Holding an estate sale is something many of us will have to face in our lives. When elderly loved ones pass or need to move out of their homes into nursing facilities, their family members and/or close friends are left with the task of coordinating what to do with all their belongings. Not only can this be an emotionally overwhelming process, but it is a physically daunting task of figuring out where everything should go. This is where an estate sale comes in.
An estate sale is where at least 80% of your belongings are listed for sale in a home.
You open up the home to the public and invite people in to “shop.” Sounds simple enough, right? In actuality, there are many things to organize and consider when preparing to host an estate sale, and many people can become overwhelmed quickly.
If you don’t want to hire a professional, then follow these 6 tips to host an estate sale.
1. Start early and do your research ahead of time
Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it is worth a lot of money. It is in your best interest to find out what items are worth ahead of time by checking eBay to see how much things are selling for, calling auction houses to see if it is a valuable item, or having an appraiser come in and tell you what your items should be priced at.
2. Clearly mark prices
Mark all of your items clearly with a price. This allows people to walk through the home, and if they see something they’re interested in, they can quickly make a decision without having to hunt you down to ask the price. Now, it is an estate sale so there will be bargaining! But this at least gives your buyers a starting point and will hopefully cut down on questions.
3. Staff your house properly
Make it easy for your shoppers to find someone to help them and staff the sale with multiple trusted people who can help answer questions quickly. It’s also best to keep kids and pets out of the house on this day to cut down on foot traffic and this way only the people who need to be in the house are present.
4. Keep items in the room they belong
If people are coming in looking for something specific, they will go to the room it belongs in. If they’re looking for a dresser, they’ll naturally go to a bedroom. Or if it’s a specific kitchen tool they’re in search of, they’ll head to the kitchen. Make it easy for your shoppers to find what they’re looking for and keep items in the room they belong in.
Estate sales are like pop-up shops – they’re not always in the same place twice! To ensure that you have a steady flow of people coming in, advertise your estate sale wherever you can. Newspapers, Craigslist, and Facebook sale groups are excellent places to get the word out! Be sure to include pictures as people will want to see what kind of items you have before they make the drive to you. On the day of your sale, post signs directing people to the house so that they can easily navigate to it and they’ll show up ready to shop!
6. Hire professionals if you feel overwhelmed
Estate sales are no small task – there are many moving parts to keep track of, and it can quickly become overwhelming. Luckily there are many companies out there that do this for a living and can assist. They can help you choose what is sellable, price your items, and manage the sale for you. But be aware, they often take 20 to 50% of your profits. And please do your research ahead of time to make sure you’re hiring reputable companies by asking for referrals. Check out Estatesales.net and Estatesales.org for local companies in your area!
Estate sales are no small task – there are many moving parts to keep track of, and it can quickly become overwhelming.
Luckily you have Family Matters who does this for a living and can assist. 😉
We can help you choose what is and is not sellable, price your items, and manage the sale for you.
When hiring us, or another liquidator, we take a percentage depending on how much work there is to do. It can range from 35 to 60% of your profits. Need help? Call us today for your free consultation. We’ll help you sell your items so you can focus on your next steps, like selling the house or taking care of your loved one you had to move.