100% gold

So if you have 10K and the price of gold is $1,300 per ounce or $41.80 per gram, then the price of your jewelry is $41.80 x .4167 = $17.41/gram.  If you have 10 grams of 10K at $17.41/gram, your scrap gold is worth $174.10.

Remember, this is for illustrative purposes.  The gold still has to be tested/assayed to determine the true percentage of gold.

TIPS:

  • Keep gold coins separated, because they have numismatic value, as well as metal value.
  • You can purchase your own gold testing kit, but it will be tested again when you go to sell it.
  • Weigh your items by grouping together (10K, 14K, etc.).  Use a loupe to look inside the piece to find a mark.  Not all pieces are marked; this is why they should be tested.
  • loupeperson1
  • Scrap gold dealers in store fronts (“We Buy Gold”) will likely buy from you at 30-60% LESS than the gold’s worth.  A jeweler will usually pay more than this.
  • Be aware that often gemstones set in jewelry are not included in the offer.  Those seem to just go along with the gold, which doesn’t seem fair to me.  IF it is a large stone, you may want to have it removed from the setting BEFORE you scrap the gold.  Please have the stone identified!
  • Private collectors may offer a very fair price, if you can find them.  Know the worth before you sell.
  • Gold refiners pay 90% and sometimes more, but they may have a minimum weight requirement.
  • Old dental gold is usually between 8K and 18K; it must be tested as well.

If you dislike math, this helpful website for gold scrap weight conversion and melt value calculator will do the figuring for you:  http://www.silverrecyclers.com/calculators/gold_calculator.aspx.

For a list of reputable dealers in the U.S., see US Mint page on recommended coin and gold buyers:  http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/american_eagles/index.cfm?action=lookup.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 864 other followers