Estate sales can be fun and exciting. They are also a great way to make some extra money. Once you know how an estate sale works and what to do you will have no problem having one. Follow the guidelines in this article and you will have an enjoyable estate sale.
What is an Estate Sale Company?
An estate sale is where a company comes into your home and evaluates the estate you are interested in selling. After you hire the company they will sort, clean, organize, research, price, market/advertise, and sell your collection and furnishings from your home. If there are any items that did not sell, the company will remove them and either dispose of them or donate what they can to charity (with your permission). Some companies will also clean the house, garage and yards, so the property is ready for sale.
Why should you have an Estate sale?
There are many reasons you might want to have an estate sale. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Liquidation of a passed away loved one’s estate.
- Down sizing your collection.
- Required to sell due to tax related issues or court order.
- You have a house full of items to sell and need help doing it.
As an appraiser I get asked many questions, one common question is why should we have an estate sale rather then doing it as a garage sale ourselves?
Here are some reasons why you should have an estate sale rather than a garage sale:
- You may not know the value of the items you are selling. This can lead to items being sold under market value.
- You may throw something away thinking it was trash. Items may appear to be trash but can hold value. It is always best to let the experts determine what is valuable and what is not.
- Estate sale companies do all the work for you
- Set up the sale
- Run the sale
- Market and Advertise
- Process all sales transactions (they also except most forms of payments.)
- Higher values for your items
- Staff to help answer all the questions potential buyers may have.
How does an estate liquidator get paid?
Estate liquidators take a commission of the net proceeds of the sale. The percentage is similar to what an auction would charge (10-25%). In most cases you never have to out of pocket any money.
Do’s and Dont’s of and Estate Sale:
A successful estate sale depends on many factors. Here are some do’s and dont’s when having an estate sale.
- Almost all estate liquidators have one common request: Don’t throw away anything at all and let them do the dirty work.
- Don’t clean the items, the estate specialist will do all of this for you. Cleaning an item can damage it if not done properly.
- You can have an estate sale for many reasons other than a family member passing away.
- Make sure to take the items you and your family would like to keep. If you find that there is something in the sale you wish to keep, all you have to do is tell the people handling the sale and it will be removed.
Estate Sale FAQ’s:
Q:) Do you have to have a death in the family in order to have an estate sale?
A:) No, You can have an estate sale as long as you are in possession of an entire estate full of items. This should be a large collection worthy of selling to collectors and dealers.
Q:) How do I choose an estate specialist to help me?
A:) When you are interviewing different people to handle your sale, keep in mind these people will be handling your family heirlooms and treasures. If you feel you can trust them alone in your house and that you can communicate openly with them about your wishes, you are probably safe to hire them. Make sure to check for licenses and or references prior to making your choice. Many estate specialists have just started out and may be hard to track down for payment. You will know when you have met the right person for your sale. Make sure you feel comfortable with the company you hire.
Q:) What do you need to do to prepare for an estate sale?
A:) Don’t throw away anything at all and let them do the dirty work.
Q:) How long will it take to have an estate sale?
A:) Usually takes a full seven days from start to finish. This includes sorting, cleaning, tagging, staging the sale, pricing, marketing, and selling all items.
Q:) How will I know what sold and for how much?
A:) A reputable and trustworthy company will give you a complete itemized list of the sale and items sold at the end of the liquidation. This list should be typed and easy to understand.
Q:) What happens if there is hidden money, photos, love letter, or personal papers found inside the house?
A:) Any reputable and responsible Estate Specialist will simply set these things aside, along with anything else that seems too personal to sell without permission. They will usually have the family come and retrieve the items or will mail it to you upon your request.
Q:) Who pays the sales tax for the purchases made by the general public, who do not hold re-sale numbers or tax ID numbers?
A:) Some liquidators charge sales tax per item, but most pay all the taxes themselves.
Q:) How does the liquidator get paid from the sale?
A:) Most estate liquidators work on a commission from the net proceeds of the estate sale itself. You should not have to pay any money up front or out of pocket.
Q:) What if you decide you want to keep something out of the sale?
A:) A reputable liquidator will allow you to simply ask and the liquidator should comply. Some estate liquidators have a clause in their contract saying you must pay for any items you decide to keep after signing the contract. Try to make sure you take the items you want before you sign the contracts.
Q:) Do I have to have antiques or collectibles to have an estate sale?
A:) No you do not have to have antiques or collectibles to have and estate sale.
Always remember there are some things that should be left up to the specalists. If you are going to have an estate sale I reccommend using an estate liquidation specialist. If you have any questions make sure to ask a specialist. Don’t be afride to ask questions as this is one of the best ways to protect yourself when it comes to antiques and collectibles.