By Martin Codina and Michael Fry
The Social Security Administration reports that Baby Boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 people a day. The CDC reports the U.S mortality rate at just over 7,000 people daily.
When these very real life transitions are expressed in numerical terms, it means that 17,000 families a day are experiencing the kind of life transitions which inevitably leads to the selling of personal property. Presently, and for the foreseeable future an avalanche of household goods from retirees and heirs will flood the market and at an unprecedented rate.
Along with this explosion of supply comes an exponential increase in the need for estate sales
services. Who will sell and process all this stuff? Who is qualified?
The natural answer to these questions is to hire an estate sales company. Due to a low barrier of entry and no real regulation, dozens of new estate sales companies are started every month across the country. Various sources estimate there are as many as 14,000 estate sales companies conducting in-house public sales in America. Many thousands of these companies are small mom and pop operations having only started their business within the last few years. No state regulates estate sales as an industry. However, there are laws on the books regulating businesses in relation to employees, and taxes, and these laws pertain to the estate sales industry as well. The trouble is, many beginning estate sales companies lack guidance and business know-how.
The National Estate Sales Association (NESA) is the first non-profit trade association* founded to serve the estate sales industry and their clients. It is the collaborative effort of ten leading estate sales companies from around the country. These companies have volunteered time and resources to create an association robust with resources for its members and dedicated to the education of consumers.
NESA promotes industry wide best practices, transactional transparency, and acts as a voice for the many thousands of estate sales companies who are of profound assistance to their clients.
NESA has a board of directors, written bylaws, articles of incorporation, a defined code of ethics, compliance protocols, membership levels, consumer and member education articles, and member discussion forums. It is a member driven association that relies on its members to give guidance to its board.
Membership in NESA serves to differentiate quality estate sales operators from fly by night companies who blur ethical boundaries. NESA members are required to abide by their states laws, follow specific standards and ethics including having insurance, legal employees, written contracts, and paying clients in a timely manner.
Consumers want clear and concise explanations about their estate sales options. They are looking for quality information and education. They want to hire companies that have gone through a vetting process; that can demonstrate character and prove they are in compliance. The public wants to hire companies that adhere to the highest levels of professionalism. Should a consumer encounter an ethical issue with a NESA member, they have recourse, and can bring their issues to the NESA Compliance Committee for review.
Most people have never had to hire an estate sales company. When that time comes, they want straight answers to their many questions. They want to know, how they work. What is sellable? Can valuable items be sold? Are my heirlooms treasures? What are the market trends? What happens with items that do not sell?
On NESA’s website [nesa-usa.com], consumers can freely access articles that answer these questions and others. Helping consumers understand the intricacies of the personal property marketplace and what to expect from an estate sales company is one of the primary purposes of the organization. NESA wants consumers to be empowered with current and updated information.
Great attention must be focused on client goals and to the job of properly managing their estate sales. NESA members are required to deal honestly and fairly with the customers who shop their sales as well.
Every great estate sales company in the country knows that the task of staging and conducting an estate sale is not easy. To be successful they must attend to their clients agendas, have great customer service and be mindful of the economic trends affecting the marketplace.
In addition to establishing their companies as operating with distinction, NESA members have access to attorney written contracts, pricing resources, discounts from vendors who serve the industry, and group forums.
The National Estate Sale Association places great emphasis on empowering its members through education. In September of 2016 it will host its first online video conference. This video summit will include a panel of 20 industry experts.
Topics will include Antique Market Trends, Research and Identification, Marketing, Business Coaching, Insurance, Estate Sales Contracts, Auction Relationships, and Credit Card Sales.
For more information, visit nesa-usa.com.
*Application in process for 501c(6) status