How to Hold a Successful Estate Sale: A Step-by-Step Guide

When looking at estate sale companies, be sure to compare companies in both rural and metropolitan areas and obtain standard regional rate information. Sometimes, an estate sale company may be faced with an impossible hoarding situation or a filthy home.

How to Hold an Estate Sale by Yourself

Again, be certain you plan to actually purchase the item, as to not eliminate the opportunity for other paying customers and cause a lost sale. Most estate sales let shoppers carry items they plan to buy while they shop, all the way until check-out, so bring a bag. However, be sure not to “hoard” items or hold onto a bunch of stuff in order to “save” it — only to decide last minute you don’t really want it after all. This isn’t fair to the people holding the estate sale or the other customers. An estate sale is a method of selling all of the contents of a home.

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However, estate sales are not limited to the belongings of deceased individuals. They can also be held by individuals who want to sell their belongings or families who are moving quickly and don’t want to take their possessions with them. A significant amount of real estate agents or others in the industry could also assume an estate sale to mean selling a house of one of the heirs.

“One of the best houses I hit for an estate sale had beautiful Zubar panels in the entryway, and I instantly knew it was most likely going to be good,” Cook says. “In general, I recommend checking the bottom of the furniture or decor piece for the name or brand and having a quick Google to compare the retail cost.” Because an estate sale is generally items from around the entire home, there’s no telling what you might come across—which makes it difficult to go in with a game plan. “You never know what you’ll find at an estate sale,” Cook says. “I often pick up things like picture frames, flower vases, china, and crystal.” Read on to find out how to start planning an estate sale and how to find an agent you can trust. Finding a reputable estate sale company shouldn’t be difficult, and it’s the key to a good outcome.

Keep Records of the For-Sale Items

If you talk with with them about what your goals are, and listen to what they have to say, you should enter the process with reasonable expectations. Your estate sale costs can vary widely in large metropolitan areas vs rural locations.

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For that reason, they usually choose a sliding percentage scale based on the sale’s projected total. They’ll charge a higher percentage rate for smaller estates, and a lower percentage rate on a larger estate.

Our expert reviewers hold advanced degrees and certifications and have years of experience with personal finances, retirement planning and investments. Jennifer Schell is a professional writer focused on demystifying annuities and other financial topics including banking, financial advising and insurance.

Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business’ expenses all in one place. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business. The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company , and corporation. One way of gauging what you can charge is to do a little research into what your competitors charge and how they structure their fees. If your relative has a bunch of silverware, you may be just as likely to sell it in a bargain bin as you are to have it appraised. This could lead to a severe loss if the relative happened to have some valuable pieces. The passing of a parent or relative is always difficult for those left behind.

In addition to setting up the items for sale on tables, you need to create easy access throughout the home and clear signage to direct visitors. Close off, lock, and place signs on any off-limits areas of the home, and put items not for sale in these areas whenever possible. While estate sale pros are not required to carry insurance, most reputable companies will have coverage. Ask about the type insurance they have, as well as what and who it covers. Since an estate sale is likely occurring on private property, you may want to check that the homeowner’s insurance is still paid and active. Even if you don’t feel like reporting the crime, you should. The more theft is documented, the better chance there is of stopping it.