How Does An Estate Sale Work

Understanding How an Estate Sale Works

An estate sale is a method of selling all (or nearly all) of the contents of a home. Estate sales typically occur after a death or other event that causes the inhabitants to quickly move away from the home. Estate sales usually take place over several days and are open to the general public. Most of the time, a professional estate sale organizer holds the sale on behalf of the family members.

What Is An Estate Sale

An estate sale, or a tag sale, is designed to dispose of your own or a loved one’s possessions in an orderly fashion. It’s much more than a yard sale, as everything is marked with a price tag and is up for grabs. So, what does “estate sale” mean? Quite literally, it means the sale of someone’s entire estate.

Is Everything For Sale?

Typically, yes. Sometimes, the family may keep a few favorite pieces. If a realtor has put the house on the market, the new owners may want certain items, and they’ll list those things in the contract. Otherwise, everything has a price tag with a marked price. This is why it’s sometimes called a tag sale.

Why Have An Estate Sale

Estate sales occur for several reasons. Often, the estate’s previous inhabitant passed away, and the family members who inherited the estate perform an estate liquidation on the property. However, estate sales can take place for several other reasons. Maybe the home’s inhabitants are moving because of health reasons, a job change, or a divorce. Simply put, an estate sale happens when someone needs the home’s assets to be sold or otherwise liquidated.

Role of An Estate Sale Company

Organizing an estate sale takes planning and hard work. In addition, family members are often emotionally tied to the items for sale. Here’s where an estate liquidator steps in, as they objectively manage the sale from start to finish.

Estate Sale vs Garage Sale

An estate sale is somewhat similar to a garage sale (also known as a yard sale). In both cases, the sale takes place on the home’s premises, and both are open to the public. However, estate sales have some major differences compared to yard sales.

Estate Sale Vs Estate Auction

People often confuse the terms “estate sale” and “estate auction.” Both events are designed to liquidate nearly the entirety of someone’s personal property, and both are open to the public. However, Wikipedia states that, at an estate auction, each item is auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder. On the other hand, an estate sale is not an item-by-item sale event.

How An Estate Sale Works

So, how does an estate sale work? First, the estate sale organizer separates items into categories and appraises them based on their market value. Then, a few days before the sale, the organizer places price tags on each item. On the estate sale day, the organizer takes a final walk through the home before opening the doors to buyers.

FAQs About Estate Sales

1. How are estate sale items priced?

Pricing estate sale items can be a challenge, and if you don’t sell everything, you may have to hold another estate sale, donate the items, give them away to friends and family or throw them away at a local dump. Accordingly, it helps to understand what the retail price of similar items are and be realistic about their condition.

2. Who manages estate sales?

Friends and family members can manage an estate sale or they can hire a third-party company to manage it. Letting a third-party company handle an estate sale can be a wise choice when emotions are running high.

3. How much do estate sale companies charge?

On average, estate sale companies charge 30% to 50% of the gross sales from your estate sale. Most estate sale companies work on a contingency basis.

4. How do estate sale items get priced?

Estate sale items are typically priced based on their market value. Organizers may also do on-the-spot pricing for certain items.

5. What happens to unsold items after an estate sale?

At the end of the sale, the estate sale organizer decides how to dispose of unsold items. They may pack up the items for sale in their antique store, partner with non-profit stores, or place leftover items in an onsite dumpster.

6. How to find an estate sale company?

Finding a reputable estate sale company shouldn’t be difficult. Your real estate agent usually has estate sale connections, or you can search online for estate sale companies in your area.

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