Estate Sales: Step by Step Guide To The Estate Sales Process

Estate sales

The death of a family member may be both a sad and stressful experience. Planning and hosting estate sales is one of the more difficult undertakings.
Every year, more families choose to have them, whether they reside in cities, towns, or the rural countryside of America. For years, savvy customers have been aware of them. The bright utility of estate sales to empty residences and produce estate money is increasingly being discussed among heirs, executors, and fiduciaries. We believe it is time to delve deeper into this subject. Read on as we learn more about estates sales, living estate sales and see tips on how to choose an estate sale company.

What are Estate Sales?

Onsite Estate Sales as a method of selling personal property are a sales trend that is gaining traction.

An estate sale is the sale of a household’s goods. Items are sold to the general public with the dual goals of selling household items as quickly as feasible and emptying the house by the end of the sale. There are numerous companies actively offering estate sale services, and there are various forms of estate sales depending on local differences.

It is easy to understand what an estate sale is and how effective it is at generating income as well as emptying a home of personal stuff. Here is a list of features that set them apart from other resale choices such as garage sales or auctions.

  • Usually, take place inside a house.
  • Are accessible to the general public.
  • Usually, happen over a period of 2-3 days.
  • Provide a diverse range of personal property.
  • Create a strong visual appeal that will lead to sales.
  • Sell everything, including furniture, china, jewelry, and trinkets.
  • Each item is priced separately.
  • Reduce the price of products as the sale develops.
  • A family can run a little business.
  • Professionals are ideally suited to handle complex or valuable situations.

Estate Sales Process

After answering the questions about what an estate sale is and why you should have one, it’s time to look at the estate sale process itself.

Every estate sale must pass through six checkpoints. Each of them is accompanied by a set of sub-tasks. Every duty must be completed completely to maximize money, clean out a house, and retain a family’s integrity and dignity.

  • Content organization
  • Items for sale are displayed.
  • Valuation and investigation
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Managing the sale
  • Organizing the house

The first step is to select whether you want to handle your sale or engage a local estate liquidation business to do it for you.

At BusinessYield, we recommend that you investigate many companies before deciding to go it alone. There are fantastic companies all around America that handle professional-level estate sales, and many of them take on little tasks. Finding a decent firm is not difficult, and once you do, your life will become much easier.

Is everything for sale?

In most cases, yes. Occasionally, the family will preserve a few cherished pieces. If the house has been listed for sale by a realtor, the new owners may desire certain goods, which will be listed in the contract.
Everything else has a price tag with a defined price. This is why it is sometimes referred to as a tag sale.

Why Holding Estate Sales?

Estate sales take place for a variety of reasons. Frequently, the previous inhabitant of the estate dies, and the family members who inherited the estate undertake an estate liquidation on the property.

Estate sales, on the other hand, can occur for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the residents of the house are relocating due to health issues, a career change, or a divorce.

Simply described, an estate sale occurs when someone requires the assets of a home to be sold or otherwise liquidated.

How does Estate Sales work?

So, how does an estate sale function? First, the estate sale organizer categorizes objects and appraises them based on market worth. The organizer then sets price tags on each item a few days before the sale. On the day of the estate sale, the organizer walks through the house one more time before opening the doors to buyers.

Buyers are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis if there is a line. Some estate liquidators utilize a number system, with buyers obtaining a number that corresponds to their position in line. Other estate sales organizers use a lottery system to determine which purchasers access the house first.

Throughout the sale, shoppers can roam the house, inspecting each marked item. As shoppers grab them and pay for them on their way out.

Cash, cheques, credit cards, and debit cards can all be used to pay for items. The opportunity for customers to pay using credit cards frequently encourages the purchasing of high-end items. The estate sales company determines which forms of payment it will accept.

During the estate sale, the estate liquidator ensures that the sale runs smoothly by monitoring traffic flow and addressing pricing difficulties. Be advised that most estate liquidator contracts prohibit any family members from attending the estate sale on the day of the sale.

This is because it might be upsetting to watch strangers rummage through your or a loved one’s stuff. If you wish to keep access to your house throughout the process, choose an estate sales company that allows for family member access.

Where to Start your Estate Sales: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you thinking about having your estate sale? Here are a few pointers to get you started:

#1. Hold a family gathering.

Make sure you understand what is being sold and when it is being sold. Anticipate any emotions or potential conflicts that may occur as a result of the estate sale.

#2. Understand your debts.

It is critical to keep in mind any existing debts that must be addressed and paid with estate sale proceeds.

#3. Take a look around.

The attic, basement, and shed are all included. History has shown that precious artifacts can be found almost anywhere.

#4. Have the estate’s contents assessed.

Consult with an expert if you believe you have valuable stuff to sell. Handmade rugs, jewelry, and fine art are examples of objects that can be appraised.

#5. Secure and insure your items properly.

This entails documenting, photographing, and maintaining records for each item for sale.

#6. Think about philanthropic contributions.

Not only will you be performing a good act, but you will also be able to deduct this donation when you submit your taxes. Art can also be donated to museums.

#7. Sentimental worth does not always correspond to market value.

Just because something means a lot to you doesn’t guarantee it will have a market price that reflects it. Conduct research and consult with professionals (not necessarily your friends).

#8. Decide if you’ll sell on your own or with the help of estate sales company.

If your sale will be complicated or involve high-value items, you should consider hiring a specialist.

Making Plans for Estate Sales

Some antiques, such as this old toy plane and antique trunk, might be worth a startling amount of money. Don’t get rid of anything until an expert has inspected the house.

The first stage in estate sales planning is determining whether or not to employ a company to manage the sale for you. The majority of individuals opt for this because organizing one on your own is a tremendous amount of labor. Among the most important tasks are

  • compiling a list of everything in the house
  • determining whether they should all be sold
  • determining what reasonable prices would be for all of the things
  • arranging things so that it appears professional
  • Promoting the sale
  • ensuring that everything goes smoothly and fairly
  • ensuring that no one steals anything

How can you find a decent estate sales company if you decide to hire one? The Internet and the phone book are both useful places to look for experienced estate sale managers in your region, and most businesses have a website where you can learn everything you need to know about them. Estate sale companies may also refer to themselves as appraisal companies, implying that they are professionals in determining the worth of objects.

Call around and compare pricing and services before deciding on a company. Ask a lot of questions, such as how much they estimate you’ll make from the sale and what their policy is on any products left over at the end. If you have precious or uncommon goods to sell, check to ensure the estate sales company has the skills to obtain you a fair price. Don’t put your trust in a company that doesn’t immediately answer all of your queries and instead sends you to the contract or their brochures.


If you have items leftover from an estate sale that you don’t know what to do with, donating them to a charity is often the best option. Most charities will send someone to pick up the items on your behalf.

Estate Sales Merchandise Types

Estate sales are frequently brimming with furniture, home furnishings, and miscellaneous household stuff. Buyers might also come across artwork and beautiful jewelry. Estate sales attract antique dealers and private collectors looking for antiques and collectibles from various eras. Power and hand tools, as well as automotive and specialist items, are popular.

Techniques for Pricing in Estate Sales

The estate sale organizer is in charge of estate sale pricing, which is based on the market value of most items. This is how the price of each item is determined.

Organizers can, however, do on-the-spot pricing for certain items. Typically, after the first day, organizers discount items to encourage buyers to take advantage of the bargains. Discounts can be up to 75% off the original price.

Following the Estate Sales

The estate sale organizer selects how to dispose of unsold things at the end of the sale. If the organizer has an antique store or an online antique shop, they may pack the antiques and artifacts for sale in that location. Online marketplaces such as

Craigslist and eBay may also be viable options.

Some estate sale companies collaborate with non-profit organizations, which are eager to pick up unsold things at the end of the sale.

Although the antiques and other valuables were most likely sold, many household things might still be available. Furthermore, if there is nowhere else for the items to go, the estate sale organizer can dispose of them in an onsite dumpster.

Tips for Choosing Estate Sales Company

Look for the following indicators to assess whether a company is reliable and professional:

  • Any estate sales company should be licensed, which implies they have the legal right to offer their services.
  • A good company will usually be bonded as well. This is a type of insurance in which a third party guarantees that the company will uphold its end of the bargain. If the contract is breached, a third party (the bonding company) will compensate you.
  • A good estate sale company will also supply references upon request, as well as feedback from prior consumers about the organization’s service quality.
  • No company should charge you for the initial interview and house inspection.
  • When comparing the advantages and disadvantages of various companies, don’t blindly disregard those who charge a higher proportion than others. Selecting a company with a low percentage fee does not guarantee that you will generate more money. A company with greater promotion and presentation is usually considerably more successful at selling your things, even if they charge a higher percentage.
  • When you’ve discovered a company you like, make sure you acquire a contract that covers all of the things you’ve discussed and that you understand everything in it before signing. After that, you may sit back and rest as the company handles all elements of the sale.

Role of an Estate Sales Company

It takes time and effort to organize an estate sale. Furthermore, family members are frequently emotionally attached to the objects for sale. This is where an estate liquidator comes in, as they manage the sale objectively from start to finish.

Where can one find an Estate Sales Company

Finding a trustworthy estate sales company should not be difficult, and it is the key to a successful end. When selecting an estate sale company, consider the following two factors.

#1. Sources

If you are selling your home, your real estate agent will most likely have estate sale contacts. In most cities or towns, an internet search will yield the names of estate sale companies. Searching may also yield some hits.

#2. Credibility of the Estate Sales Company

Look for a bonded and insured estate sale company when looking for one. Although there is no formal regulatory organization for the estate sale sector, there are a few professional associations that help to build legitimacy. The Better Business Bureau is another useful resource, and referrals from delighted customers are very beneficial.

Living Estate Sales

This type of sale is for folks who are not relocating outright but have acquired a lifetime’s worth of valued items and would prefer to simplify before their executor or children take over the duty. This is usually done just before or at the time of retirement. It is the act of taking charge and removing (or at least reducing) this load from others.

Living with less can also be liberating and beneficial to your life. Your children may encourage you not to be concerned, but most of us can recall the feeling of having to make a difficult decision on behalf of our families. Giving your family the burden of selling valuable items (after you pass away or go to an assisted living facility) can be difficult. Simplify your life while you still can do so. If you opt to sell, the extra cash will allow you to cross items off your bucket list!

Tips for Organizing a Living Estate Sales

Living estate sales, which take place while people are still alive, are growing more popular. Here are some pointers for seniors and their families who are thinking of organizing living estate sales.

#1. Concentrate on the Advantages of Downsizing

Seniors frequently discover that they have amassed far too many items throughout their adult lives, which becomes more apparent when it comes time to downsize. When seniors opt to move in with family members or into smaller living arrangements, they frequently question what to do with their extraneous personal things. Living estate sales are the solution. These living estate sales assist seniors in downsizing and improving their financial security. This cash infusion can be utilized to finance their future living arrangements, provide for family members, and more.

#2. Experts Can Assist You

Estate sales and garage sales are not the same things. While anyone may hold a garage sale and hope for a few sales, living estate sales necessitate knowledge. It might be difficult to determine the value of one’s personal belongings.

Seniors may have difficulties accessing the physical and online resources that offer suggested costs, and advertising might be problematic as well. It is critical to spread the word to attract the vast audience required for a successful sale. Estate sale firms can help with this. This type of company will handle the entire sale, from selecting the suitable prices to promoting the day and time to possible buyers, for a share of the revenues.

If your loved one wishes to hold living estate sales and you are unavailable to monitor, hire a professional caregiver to provide much-needed assistance.

#3. Selecting the Best Company

Companies demand commissions in exchange for conducting estate sales. Most reputable businesses demand 25–40% of profits. While it may be tempting to go with the company that offers the lowest commission, this isn’t always the greatest method to make money. If one company outperforms the other in terms of profit maximization, the total earnings may surpass the higher commission cost. Seniors should seek out companies who have years of experience marketing in their local regions.

#4. You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Say Goodbye

It might be tough to part with treasured belongings such as a wedding present of china, an antique clock purchased on a trip abroad, or sterling silver silverware. While these artifacts have sentimental worth, it is all too tempting to overestimate their utility. These items have been stowed away in closets and drawers for many elders for decades.

Instead of lamenting what they are going to lose, seniors should think about how much joy they are bringing to others by selling these possessions. Living estate sales are also excellent ways to bring families together. During the estate sale process, family members can reminisce about old possessions and share fond recollections.

Seniors with medical issues may require extra assistance while doing living estate sales.

How can I get the Best Deals from Estate Sales

Estate sales normally last three days, from Friday to Sunday. Many companies advertise months in advance. You can see any future estate sales in your region right here. Keep in mind that the nicer the neighborhood, the nicer the goods within the home…

Also, they may post images of large items online so you may get a taste of the goods before entering the house. When professional estate sale organizations conduct estate sales, there are some standards to follow.

#1. Arrive early.

Arrive early and you’ll be given a number to wait in line (much like at the deli). Sorry, no sandwiches will be distributed!) They don’t want too many people in the house at once for security reasons, so they’ll call shoppers in by groups of numbers.

#2. Take as much as you want.

If you see anything you like, grab it and take it with you! It will most likely be gone by the time you return.

#3. No haggling.

Typically, price tags are not negotiable. Bids on higher-priced objects, such as antique furniture, are sometimes accepted. You’ll fill out a bid slip, and the highest bidder will be notified later to come to pick up the item.

#4. Last-minute shopping.

If you want to get a great price, go on the last day’s afternoon. This is most likely the only time you’ll see discounted items.

Estate Sales Vs Auction Sales

People sometimes mix up the terms “estate sale” and “estate auction.” Both gatherings are accessible to the public and are intended to liquidate practically the majority of someone’s goods. According to Wikipedia, at an estate auction, each item is auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder. An estate sale, on the other hand, is not a one-item sale.

During an estate auction, the event is managed by an auction company and a highly qualified auctioneer. The auctioneer is a member of the state and national auctioneers groups, and they adhere to a strict code of conduct. The auctioneer calls out each item one by one, and the highest bidder receives the thing.

There is no auctioneer in an estate sale. Customers are free to browse the home’s valuables at their leisure. Prices are fixed, and customers are not required to put competitive bids on items.

Estate Sales vs Garage Sales

A garage sale is analogous to an estate sale (also known as a yard sale). In all circumstances, the sale takes place on the property of the residence and is open to the public.

However, estate sales differ significantly from yard sales. Estate sale purchasers frequently line up at the front door before the sale begins on the first day. This is because buyers are only permitted to enter on a first-come, first-served basis. In reality, keen bargain seekers and antique traders frequently queue for many hours in advance.

An estate sale differs from a garage sale in two important respects. Garage sales are commonly held in the driveway and/or in the yard (hence the term “garage/yard sales”). Estate sales, on the other hand, take place throughout the entire home and premises (hence the name “estate sales”).

Garage sales usually include a selection of objects that the home’s owner wants to get rid of. Estate sales, on the other hand, usually include everything in the estate.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when having an Estate Sale?

  • Failing to properly research and select an estate sale company
  • Not setting realistic expectations for sales and pricing
  • Not adequately preparing for the sale, such as decluttering, cleaning, and organizing items
  • Not allowing enough time for the sale or advertising it insufficiently
  • Neglecting to account for taxes and other legal requirements

What should I do with the proceeds of an Estate Sale?

Depending on the reason for the estate sale, the proceeds can be used for various purposes such as paying off debts, settling estate-related expenses, distributing assets to beneficiaries, or investing in other financial instruments.

What are the alternatives to an Estate Sale?

Auctioning off the items, selling them online through platforms like eBay or Facebook Marketplace, donating items to charity, or simply discarding items that do not have significant value.

  • The rise of online estate sales and virtual estate sales due to the pandemic
  • Increasing use of mobile apps and technology to manage estate sales and streamline the process
  • More focus on environmentally-friendly disposal of unsold items, such as recycling or repurposing

How do I know if an Estate Sale is right for me?

Estate sales can be a good option if you need to quickly dispose of a large quantity of items, especially if the items have value and are likely to sell. Estate sales are typically less time-consuming and more convenient than other options like yard sales or auctions, but they do come with fees and commissions.

What should I expect during an Estate Sale?

You can expect a professional and well-organized sale, with items priced and displayed in an attractive and accessible manner. Estate sale companies typically handle all aspects of the sale, from advertising to payment and post-sale clean-up. During the sale, you can expect a steady flow of customers and the sale of items.

Estate Sales FAQ’s

How does living estate sales work?

Living estate sale involves the selling of all property while the executor of the estate is still alive.

Are estate sales usually cheaper?

Estate sales are often more expensive than garage sales, however, pricing varies.

What happens to estate sales leftovers?

You won’t get anything close to the sum you paid for the things at the estate auction. Prepare to sell your stuff for “pennies on the dollar.” Most businesses will resell the leftovers at an auction, charity, flea market, or trash.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like