HOUSTON – Linda McSwain and Cindy Wertz asked all the right questions of Rena Head, owner of An Elegant Estate Sale, when they hired her individually in 2015 to sell their estates.
Both women said Head never paid them the money she made from selling their property.
That was when McSwain and Wertz filed complaints with police and called KPRC 2 consumer expert Amy Davis. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office charged Head with felony theft in 2018 after a KPRC 2 investigation.
While Head was awaiting trial, she was charged with theft in another estate sale case in Liberty County.
She pleaded guilty in 2018, agreeing to pay $18,500 in restitution and perform 200 hours of community service. When she didn’t do either by August 2019, a Liberty County judge sentenced her to 24 months in jail. She started serving that sentence Aug. 22.
How to protect yourself
If you're planning to hire an estate sale company, you should know that there are no laws or licensing for the industry. However, there are some things you can do to make sure you hire a reputable company and there are no surprises in the end.
1. Google the name of the company and the owner’s name.
2. Check criminal records in the counties where you live and where the estate sale company is based.
3. Ask for the following things in writing:
- How will the items in your estate sale be priced?
- How much will you receive from each item?
- How much will the estate sale company keep?
- When will you receive your portion of the proceeds?