Choosing the right liquidation option often requires professional help

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – Martin Codina is the CEO of Fine Estate Liquidation, Inc., a San Rafael, Calif., business that has been serving the San Francisco Bay area with on-site estate sales, estate buyouts and auction placement services since 1996.

At one time, Codina was a fine furniture painter who took old and vintage furniture found at estate sales, and reinterpreted them to better fit into contemporary interiors for his clients. From those estate sale beginnings, Codina launched Fine Estate Liquidation: a business whose sole purpose is to “maximize the income of clients’ estates using every estate sale, estate liquidation, and auction tool known in the business.”

“Personal property is a complicated thing,” Codina says. The type of liquidation depends on several factors. He says you can go through an estate and find there might be a few things that need to be auctioned. Fine Estate Liquidation matches the type of property to the right auction house to get the highest price for the client.

Sometimes the object needs large regional or national audiences to generate high values. He gives the example of Hudson River paintings: “We’re not going to sell Hudson River paintings in California! We’re going to place them in an East Coast auction, where they’ll have the most interest.” What’s best for the client is always top priority – even if it means referring them to do business elsewhere.

If the client needs to raise cash quickly, Fine Estate Liquidation will purchase entire estates, special collections and single high-value items after explaining all the options. Codina says their buyout service is a quick and sure way to empty a house so it can be put on the market, financial matters can be settled, and the executor can act responsibly on behalf of the estate.

Codina reports in the San Francisco Bay area, in Chicago, and Los Angeles, onsite estate sales and the companies that conduct them are flourishing. “The idea that onsite estate sales is a better way to sell household contents whether of modest or high value is gaining traction.”

And the sales are popular with buyers. He says no matter what the item is – from books to silver – “almost every category of household item has someone who wants it.” Precious metals are especially hot right now. Furniture, however is another story: “Unless it is Mid-Century, furniture is a definite tough sale,” Codina reports.

There’s a process for properly planning and conducting an estate sale. First, the Fine Estate Liquidation team empties the contents from all those places people tend to store away their treasures: closets, drawers, boxes, cabinets and so on. Then they clean the house and remove the debris. In preparation for the event itself, they research high-value (and potentially high-value) items, establish sale prices and advertise. After the sale is conducted, they remove the balance of the household contents, leaving the clients with a clean house that is ready for sale. The quoted cost for the service is 25 to  33.33 percent.

For those who don’t have access to professional estate liquidation services, whether they are in the wrong area, can’t afford the service or the estate is too small for a professional to deal with, Codina wrote and offers a free, useful step-by-step guide to estate liquidation, The Do It Yourself Estate Sales Guide,” that can be read at

Antique Trader asked Codina what advice he would give someone interested in liquidating an estate. He said, “Always, no matter how small an estate sale may be in the mind of an heir or executor, call a professional estate sales person to look over your project. I say this even as an estate liquidator who wrote a ‘Do It Yourself Estate Sales Guide.’”

He explains, “Making a mistake with one of your family’s precious heirlooms not only denies the estate of income, but it also feels horrible.” Pickers and dealers make their profit margins on uninformed and inexperienced sellers, and they usually don’t consider that the seller is dealing with the loss of a loved one at the time.

Martin Codina’s wife, Valetta, joined him as a partner in Fine Estate Liquidation five years ago and has since become an integral part of the business. He says he wouldn’t be able to do what he does without her: “She takes care of all the intricacies of the business, including invoicing, inventory, accounting — everything.” They also operate an online shop at

Fine Estate Liquidation, Inc. is a member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of Professional Organizers-San Francisco Bay Area and the American Decorative Arts Forum of Northern California. For more information, the service can be contacted at Fine Estate Liquidation, 267 Channing Way, San Rafael, CA 94903, 415-235-7238 or, or visit

Also by Karen Knapstein:

Listen to Martin Codina and Karen Knapstein on Peddler Hour with Debbie Santavicca:

Listen to internet radio with The Peddler Hour on Blog Talk Radio


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