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Estate Sale FAQ

What do I need to do when considering an estate sale?

CALL US.  In the meantime, don’t throw anything away!  Don’t give anything away casually thinking “it can’t be worth anything.”  Let us review your assets: then if you decide to keep or give away something, you know what it’s worth! Do not turn off the utilities to the house: in many cases, fire safety and other officials won’t allow sales at a home with no water or electricity.

I need to move fast.  How long will it take to schedule my sale?

We know the pressures you are under, and we’ll move as quickly as possible based on the amount of items to be sold.  We need enough time to set the sale up, and, more importantly, we need some time to advertise, to make sure buyers know about and can plan to attend your sale.  If the house is already sold, or if there are environmental or security concerns, we can move your sale offsite.


What happens after I decide to have the sale?

We get started on your sale right away.  First, you must remove ALL items that will not be offered in the sale.  It isn’t legal or ethical for us to advertise items for sale and have them removed before the sale begins.  Unlike some other companies, we do NOT invite our friends, family and preferred buyers to browse and purchase your items at discount rates before the public sale.

Once we seal the deal by signing the contract, we’ll place a realtor’s lock on the doors and the home will be closed until sale day.  In cases of significant valuables, we may even use on-site security around-the-clock.  We will organize and price everything.  If necessary, we’ll bring in tables and shelves. 


Why is there a contract?

Our contract spells out in clear terms the responsibilities and obligations of both parties: that is, you and us.  The contract protects you as well as us.  Don’t go with a company that doesn’t offer a contract!


My house is for sale: can you coordinate with my realtor?

Yes.  We’ll contact your realtor and make sure they know the sale dates.  Also, an estate sales makes the house available to hundreds of potential buyers over just a few days: your realtor may want to have business cards or fliers available or to be present to answer questions.


How will you promote my sale?

We advertise on, craigslist, our own website, via our email lists and in your local newspaper.  We may advertise specialty items in specialty venues if there is sufficient time.  We used a trained photographer and high-quality cameras to ensure you get good images.  We publish lots of photos to help attract buyers to your sale.  And, when not prohibited by law, we post good directional signs in the neighborhood on the day of the sale.


How long will the sale last?

The length of a sale varies based on the type and amount of items to be sold.  Sales usually range from 1 to 3 days.


What happens during the sale?

Depending on the size of the house and the amount of items to be sold, we set up a checkout area and often, a holding area for the items of those still shopping.  The driveway is used for pickup of large items.  If contents warrant the expense, we arrange for staff in different rooms.  Depending on the quantity and quality of large, heavy items, we may bring in movers to help the buyers.  As people make purchases, we record the sales so you can see just how much you are making, and what items sold for.  We accept all forms of payment, including credit cards, which many companies do not.  Accepting credit encourages higher-dollar sales and boosts sales totals.


What happens after the sale is over?

As soon as the checks clear and the payments are credited, we deduct the expenses and our commission, and give you the profits immediately!  The check will be written to the person who signed the estate sale contract.


Will every item be sold?

Not usually.  Most estate sales usually sell about 80% of the items present.  Because of our aggressive bargaining strategy, we often do better.  Our goal is an empty house!


What if I want to put a reserve price on something?

Unlike an auction, at an estate sale, the owner has some control over what an item sells for, so if there is a minimum price you’ll take for a particular treasure and it is not sold, we can “no-sale” it and return it to you: commission still applies.


What happens to the leftovers?

You have several options, depending on what is left.  We can leave them for you to give away or keep as you please.  We can donate them to a charity who will give you a receipt for use as a tax deduction.  If the items are not useful, we can arrange to have them removed by a trash hauler.  If there are some good things left and you don’t want them, we may be able to arrange a buyout from people why buy leftover lots, getting you a few more dollars.


A storm has suddenly been predicted for the day we’ve scheduled.  What can we do?

We will make a case-by-case decision.  If there is a major safety issue, we may choose to reschedule the sale, but in most cases, we will extend the sale by a day if we believe that shopping traffic has been significantly reduced due to unusual weather.


I can’t have a sale at the house: what are my options?

We can arrange an offsite sale at our facilities.  Naturally, costs for removing everything and setting up at another location are higher; still, it is a good option if you simply cannot have the sale at your site.  Few estate sale companies can offer this service: we have arrangements in place that allow us to make this service available to you.  Costs vary depending on the amount of items to be moved, and possibly the distance you need to move them.  We can give you a quote for an offsite sale when we inspect the contents.  We also offer online sales services, consignment services for selected items and whole-estate buyouts.


My relative was a hoarder, and the place is a disaster.  Can you help me?

Yes.  As long as there are no significant safety or health concerns, we can sort out the saleable items, coordinate trash removal and cleaning services, and stage and conduct the sale when the house is ready.  Alternately, we can gather the saleable items and move them offsite.


My elderly relative has decided to move.  I’m from out of the area and can’t help.  Can you assist?

Yes.  We can help the person with their move.  We’ll assist them in selecting and packing items to take along, arrange for furnishings to be taken to the new home and set up, and provide cheerful support, including local transportation, for the person moving.  We can’t make anyone want to move, though, so be sure they have agreed and are emotionally ready to make the transition.


I’m from out of the area and can’t come, but I know that there are things in the house that I want.  Can you help?

Of course.  We’ll pack and ship any such contents to you before we assess and promote the sale.


How do you differ from other estate sale companies?

WE BARGAIN from Day 1.  Many estate sale companies will not bargain until the sale is almost over – and some not then!  Frequent buyers learn this and will not attend on the first day.  They often wait until the last day, when some companies offer as much as 50 – 75% off.  We feel we sell the most items at the most total profit by bargaining from the beginning, especially if buyers want multiple items.  If someone buys the living room suite and is interested in the bedroom suite as well, we’ll offer a discount and sell them both: for more than the full price of one and half off of the other!  At sale closing, we offer good deals to try to make sure there is little in the way of “leftovers” to be disposed of at no profit.


Can I expect to get the same prices I see on eBay?

No.  When you sell items locally, you are selling in a very different market than eBay is.  Instead of thousands of people who may see your items, you may get hundreds.  While many items will sell for less than they may sell for on eBay, some will sell for more: especially those items where the shipping costs are a big part of the total price.  eBay is still one way to investigate what your items might be worth.  Here are a few tips if you are doing some preliminary research on your own:

- Compare only to items that have actually sold.  (You have to click on the sold item to see the actual selling price: otherwise, you’ll only see the asking price.)  Anyone can ask a big price: they may not get it!

- Look at how many of the same items have sold.  Many items on eBay never sell at all – or only one or two out of hundreds offered may sell.

- Pay attention to the condition of the items that sold.  Usually they are pristine.  Even a very small amount of damage may make an item hard to sell on eBay.

- Compare “apples to apples.”  Some items MUST have the original box to sell.  Others only sell in a certain color.  Pay attention to where the item sold: some items sell better in certain regions of the country, or internationally.

- See who sold the item.  Are they a top-rated seller? a Power Seller?  Some dealers spend many years building up a clientele that buy the exact sorts of things in which they specialize.  They usually get more for their items, as their buyers know and trust them and their merchandise.

- Remember that the dealers selling online and in shops are some of your best customers.  They can usually only afford to pay about half of an item’s retail price and still make any money.  But they buy right away, and with cash!

- Remember that we are the pricing experts.  We’ll check eBay, and numerous other sources, to make sure we price your items right.