*The following are samples of inquiries Somerset House Services have received. Names have been omitted and identifying information has been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.
My mom had a stroke last month and will be moved to a nursing home next week. I don't think that she will ever be able to live on her own again, most of the time she doesn't even know who I am. Between my job, three kids, and dealing with the doctors, nursing home and the insurance company, plus trying to visit mom on a regular basis, I'm totally stressed out. The house is a mess, I don't think my mom has thrown anything away in the last twenty years and there is no way that I can even think about listing it for sale until I get it cleaned up. I don't know if the stuff in the house is even worth having an auction or estate sale, and before I can even think about that I need to go through all mom's paperwork, which I just don't have time to do. Does your company handle this kind of thing and how much do you charge?
-- Yes, Somerset House Services handles these types of situations on a regular basis. The first thing to do is to meet with you at your mom's house and do a walk through to assess the condition of the house and the best method of selling the contents. There is no charge for the initial visit. We can work around your schedule and arrange to meet with you after work or on the weekend. Normally the initial visit takes about two hours. We walk through the house, make a check list of what you want done, and assess the contents in order to advise you on the best method to dispose of the contents.
Usually an estate sale is the most efficient and cost effective method of disposing of the contents of the house, but in some instances we may advise you to sell some of the contents through a specialty auction house or on E-Bay (which we handle), and the remainder through an estate sale. Our goal is to sell the contents of the house at the highest price possible - whether it be through auction, estate sale, or on E-Bay. Our fee for conducting an estate sale is a percentage of the sale proceeds, based on the amount of work that needs to be done in order to prepare for the sale. Our fee includes cleaning and preparing the house for the sale, boxing up photos, family memorabilia, documents and mail for delivery to you, set up and display of the contents, pricing of items including research of fair market re-sale value, advertising, permits, staffing of the sale, a detailed and accurate account of the sale proceeds, and post sale cleanup of the house.
If we recommend an auction, we go through the house and box up photos, family memorabilia and other items that you want to keep. Documents, mail, bills, etc., are boxed up and delivered to you. Old newspapers, paint, chemicals in the garage, and other trash are properly disposed of. Anything of value is set aside for the auctioneer. Our fees are billed on an hourly basis and we will give you a written estimate of our charges after the initial visit.
If you need all of the documents in the house reviewed and organized, we have professionals with experience in assessing what needs to be kept and what can be shredded. For example, tax returns, life insurance policies, brokerage and bank account statements will be set aside and organized before they are returned to you, but utility bills and credit card statements more than a year old will be shredded unless you instruct us otherwise. This service is billed on an hourly basis and we can give you a written estimate at the time of the initial visit. Your other option is for us to box up the documents and deliver them to you. This service is included as part of an estate sale.
After the contents of the house are sold, we can work with you and your realtor to prepare the house for sale. Typically in this type of situation the interior of the house needs to be painted, carpets and windows cleaned, and there are usually some deferred maintenance issues that need to be addressed (such as leaky faucets, cleaning out gutters, yard work, etc.).
Having been through this type of situation with my own mom, I know how overwhelming this can be. You don't have to make all of the decisions right now.
I suggest that you start with the initial visit, we will give you a professional assessment of how long it will take us to review and organize your mom's documents and the best way to dispose of the contents. You can then decide how you want to proceed. We can be contacted by phone at (937) 654-5959 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My dad passed away two weeks ago. Frankly, we weren't on the best of terms and I haven't been back to Dayton in some time. His attorney has told me that I'm the executor, although we can't find the original Will. It should have been in his safe deposit box but apparently Dad emptied that out a year ago along with a coin collection, savings bonds, and my mom's jewelry. I tried looking for it at his house, but it is an absolute mess. I don't think the place has been cleaned in years, there are stacks of old newspapers and magazines in every room, what looks like a year's worth of unopened mail piled up next to the front door, the basement apparently flooded and is full of mold, rotting boxes, and clothes that need to be thrown out. Well you get the idea. I need someone to go through this mess. Is this something you do and what is it going to cost? And do I have to pay for this or can your company be paid by the estate?
-- Somerset House Services specializes in this type of situation. We start by meeting with you or your representative at your dad's house for an inspection. There is no charge for the initial visit. First we assess the condition of the house and the best way to dispose of the contents. In our experience an estate sale usually brings the most money, but sometimes an auction is the better alternative. It all depends of the condition of the contents of the house and whether you are working on a deadline, such as the imminent sale of the house.
Our fee for an estate sale is a percentage of the sale proceeds and is based on the amount of work that is necessary to prepare for the sale. This includes cleaning and preparing the house for the sale, boxing up photos, family memorabilia, documents and mail for delivery to you, set up and display of the contents, pricing of items including research of fair market re-sale value, advertising, permits, staffing of the sale, a detailed and accurate account of the sale proceeds, and post sale cleanup of the house. However, in unusual circumstances such as you describe (basement full of mold and rotting boxes), there may be separate charges. It depends on whether we need to hire a special hazmat crew to remove the contents of the basement and treat the mold.
If we recommend an auction, we bill on an hourly basis. Typically we go through the house boxing up photos, family memorabilia and other items that you want to keep. Documents, mail, bills, etc., are boxed up and delivered to you. Clothing is thoroughly searched (frequently we find jewelry and money in the pockets), then is delivered to a charity of your choice unless there are vintage items which are set aside for auction. Old newspapers, paint, chemicals in the garage, and other trash are properly disposed of. Anything of value is set aside for the auctioneer.
Our fees are considered an expense of administering the estate. If we conduct the estate sale, we will provide you with an itemized accounting of the sale proceeds. All other services will be billed on an hourly basis. If you choose, we can work directly with your attorney on this matter.
There is no charge for the initial visit. If you have any additional questions or want to schedule an appointment, contact us by phone at (937) 654-5959 or by email at email@example.com.
My mom and dad are getting ready to move to assisted living. They have lived in the same house for over thirty years and every room of the house plus the garage and shed out back are full. They want to take some of the furniture and household goods with them, my sisters and I are taking a few things, but the rest will need to be sold. I need to find someone to make the arrangements for the move to assisted living, pack and ship some furniture, china, and crystal, and then sell the rest. Do you handle that?
-- Yes, Somerset House does provide these services. This is a combination of relocation services and an estate sale. Once you have made a decision as to what items your parents want to take with them to assisted living and what items you and your sisters want, please contact us to schedule an appointment. There is no charge for the initial visit. At that time we will meet with you and your parents at their home to view the contents and discuss what needs to be moved to assisted living, what you and your sisters are taking, what type of shipping is required (local or out-of-state), and what is to be sold.
We will also discuss what type of services your parents will require, for example, will you be moving their clothes and personal effects or do you want us to do a complete home to home move, which includes unpacking and arranging the furniture, kitchen items, clothes, etc.
After we determine what is going to be removed from the house, we will advise you as to whether an estate sale or auction is the best method of disposing of the remaining contents. Based on your description, it is likely that an estate sale will be the best method. Relocation services are billed on an hourly basis, our fee for the estate sale is a percentage of the sale proceeds based on the amount of work necessary to prepare for the sale. We will give you a written estimate of our fees for the services you require, so that you and your parents can make an informed decision about how to proceed
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please phone us at (937) 654-5959 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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