If a parent dies unexpectedly, or has to move into a nursing home, you are going to have to make a lot of decisions, quickly.
For that reason, many families now turn to estate selling services that will sell their possessions.
But a man who used one offers a cautionary tale.
Had to Sell Mother's House Quickly
Brian Haglage of Clermont County, Ohio, turned to a local estate seller when his mom passed away.
"I then had the task of selling the house, which was the only smart thing to do," he explained. "I had no funds for any of the storage, or selling it myself."
But after the company sold his mom's furniture, clothing, and collectibles, Haglage was stunned. He received a check for barely over $1,500.
"I felt cheated, I felt ripped off," he said. "I felt like I made a grave mistake with my parents' legacy."
Auction Brings in Low Prices
Haglage couldn't believe his Mom's lifetime of possessions was worth just three grand, of which the estate company -- per the contract -- kept half.
"I feel like I could have done better going to the pawn store, the pawn shop, something like that," he said.
For a pocket watch he got just $5. For a grandfather clock in excellent condition, not even $200.
"The grandfather clock was kind of sentimental, hard for me to let go," he said. "Coming back at $180, seeing that really took it out of me."
The owner of the estate selling company says the furniture was outdated 1980s cherry-style furniture and did not bring in much money, despite an online auction lasting several months.
Haglage disagrees, and offers advice for others in mourning.
"Take your time, don't rush if you can help it, and definitely explore a lot of options," he said. He wishes he had set some minimum prices, and not hired the first company he found.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line: When you need to sell the contents of a home quickly, an estate selling service is probably your best bet.
But research the company at the Better Business Bureau, and search for online complaints.
For an earlier report on how to help your aging mom and dad downsize, click here.
But if you feel some things are especially valuable, or you want more for them, take your time, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter (@DWYM)