When selling your home, one of the easiest and effective ways for improving the home's appearance is de-cluttering. Sometimes that is easier said than done, especially if you have inherited a house full of items from a relative. If the amount of stuff you have is overwhelming and possibly valuable, it may be time to consider an estate liquidator. 
Although it's tempting to go with the least expensive person, there are some questions you should ask and things to consider prior to hiring a company to run your estate sale. 
Jill Lam, a local South Orange resident and owner of BHM Estate Sales Services, recommends asking these top ten questions when interviewing a potential estate sale service.
1.  How many years has your company been in business? Keep in mind that a company who has been in business 30+ years may not be updated on using social media to promote a sale. It takes a lot of work to keep modernizing operations - someone who may be at the tail end of their work life may not want to spend the time nor money upgrading their services.  A newer company may be more eager to please.

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2.  How many people would be assigned to my sale?  The answer would depend on size of house, how much is for sale and what types of items are for sale.  There should be 3-4 people for home that is 3,000 square feet or less. More people should be assigned if your home is over 3,000. Some of the lower end companies tend to use minimal staff to run their sales which is how they can charge lower commission fees. Less staff means less people on the floor selling your items and a higher chance that something will get stolen.  

3.  Are you insured - can I see your insurance certificate (to prove insurance and the liability limits)?  Also, verify that the company is registered with the state.  There are no licensing requirements for estate liquidators; but if they are a legitimate company, they will be registered with the state.

4.  Do you have a website?  A company that is willing to spend money to have a web presence is a company who plans to be around for a while.

5.  Are your staff trained to sell or are they just there to make sure nothing is stolen?  If the staff  is just there to ensure no one steals anything, then there isn't anyone overseeing the selling process.

6.  What days and times do you run your sales?

7.  Do you price every item?  How do you conduct your research and what items do you look up?

8.  How do you stage the items? Customer's generally prefer a fully staged home. The contents are more appealing to the consumer and easier to find. 

9.  Do you have references/testimonials?   See if they have testimonials on their website, reviews on Google/Angie's List/Square/Yelp.  What is their rating with the Better Business Bureau?

10.  Most importantly - do you connect with the person?  Does this person make you feel comfortable as you'll be handing over your keys and all of your belongings and trusting them to sell your household contents?  Even with testimonials - your gut instinct is the one you should listen to the most!

There are so many choices out there so be sure to interview 2 to 4 companies in order to find the right estate liquidator for your needs.
This list was provided by Jill Lam of BHM Estate Sales. To contact her or find out more information, go to www.bargainhuntermama.com.