Guide to Estate Sale Organizations

Whether you need to hire an estate sale company, or you’re a new estate sale company just starting out, it can be tough to navigate the murky waters of licensing and accreditation and estate sale organizations.

If you’re in the position of needing to liquidate an estate, you probably feel an overwhelming amount of responsibility resting on your shoulders, from deciding whether or not to do it yourself, to which company to hire, and of course, what you should expect to pay.

And if you’re a new estate sale company, licensing and accreditation is just another hoop out of several you have to jump through to get started. Estate sale companies are already asked to take care of an enormous range of tasks, from appraising and selling personal property, to counseling bereaved clients.

The estate sale industry has a lot of overlap with the appraisal industry since they both deal with assessing personal property. Appraising personal property has stipulations which vary from state to state, but the federal government does require appraisals above $5,000 be reported to the IRS. Both industries, however, have a number of professional organizations that aim to provide education, support, and/or a code of ethics and standards by which to operate.

To help you get started, we’ve broken it down with this easy reference guide to estate sale professional associations, appraisal (personal property) organizations, and companies that provide insurance and bonding.

Estate Sale Industry Professional Organizations

American Society of Estate Liquidators (ASEL)

http://www.aselonline.com/

Code of Ethics

Established: 2001

Who’s behind it? Julie Hall, Director

Who can join? ASEL is open to all estate sale professionals of all levels, from beginners to professionals.

Membership Requirements:

Associate

  • 1-3 years experience / 36 or fewer estate sales OR Completed ASEL training
  • Complete Associate Membership Application/Agreement.
  • Provide Professional References
  • Complete and Agree to Code of Ethics Agreement.

Cost: $150 first year, $99/subsequent renewals

Professional

  • 3-5 years experience OR Minimum 36 estate sales within last 3 years
  • Complete Associate Membership Application/Agreement.
  • Complete and Agree to Code of Ethics Agreement.
  • Provide three professional references.
  • Confirm business structure and/or governmental authorizations, licenses, required to operate in state where your business operated

Cost: $150 first year, $99/subsequent renewals

Accredited

  • 5 or more years experience
  • Submitted thesis reviewed by ASEL accreditation panel
  • Complete Application/Agreement.
  • Complete and Agree to the Code of Ethics Agreement.
  • Provide client and professional references.
  • Confirm business structure and/or governmental authorizations, licenses, required to operate in state where your business operated
  • Submitted thesis reviewed by ASEL accreditation panel

Cost: $150 first year, $99/subsequent renewals

What makes it different?
A 360 degree approach that includes education and support for all people in the estate sale industry, including consumers.

“When I say we try to be 360 degrees, we really, really do because we don’t want to turn anyone away without knowledge, without some form of information that we know they need, and I think that’s what makes us very different,” said Director Julie Hall.

Member Benefits:

  • Inclusion in the automated “Find a Liquidator” database.
  • Access to:
    • Newsletters, information and resources
    • Articles and archives
  • Discounts on products.
  • Use of ASEL logo according to approved graphics standards.
  • Ongoing email and phone support to discuss estate liquidation issues.
  • Continuing Education through online courses and end ebooks to build your business.

“When you’re tried and true (we’ve been out there a long time and we get a lot of inquiries on liquidators nationally) people get the straight scoop here. We educate the consumer as well as the liquidator – and that’s important.” Julie Hall of ASEL

National Association of Estate Liquidators (NAOEL)

Code of Ethics

Established: 2015

Who’s behind it? Donna Davis, Director

Who can join? Estate sale professionals with at least 5 estate sales under their belts.

Membership Requirements:

Basic

  • Graduate of NAOEL Estate Sale Course
  • At least 5 estate sales in the past year
  • Letters of recommendation from 4 past clients
  • Website
  • Proof of proper licenses in your area to conduct business

Cost: Free the first year / $100 annual renewal fee (proof of continuing education every 3 years)

Associate

  • At least 50 estate sales in the past 5 years
  • Letters of recommendation from 6 past clients
  • Letters of recommendation from 4 estate sale professionals
  • Website
  • Proof of proper licenses in your area to conduct business

Cost: $100 the first year / $100 annual renewal fee (with proof of continuing education every 3 years)

What makes it different? In addition to its core online courses, NAOEL requires continuing education to retain membership status.

“I do require continuing education every three years and I will be offering continuing education classes, but I’m not saying it has to come through us…it can come from another source as long as it’s approved by our association.” — Donna Davis.

Member Benefits:

  • Use of NAOEL logo & Certificate of Membership
  • Access to
    • Training
    • Educational materials
  • Latest industry news
  • Support of a network of agents

I’m gonna help them for the first few sales. They’re not just gonna be out there by themselves. They can call on me, they can send me pictures. I’ll help them in any way I can. — Donna Davis of NAOEL

National Estate Sale Association (NESA)

http://nesa-usa.com/

Recently launched NESA will be holding a summit for estate sale professionals from September 5-16, 2016.

Code of Ethics: The NESA Board has written and codified a 30-Point Code of Ethics which addresses every facet of the estate sales business. It is a definitive set of national guidelines for the industry and sets the highest standards. The NESA code of ethics will strengthen and build transparent relationships between estate sales companies, and their clients.

Established: Soon to be launched

Who’s behind it? A Board of 10 estate sale professionals, including Martin Codina, Berenice Denton, Daniel Sanders, Todd Hughes, and Ashley Wheeler Glass.

Who can join? NESA is open to all estate sale professionals.

Membership Requirements:

  • Fill out an application
  • Provide past client references
  • Submit supporting business documentation regarding licensing and insurance
  • Agree to Code of Ethics
  • Must document and prove membership standards are met

What makes it different? Its non-profit status

“As a non-profit trade association, NESA is following an established and proven path by which industries create positive and effective self-governance. As a registered 501c(6), the actions of our association and board are guided by By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation which are publicly filed, and accessible for all to see,” said Martin Codina.

Member Benefits:

  • Board of 10 members has over 200 years of experience
  • Non-profit 501c(6) status for more transparency
  • High membership standards
  • Yearly Membership meetings to meet, discuss and vote on issues pertinent to our membership and the industry as a whole
  • Upcoming high caliber education and training modules

As a group, we believe that generally estate liquidators across America are doing the best they can to operate as ethically as possible without government regulations of industry practices and behavior. We further believe that fostering open communication in our competitive work environment amongst service providers is in the best interest of estate sale companies, their clients, and the future of the profession. — Martin Codina of NESA

Appraisal Associations

There are several trade associations and professional organizations within the appraisal industry, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. Note that there are no federal or state laws requiring appraisers to have a license; appraisers are accredited by various professional organizations, as required by the IRS.

American Society of Appraisers (ASA)
Established: 1936

Who’s behind it? Linda B. Trugman, ASA, International President

Membership Requirements:

  • Pass the ASA Ethics exam
  • Current Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) Certificate
  • Completion of discipline education requirements through Principles of Valuation (POV) or education equivalency
  • Appraisal experience log and reports(s)

Membership Levels:

Accredited Member (AM)

  • 2-5 years of full time appraisal experience

Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA)

  • 5 more more years of full time appraisal experience

Cost: $490 dues / $150 Application fee

All members are required to submit evidence of professional growth through continuing education and/or participation in professional activities every 5 years to remain in good standing.

Member Benefits:

  • Use of ASA logo
  • Direct referrals
  • Access to ASA’s job bank
  • Legislative representation
  • One on one assistance with accreditation and continuing education
  • Access to newsletter and journal subscriptions
  • Educational materials
  • List-serv with other appraisal professionals
  • Ongoing support
  • Retail discounts

Appraisers Association of America

http://www.appraisersassociation.org

Established: 1949

Who’s behind it? Linda Selvin, Executive Director

Who can join? Curators, dealers, auction specialists, collectors, attorneys and other appraisal professionals

Membership Requirements:

Accredited Member

  • At least 5 years of appraisal experience or expertise
  • Appraisal Studies Certificate from NYU School of Professional Studies
  • Current USPAP
  • Admissions Committee Review

Cost: $625 per fiscal year

Certified Member

  • At least 10 years of appraisal experience or expertise
  • Appraisers Association Required Coursework
  • Certification Exam
  • Current USPAP
  • Admissions Committee Review

Cost: $625 per fiscal year

What makes it different? A lengthy tenure and international reputation

From their website:
“AAA is the oldest non-profit professional association of personal property appraisers with over 700 members in cities across the country as well as in Canada, Europe and Asia.”

Member Benefits:

  • Discounts on:
    • Seminars, courses and studies
    • Trade publications
    • Web advertising
  • Affiliation with various professional associations
  • Affiliation with NYU/School of Professional & Continuing Studies
  • Tax guidance

International Society of Appraisers (ISA)

http://www.isa-appraisers.org

Code of Ethics: http://www.isa-appraisers.org/members/isa-policies/code-of-ethics

Established: 1979

Membership Requirements:

Candidate – Entry Level Member

  • 4 references with acceptable ratings
  • Resume
  • Ability to write appraisals to ISA standards and follow code of ethics

Member, ISA

  • Completion of ISA Core Course or equivalent
  • 3+ years of market related experience in specialty
  • Ability to write appraisals to ISA standards and follow code of ethics
  • Complete 15 hour Personal Property USPAP course
  • Fulfill requirements every 5 years

Accredited Member, ISA AM

  • Satisfy all Member requirements
  • Write an Insurance appraisal or white paper
  • Demonstrate knowledge in specialty field
  • Complete 15 hour Personal Property USPAP course
  • Ability to write appraisals to ISA standards and follow code of ethics
  • Fulfill requirements every 5 years

Certified Member, ISA CAPP (Certified Appraiser of Personal Property)

  • Satisfy all ISA AM requirements
  • Complete 15 hour Personal Property USPAP course
  • Document 500 billable hours
  • Complete a comprehensive certification exam
  • Submit appraisal report of a broad evidence case for review
  • Submit documentation of required professional developments
  • Complete CAPP processing within 3 years
  • Fulfill requirements every 5 years

ISA Life Member (Honorary Designation)
2 Life Awards are awarded each year to members who are

  • Accredited or certified
  • In good standing
  • Age 65 or older

Cost: $475 dues + $150 processing fee
ISA core course: $1,345 registration fee
ISA certification exam: $345 registration fee

What makes it different? They have longevity and are known all over the world for being thorough.

From their website: “Over the past 35 years, the society has grown to be the undisputed personal property association of choice. Our Core Course in Appraisal Methodology is widely regarded as the most comprehensive in the industry, distinguishing ISA as the leader in methodology, theory, principles, practices and ethics.”

Member Benefits:

  • Use of ISA designation or logo
  • Education
  • Professional development
  • Certifications
  • Networking
  • Professional mentorship
  • Marketing support
  • Added to ISA’s database to public

Association of Online Appraisers (AOA)

http://www.aoaonline.org

A not-for-profit international association for all personal property appraisers, whether traditional or online.

Code of Ethics http://www.aoaonline.org/aoacode.htm

Established:
1999

Membership Requirements:

Candidate:

  • Less than 2 years experience
  • 3 personal references

Regular Members

  • 2+ years experience w/ in area of specialization
  • 3 personal references
  • CV or resume
  • Prepare online appraisals according to AOA standards
  • Uphold Code of Ethics

Cost: $60 per year

Sponsoring Members

  • Organizations or individuals
  • Prepare online appraisals according to AOA standards
  • Uphold Code of Ethics

Cost: $60 per year

What makes it different? The price point.

From their website: “The AOA’s affiliation with education-provider Appraisal Course Associates combined with the AOA’s low membership cost ($60 per year) and reasonable qualification and requalification requirements, permits the AOA to provide all personal property appraisers with a cost-effective opportunity to obtain and maintain professional designations and to become proficient in the profession of personal property appraising.”

Member Benefits:

  • Use of AOA logos
  • Network opportunities
  • Linked Website from AOA’s Search
  • Inclusion in Members-only directory
  • Professional credibility
  • Media exposure generated by AOA
  • AOA referrals

Certified Appraisers Guild of America (CAGA)

Code of Ethics: http://www.t-na.com/auction/caga.html

Established: Established by the Missouri Auction School, which was founded in 1905

Who can join? Members must have completed CAGA coursework.

Membership Requirements:

  • CAGA coursework and training
  • Pass comprehensive exam
  • Commitment to Code of Professional Ethics
  • Commitment to USPAP

Cost: $675 ($100 off with early bird discount) /$100 annually to renew

What makes it different? A resume a century long and mentions in noteworthy publications and news channels.

From their website:
“For over a century, it has provided personal property appraisal training as part of its curriculum. It has been recognized world wide for its quality training programs by such organizations as Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Magazine, the Times of London, England and ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC news.”

Bonding and Insurance

Insurance

You can obtain insurance from most insurance companies, although the Antiques and Collectibles National Association offers industry benefits and discounts.

The Antiques and Collectibles National Association

Established: 1991

Who’s behind it? Angie Becker, President

Who can join? Professional appraisers, collectors, and dealers, including estate sale company professionals

Cost: $50 to join

What kind of coverage do they offer estate sale companies?

  • Liability coverage
  • Inventory coverage
  • Building coverage
  • Dishonesty Bonds

Member Benefits:

  • Use of ACNA logo & Certificate of membership
  • Access to quarterly newsletter
  • Association Conference and Trade Show
  • Merchant services
  • Discounts on Travel
  • Shipping
  • Advertising
  • Security systems

Bonding

Many estate sale companies are bonded with the following companies:

Guide to Estate Sale Professional Organizations

Did we leave off an important estate sale industry organization? Let us know in the comments or head over at our Facebook Group, The Estate Sale Company Network, and we’ll add it to the list!