Clearance experts help Tri-Citians clear out their clutter

Are there unwanted things around? Maybe a full house?

Tri-City Estate Liquidators can help, offering a variety of sale formats including traditional consignment sales, auctions and outright purchases.

Estate sales aren’t just for seniors, or even property.

Rick Craig, owner of Craig Estate Sales, has been conducting estate sales in the Columbia Basin for 28 years. In addition to those who pass away or need to downsize before moving into assisted living or nursing homes, many clients are simply moving out of state.

Linda and Rick Craig

“Mainly the Hanford staff,” he said. “Nuclear families are like military families: they come and go. Sometimes they sell everything because they don’t know how long they will be and when they get there they buy new because it’s too expensive to move.

Craig makes at least one sale a week.

On Monday, he and his team arrived and started sorting.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays they organize the items and on Thursdays they take pictures to promote on their website. Friday is the first day of sales and everything is marked down.

Everything is half off on Saturday and discounted on Sunday.

“We always open at 8 o’clock sharp. People say we’re the most expensive in town, but we’re trying to get the most money for our customers first. We do really well,” Craig said.

Once finished, all unsold items are sorted and taken accordingly to charities, thrift stores or the landfill.

Craig Estate Sales charge 25% to 40% of the gross sale, depending on the size, condition, value of the property and how much work is involved in cleaning and preparation.

Craig’s wife, Linda, a Realtor with EXP Realty – The Phipps Group, will represent the home if necessary and coordinate carpet cleaning and other basic tasks to prepare the home for sale, making it a complete package deal.

Craig began running property sales as a side gig for a banker friend and later moved up to the firm’s trust department. Craig took over because the company saw the asset sale as a conflict of interest.

“I’ve been to two other estate sales and it was horrible. If it had been my grandfather or my father, I would have been very angry. So, I decided to help the elderly at the worst time in their lives,” said Craig.

The business took off and the retired Marine made real estate sales his full-time job.

Not your grandfather’s estate sale.

In the year During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, when a family friend came across a property, Musser Bros. Auctions and Real Estate decided to throw its hat into the property liquidation platform.

The house needed to be sold, but so did his huge collection of baseball cards, tools and coins. His friend knew they were worth it but wasn’t sure how to proceed.

Teresa Musser and
Jacqueline Musser Gering

“Scott (Musser) has been in the business for 40-some years … but he never dealt with the property because it was a lot of pots and pans and little things,” said owner Theresa Muser. But at that time all the usual places where goods were sold were closed. We decided to take it easy.

They predict they will spend $3,000 to $4,000 at auction for everything.

It brought in $25,000.

“There was something there,” said Teresa.

She and her daughter Jacqueline Muser Gering decided to develop the idea.

And so, Muser’s new brand, Property Lists, was born.

How it works: Items in a property are sorted, divided into lots, photographed and uploaded to the property listings website.

Anyone can browse the lot, create a free account, and bid on items until the lot closes.

Property Listings holds monthly auctions of items that anyone can bid on. Some small states rolled into these. Additional marketing for details is available for a fee.

The total cost of hosting a property varies depending on its complexity.

All items are subject to a 15% buyer’s premium as well as sales tax.

After winning an item, buyers can sign up for a pickup slot and drop off their items at both Musser Bros. The home where the Pasco office or property is located. Shipping is also available. Additional charges apply for items booked beyond the pick up date.

“What makes us different from tag sales is that we sell 100% of what we sell,” says Jacqueline. “Account sales are often negotiated. At auction, the price never goes down, it always goes up.”

Of course, the caveat is that unless a reserve price is set for the item that must be met, one fears that the item may not fetch the expected price. It all depends on the actual buyers who show up for the auction.

This is also true of label sales.

“Some people don’t want it in their house,” Teresa pointed out as an advantage of the online auction format.

Reversal of sale of property

Another option for people who don’t want to hold a sale in their home is to simply sell their estate or a selection of items to a buyer.

Liz Thompson, owner of ET Estate Sales in Kennewick, buys properties, partial and full estates, then sells the items in her retail store at 422 E. Columbia Drive.

The 18,000-square-foot store is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Liz Thompson

Thompson said her bread and butter is the two to three truckloads of furniture she gets every week. But depending on what she and her team are up to during the week, ET will reveal a little bit of everything from antiques to jewelry, furniture, collectibles and more.

People with items to sell give Thompson a call. She will then go over things at an appointment on Monday and decide if she wants to make an offer. If her offer is accepted, her team will arrive with a truck on Tuesday or Wednesday.

After the items are set up in the store, photos of the new arrivals will be taken and released for the public to see on ET’s Facebook page.

“What our customers love about us is the privacy part where people don’t come into their home and know exactly what they’re getting,” she said.

Thompson and her husband have been in business for 17 years, with the last nine at their current location.

She said she was inspired by her grandfather’s passion for collecting.

“Collecting has always been in my blood and my husband collects antique marbles… When we first met, he had a jar on the table, and now we have this huge store. Thompson has an affinity for perfume bottles.

She said the best part of the job is “synchronizing” items for new owners.

“Sometimes I feel frustrated.”

When asked about the strangest things he’s ever encountered, Craig takes the cake – a World War II 15mm mortar round found in a trunk under the Richland lease – in a pin. Military personnel arrived from Yakima to disarm.

Thompson’s Favorite Thing for John F. Kennedy It was a press kit for his 1963 visit to Hanford.

Money hidden in real estate is a real thing.

Thompson and Craig received $20,000 and $15,000, respectively, in furniture. They returned the money to their families.

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