What Factors Affect Value?

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We want to believe that our possessions have exquisite value and will bring much money one day when we are ready to sell.  We are disappointed to learn that the heirlooms of mom and grandmother are not worth much anymore, despite the family lore.  What can affect the current value of personal property?

  • The Economy

If the economy is soft, the values for most personal possessions on the secondary market are going to suffer, like everything else.  Today’s trends are all about simplification, so the market is flooding with traditional household furnishings from our homes and our parents’ homes

  • Market trends

Are the items currently sought after and desirable to have at this time, or are they just good, usable items?

  • Value

What is something really worth?  Not what you paid for it, and not the value on an old appraisal report.  Ultimately, it is worth what someone is willing to give you for it.  Here’s where it helps to have a professional who can research your items and guide you towards achieving maximum proceeds.  Searching the internet for “values” only produces asking prices, not genuine sales comparables, not what the items actually sold for.  Professionals know how to search for your items and what they are currently selling for.

  • Popularity and Style

An item may be attractive, but it might not have much value.  On the other hand, the most unsuspecting, and often unattractive, items may have more value than you know.  Much has changed in the marketplace; people have changed and values have changed, along with what’s hot and what’s not.

  • Changing lifestyles

Traditional, dark “brown furniture” (as it’s called in the industry) does not have the appeal it did for our parents or grandparents.  It may be in good condition, but children and grandchildren don’t like the dark brown.  They are buying these pieces inexpensively to paint, because the market is saturated with these pieces.

  • Generational differences

Grandmother’s cherished floral china from the Depression era is completely different from what a 22-year old woman wants today.  Generation X and Y want a simple, clean, European look for their homes and no clutter or knick-knacks.  They shop at places like IKEA and Pottery Barn.  The Boomer is caught somewhere in the middle, still somewhat traditional, not as much as their parents and not as indifferent as their children.

  • Junk or something more?

Proper identification is the key.  The television shows would have you believe there is treasure in every home or estate.  While you may find interesting collectibles, not every home contains a treasure of significant monetary value.  Yet, you just never know what you could have in your possession.

  • Law of supply and demand

This law is always in effect, for everything.  Too much supply and not enough demand causes the prices to fall, such as all our older loved ones’ glassware, porcelain, and collectibles.  They are in abundance in every household, but few truly want them in 2015.  On the flip side, anything in demand but in small supply will usually sell higher, because it’s desired and not readily available.  The internet makes the world very small.  What used to be rare and hard to find is now in abundance on all major online auction sites.  Suddenly, there are 1,956 figurines just like mom’s.

We have little control over most of these factors, but that’s why items are no longer commanding what they used to.

Two recommendations from the expert:

  1. Keep your expectations reasonable.
  2. Hire a professional to advise you on values.

©2015 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.

“Warning, Warning!”

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Remember the 1960s TV series “Lost in Space?”  The Robinson’s robot would wave his mechanical arms and shout out “Warning, warning!” when danger was near.  I wish I could do that every time I hear a nightmarish story in my industry, which makes my gut cringe and gives me gray hair at the same time.

I met with a client this past week; she had a home full of truly beautiful things she had collected over 50 years.  Many of my clients in recent years are either downsizing or simply don’t want their amassed collection of stuff any longer.  This particular client had items of significant value and had several people walk through her home, giving ideas on how to sell or whittle down her collection.  This is not necessarily a good idea: too many “cooks in the kitchen” with differing ideas on how the possessions should be handled appropriately.

I was finally called in because she no longer knew who to trust.  She needed an expert to come in and tell her the truth of the best way to sell the items and what they are really worth in today’s market.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up when she told me “three estate people” (that no one has ever heard of) came in to her home and offered her one sum of money for 3,500 square feet full of beautiful possessions.  “Take it or leave it.”  Thank God she left it!

I failed miserably trying to maintain a poker face when another person (no one has ever heard of) offered to take everything and sell it in their shop, without any detailed accounting or itemization of her things.  When she told me how much she had been offered for her things, I nearly hit the floor as the blood drained from my face!

Warning, warning!  Hear me shout from the mountain top.  DO NOT DO THIS!

Always seek personal property professionals who are highly recommended by other professionals.  Let them look, value, advise on your possessions before you do anything else!

Do not throw away or give away anything until a professional has walked through!

Please do not accept the first person that no one has heard of.  Please take your time and do your homework!  Hasty mistakes will hurt you most of all.

First, identify anything of value.  Then, make decisions on what you will keep and what you will sell and stick with those decisions.  Always look for the best professional you can find.  It’s perfectly fine to interview several companies; determine what they can offer you and who you feel good about working with.  Get everything in writing.  Finally, let that professional do their job.

Don’t choose some fly-by-night company that no one has ever heard of.  Due diligence is important on both sides: the estate professional and the client.

Ultimately, use your gut instinct to uncover the best professional for your needs and build a relationship based on trust.

©2015 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.

If I Hadn’t Gone Out in the Storm

Having worked 14 hours yesterday, I was really dragging when I finally arrived home from an estate.   I had missed lunch and dinner, was dehydrated, had 11 phone calls to return, and an appraisal to complete.  It was a harrowing day: people not showing up, challenges at the estate, the phone wouldn’t stop ringing, etc.  At home, there was no peace either: the house was messy, my daughter needed help, and the cat needed to be fed and medicated.  How can anyone work this hard?  I thought to myself.

The torrential rain came with the thundering on the roof and windows.  I was finally relieved to be printing off my appraisal report.  All of a sudden, no ink remained and the printer came to a screeching halt.  Time was a factor; I had to print it out and get it in the mail.  Glancing outside, I knew I had to go out in the storm, as tired as I was.  The truth is I didn’t want to go, and I started having a little pity party all by myself, in the confines of my office.  My daughter felt badly because she had used my printer relentlessly for a school project, which left me with no ink.

I glanced at the raging storm outside.  It’s now or never.  It’s got to get done.

I grabbed my keys and was on my way to Staples, but it closed 4 minutes before I arrived.  Just my luck.  I drove further in the rain to find another store and finally got my ink, just in time before they closed.  Sopping wet and resigned to my situation, I drove home animatedly, talking out loud in the car about all my complaints.  Finally I turned the corner heading home, and instantly, the rain stopped, the sun popped out, and this is what I saw.  I pulled to the side of the road to take this photo and share it with you.

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If I hadn’t gone out in the storm, I never would have seen this beauty.  My Grinch face softened into a smile, knowing someone up above had my back.  I couldn’t help but wonder if I was just a little too busy chasing that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, instead of realizing I already had it.

We all work hard and it can be a challenge to make ends meet and make things work for us.  Sometimes we need a sign of hope and joy to remind us it’s the simple things that make us smile the most.  My favorites? Chocolate, gardening, blissful naps, my cat’s purring, and the “buzz” of a hummingbird.

©2015 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 April 23, 2015 at 8:35 am  Comments (12)  
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The Progressive Journey

Sitting and writing in my office, I am treated to a few, rare and quiet moments.  The sound of silence bothers some people, but I rather like it.  It allows me to think and listen to my own inner guidance.  Today, I’d like to share some thoughts with you about the past, present, and future.  This thing called life is really quite amazing, especially when you glance in the rear-view mirror.

Sometimes the past is not such an easy place to visit.  Personally, I only go there long enough to learn from or remember the good, and how that good has sculpted me into the human being I turned out to be.  True, you shouldn’t go backwards, but there are times it is necessary for growth.  My mind ventures back to my long-ago, taken there as I sort through decades of my parents’ photographs throughout our lives.  With a smile, I am reminded what a good life I have had and continue to have; though, none of us can claim life was perfect.

This is the past and I wouldn’t trade it,

even if I could turn the clock back. 

It is the foundation of who we are and how we came to be.

Few of us are fortunate enough to love our chosen work, but I live and breathe mine.  Serving others with skills I have accrued through decades of experience, feeling others’ pain and solving estate problems has enabled me to serve, guide, and help people.  As a result, I sleep very well at night.  However, the thought occurred to me that I didn’t get here quickly, and I certainly didn’t get here by myself.  Sometimes we unintentionally take things like this for-granted.

When I go back to where my real journey began as a young adult, I am suddenly reminded of all the kind, giving, creative, helpful, odd, patient, gentle, appreciative, harsh, happy, and sad people who have crossed my path and helped me along the way.  It takes all kinds.  Some were incredible teachers, both good and bad.  Some made me laugh until my ribs hurt.  Some inflicted great pain.  Some taught me what real suffering is, and others taught me how blessed I am.  But all of them were teachers.  We are teachers, too.

We are never alone and never on this journey without purpose.

While we may not necessarily understand what the purpose is, we need to move in a forward motion, lest we get “stuck.”  Each experience seems to be a stepping stone to another place, another direction, and then our purpose(s) may be revealed.  We get to choose that place and direction, and hopefully, we choose wisely.

This is where we are.

The choices we make here in our present

will have an impact on our future and our loved ones’ futures.

We are all connected.

As for the future, it is not yet written.  Like an artist standing in front of a blank canvas, we can (with some luck and strong faith) create something really good.  But, it is unknown and most people find that a little scary.

I don’t know anything about the future, but I do know that, in getting there, we can’t keep looking in the rear-view mirror.  If we do that, we will not move forward and fulfill what we are here to do.

We should use all that we learned in the past, and here in the present, to help create a better future for ourselves, albeit unknown.  We also need to be extraordinary teachers, all of us.

I am reminded of a thought-provoking snippet from a famous quote of Captain James T. Kirk from the original Star Trek series:

 To Boldly Go

It has an exciting ring to it, don’t you think?

©2015 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 March 5, 2015 at 10:40 am  Comments (8)  
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Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Living in an ever-changing world, I have concerns about the industry I love so much.  It has so many excellent qualities:

  • helping others during very challenging times,
  • serving the community in a positive way,
  • making a difference in the lives of those who are suffering,
  • offering a skill set not many people have,
  • guiding people towards trusted resolutions, to name a few.

But as with everything else in life, it has changes too.  You’ve got the good in the industry and the not-so-good.  While I have tremendous respect for my colleagues, and they have respect for me, there are many “Estate Experts” that are suddenly popping up in the marketplace.  I need this blog to circulate and help guide people away from these pop-up companies who claim to be experts, and are no such thing!

I am in a unique position, receiving close to 1,000 emails a week regarding the industry, sad stories, and complaints against companies I have never heard of and neither has anyone else.  Having written books and many articles, people gravitate towards me for answers.  I am all too happy to provide answers, as long as they can handle the truth.

Friends, you must be careful out there!  There is good and bad in every aspect of life; that includes all occupations, mine included.

  • Do not be fooled by fancy talk, or a “friend of a friend” who will give you a discount.  Talk is cheap.  A professional turns it all into action and gets it done correctly.
  • Don’t be persuaded to use someone whose commission is lower than a true professional.  You often get what you pay for.
  • Don’t feel compelled to use Aunt Martha’s cousin’s brother who “dabbles” in antiques.  They will not know how to maximize the proceeds, in your best interest.
  • Don’t just call someone out of the yellow pages or internet.  Know what you have, then find a way to sell using the best possible option for your possessions.
  • Don’t take the easy or cheap way because it will BOOMERANG and bite you in the rear.
  • Don’t pile up your great grandmother’s estate jewelry and take it to just any jeweler on the corner.  Why would you sell yourself short, when there are professionals who know what they are doing and will compare, communicate, negotiate, and sell it for the highest $$.
  • Don’t give away or throw away anything until a REAL professional walks through your door and advises you on your possessions.  Knowledge is power.  Know the facts.
  • Beware of “Cash Paid” advertisements.  Know who you are dealing with, or you may get low-ball offers.
  • Beware of searching on the internet, unless you know exactly the right way to search.  Know what an item actually sells for, not asking prices.
  • Before any property leaves your home/estate, RESEARCH and make sure you have done your due diligence in finding a reputable company to help you and guide you.
  • Ask for references, credentials, memberships, etc.  Then, CHECK them.
  • Beware of negative online complaints.  Yes, some are justified, but others are not.  Sometimes an upset client can post a negative comment because an item didn’t sell for as much as they expected.  That isn’t fair to mar a liquidator’s reputation.
  • Finally, don’t ignore your instinct.  It’s a powerful tool that tells you when something is good or amiss.

These tips are among the best advice I could ever offer.  They come with decades of experience and a heavy heart for those who have been taken advantage of.

Remember that the majority of estate liquidators are very good at what they do, have a deep passion for the industry, and help clients move forward with their lives.

It only takes one bad apple to soil the bunch.  If you are careful, you’ll choose the best fit for you!

©2015 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.

 

Lesson in Humility

He never gave me his name but he left many, many slurred voice mail messages on my personal cell phone.  He sounded weary and my initial gut reaction was that something wasn’t right.  I called back to politely tell him that I am not “Chas” and that he had the wrong number, but the calls persisted.  I called back again to remind him gently that I am not “Chas.”  All I understood was that he didn’t know how to delete my number and could I help him.  Unable to do so, I maintained a kind voice and stretched the patience for this bizarre situation.

One day, I called back again, but his son answered the phone long enough to tell me his father was crazy and to ignore his calls.  The son sounded like a jerk.  My heart sank a little more for this unfortunate father.

The calls persevered.  Normally in a situation like that, my temper would probably get the best of me eventually.  Again, my heart told me something wasn’t right; perhaps it was dementia or another neurological challenge.  He called multiple times a day and, when I answered it, I would just tell this man that I wasn’t who he was looking for.  It was beginning to feel like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray kept repeating the same day over and over again.

One day, I turned off my phone when I was out with my family.  Later that night, I checked my messages.  What I heard released a few tears and a humble heart for all that I am and all that I have.  Though the words were slurred, this is what I could understand:

Hello, Lady.  I know I call you all the time but don’t mean to.  I have a problem.  I have many, many problems and I just don’t know what to do.  I am trying to find Chas but all I get is you, and I keep bugging you because I don’t know how to delete you from this phone.  I can’t remember things.  I’ve been diagnosed with (couldn’t make out what he said) and at least my legs work … sometimes they work and I am just so grateful for that.  Yes I am.  Thank the Lord for that.  I’m a vet.  I’m a good guy.  You’re such a nice lady and I feel bad that I keep calling but you’ve been so nice to me.  A lot of people wouldn’t be so nice.  Thank you too.  I’ll try not to call anymore.  Good bye.

In a rush of thoughts, I saw a man on medications, hurt, lonely, and with a son who’s a jerk.  But the thought that overpowered the rest was as simple as a thought could be … I tried to be kind and very grateful that I didn’t sling any of my bad day onto him like most people would.  We’re all guilty of it from time to time.  I was so grateful that he thought the lady’s voice on the other end of the phone was kind.

Such a simple thing to do, and yet he was thankful for it, like I had somehow offered him a present.  You never know what’s really happening on the other side of the phone line, the other side of the door, the other side of the counter.  That must be where the Native American proverb comes from …

Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.

From that perspective, my shoes (and good, strong legs) are looking pretty good right 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.

Published in: on December 18, 2014 at 9:55 am  Comments (5)  
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Simple Things

At the end of a very long and taxing week, I felt like I would keel over from the fatigue of cleaning out a challenging estate several floors up in an affluent high-rise community.  There were many rules: you can’t use the elevator when …, you can’t come before this time, you can’t do any moving on weekends, you can only park here, etc.  The week just wore me out.  As luck would have it, there just happened to be a full moon.  One day when I came home dragging so badly, I spotted a buzzard sitting on the roof peak of my house looking down at me.  I just looked up at him and said, “I may look dead to you, but I’m still alive and kicking, buddy!”

Lately, everything seems to be so complicated.

Yesterday, a friend of mine came over for a visit and spotted a photo of my late father sipping on his favorite strawberry shake from Steak and Shake.  It was an impromptu photo I snapped because Dad looked so cute, like a little boy enjoying the heck out of a $3 shake, even though he was 82 years old.

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My friend commented, “This photo is the epitome of your dad!  This is how he should be remembered.”  That got me thinking about the simple things that we all overlook, especially when life gets complicated.

The estates I handle are seldom straightforward and easy.  Each has its’ own unique set of potential problems and logistics to solve, to make the job easier for everyone involved.  The “human” aspect of the work can often cause the flow to be interrupted.  Some clients are terrific and laid back; others have a lot going on that is hard to balance.  But, we love what we do and we do it well.

You know those challenging days that never seem to end.  You come home to a ton of phone calls, the teenager has a problem, your pet has a vet appointment, the lawn needs mowing, bills need paying … you have the feeling of “Calgon, take me away!”  Lately, I’m having many Calgon moments.

On my way home yesterday, ready to collapse on the sofa, I saw a young boy trying to walk his puppy on a leash.  It looked like the first time for both of them.  The puppy did not understand how the leash worked and the little boy could not understand why the puppy didn’t get it.  It was very comical to watch as the little boy talked to his puppy.  “Why can’t you just walk straight like other dogs?”  He said it with the tone of an innocent child, more inquisitive than angry.  All the puppy knew how to do was romp and lick him, which made the boy laugh.  They attempted their walk one more time with giggles and a wagging tail.

I realized that I actually had a big smile on my face, thinking this little snippet of a boy’s life was very cute, just like my father sipping on the strawberry shake.

Ahhh, the simple things.

What a big impact they make, if we just let them!

©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 October 18, 2014 at 11:15 am  Comments (2)  
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Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Sitting here with my morning coffee, I can hardly see the computer screen through my tears.  I have gone from soft, silent crying to full force, hurting-my-gut weeping.  My beloved “Tommy” is by my side and he is dying; I know you understand when I say it is killing a part of me too.

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My head turns to the right to look outside my breakfast room windows and see the beautiful woods and birds at the feeders.  The hummingbirds are active too, defending their feeding territories, preparing for their long journey before winter arrives.  My head turns to the left and I see my beautiful cat of 12 years, my sweet buddy, who has heart failure and is declining rapidly.  It happened so fast.  Right now, he is a lump in the softest pile of blankets I could find.

I am very good at care-giving, making people and pets comfortable, but I cannot fix this.  I cannot fix his heart or bring his vitality back, neither his playfulness or fun spirit.  Right now it feels like he has a foot in both worlds and we are forced to say goodbye, either through God’s will or ours, very soon.  I’m afraid I’m not very good at saying goodbyes.  Lately, it seems I am saying goodbye far more than I’m saying hello.

One might wonder how a little cat could bring a strong woman to her knees emotionally.  At the time Tommy came into our lives, I was a single mom and working very hard.  One day I was outside gardening and I heard the tiniest cry coming from the woods.  It wasn’t a bird, so I had to go investigate.  What if some little creature was in trouble?

Finally, I saw him among the leaves and twigs; a tiny little fur ball no bigger than my palm and not old enough to be weaned.  I watched for a long time to see if mom would appear, but something must have happened to the mother or she abandoned her kittens.  Tommy had crawled through a large patch of woods where I found him, hungry and scared.  Certain death would have been his fate with birds of prey and other critters around here.  The decision had already been made.  With one swoop of my arm, I scooped him up and put him on my chest; when he started purring, he owned my heart.

From that moment to this, he has proven himself to be the coolest cat in the world.  He comes when you call him, plays with you, nuzzles you, and will do anything for a scratch under the chin.  Very loving, very sweet-natured.  Now, he is at the end of his life, and I discovered last night that his diagnosis is exactly what my mom died from.  I was helpless then and I am helpless now.  The drugs help with breathing, but there is no quality of life.  I know what must be done but it is ripping me apart.  The vet said he is not yet in any discomfort and I don’t want that to happen.

Two days ago, Tommy came into the kitchen where I was checking emails on my laptop.  In a manner very uncharacteristic of him, he stood up on his hind legs, reached his paw as high as that paw could go, and tapped me on the chest.  I looked down into those bright green eyes; it was as if he was trying to tell me something.  Something I didn’t want to hear.

Just this minute, I let out a whimper as I wrote that last line and blew my nose.  Tommy got up from his pile of blankets and is sitting right next to me.  He just reached up and tapped me again with the same paw, wanting to be picked up.  He’s trying to say he loves me; he has succeeded.  I whispered “I love you too, buddy” in his ear.  He wanted me to swoop him up in my arms once again and put him on my chest, just like I did in the woods so many years ago when he was lost.

You just never know how or when paths may cross to change your life forever.

I must end this blog now, because this purring embrace with him is too precious.

©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 September 19, 2014 at 9:30 am  Comments (8)  
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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)  
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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!

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©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)  
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