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While most people associate an estate sale with the loss of a loved one, other reasons for holding an estate sale may be simply a desire to downsize or prior to a move, or perhaps a divorce that leaves a couple choosing to split the liquidation of their combined assets.
The following is some general information which should help you better understand your options when hosting an estate sale, and offer some tips for ensuring it is a success.
What is an estate agency and how does it work?
An estate sale agency is exactly what it sounds like, a company that specializes in the organization and pricing of an estate. Not all agencies are created equal and doing your own research before hiring one will pay dividends in the amount of money made at a sale.
For example, some agencies will charge a flat rate, while others charge a percentage of the sales. Some agencies will work on a sliding scale, the more money brought in from the sale, the less of a percentage they will take. Still, others will do a walk-through and offer a bid based on the items they see for sale. This last option is the most common way estate agencies charge.
What questions should I ask an estate agent?
It is important to know what you are paying for. Are there fees? Is a moving company used? Who will be there the day of the sale to help ensure the security of the home and the items? How is pricing determined? Can you take items out of the home prior to the sale without a penalty? The Spruce put together a list of 21 questions to ask before hiring an estate sale professional. Be sure to read through it as you work out how to get through this process. Their comprehensive list gives thoughtful insight into how this process works, something you may find beneficial if you’ve never held an estate sale.
Can I host my own estate sale?
The short answer is yes, you can host your own estate sale. But understand that it will be a lot of work, and you may not make as much doing it on your own as you would by hiring a professional. Sometimes a professional will find an item or object in the home that is of value that you may not know is worth anything. The Penny Hoarder has a list of 11 ways you can hold a profitable estate sale. The steps include things like creating an inventory, fix, and clean what you can, price your items, security measures and marking off-limit items. Be sure to read it if you’re thinking about planning your own estate sale. Understanding what goes into it will help you determine if you should hire someone or continue on your own. The list also points out a few things to be aware of when planning your own sale.
Regardless of whether you use an estate agency or plan your own sale, be certain to have a backup plan for unsold items. Such items could be donated or re-purposed or even trashed if necessary. It is unlikely that everything housed in an estate sale will walk out the door, so having a backup plan for unsold items is a must. We recommend 1-800-GOT-JUNK? they handle the tough stuff – and ensure that everything gets recycled, donated, or disposed of responsibly. This can be a good option especially for bulky items, such as furniture that you want to recycle or donate yourself but are unable to transport.
An estate sale can happen for a variety of reasons, although they are most common after the death of a loved one. While it is possible to host your own estate sale, it is often more beneficial to hire an estate agency to help with the planning and execution of such a sale, especially while you are already dealing with the loss of a loved one. If you choose to use an estate agency, be certain to ask a lot of questions, write down the answers so you can compare agencies, and determine the best course of action for your family.