What seniors should know: Managing personal property

Seniors who downsize, reorganize, move or sell personal property have a lot of decisions to make and any of these can quickly become a daunting prospect.

Seniors who downsize, reorganize, move or sell personal property have a lot of decisions to make and any of these activities can quickly become a daunting prospect. There are plenty of companies offering services to assist. Here are some insights into how to assess what is right for your needs.

Moving Property

It seems as we grow older moving gets more complicated as we have more “stuff” to move as the years go by. Move management services helps reduce stress and lower moving costs. These services typically include a move plan, packing, unpacking, decluttering, and the sale, donation or dispersal of unwanted property.

What to look for:

Look for companies that have a high standard of service, solid reputation and good referrals. Companies should have regular W-2 employees who are trained and fully background checked. Companies should also possess liability insurance, worker’s comp and offer reliable pricing and project estimating tools to protect your budget. Services should be hired under contractual agreement and fees and payments should be discussed prior to any work being done. Van lines, or those who actually transport your property, have their own set of regulations. You can find out how to avoid common moving scams through the government’s “Protect Your Move” program.

Organizing or Downsizing Property

Professional organizing is a growing industry. Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists have this training.

What to look for:

Similar to moving services above, families should look for companies with good reputations and referrals, as well as fully trained, insured and vetted employees.

Selling Property

Families are subject to the most risk when hiring companies to help with their liquidation services. The liquidation industry accounts for hundreds of thousands in annual revenues but remains largely unregulated.

What to look for:

Again, seek companies with employees who are trained, vetted and insured. Estate sale companies should be willing to disclose all fees up front and contract through formal, written agreement. Find out in advance which services will be included. All in all, you want a company who will provide project management, organizing, sorting, merchandising, fixtures, advertising, labor, security the day of the sale and who will  “broom sweep” the home after the sale. You should receive an invoice explaining profit and costs after the sale.

Plan Ahead In many cases, projects related to personal property start out small and then seem to increase in size and complexity.  Planning ahead and understanding your final objective may help families avoid being overwhelmed.

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