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What is an Estate Sale?

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with my daughter on two of our sales. She works in an eye doctor's office normally. While texting in a group message with her regular colleagues, she was asked, "What is an estate sale?" My daughter grew up with a mom who was always thrifting. I was always on the garage sale scene looking for bargains. I even owned my own thrift store for six years before leaving to host estate sales only. Her work friends are in their thirties. They honestly have no clue what I do. Even after she attempted to explain it to them, they remained a little confused. I suppose it is like anything else. If you have never had a need for a service like ours, or you didn't grow up with parents who introduced you to buying and selling secondhand, then you just don't know.

An estate sale is the liquidation of a person's personal belongings in their home and outbuildings...also known as their estate. There are many reasons to have an estate sale, including the death of a loved one, downsizing, and moving. Although many estate sales are hosted by the family of the estate, it is often better to hire an estate sale company who has experience selling and knowledge about current market values. An estate sale is a large undertaking. Unless you have the staff, the equipment, and the time to prepare and host a sale it is best left in the hands of those who do. They do all the work, including the advertisement of your sale.

As the client of an estate sale company, you are given the opportunity to step back and allow a team of people to come into the estate and begin work. A good company will price every individual item in the home from the dish soap and the sheets to the outdoor flower pots and the car. Having each item priced will not only increase gross sales but will save time by allowing customers to know up front the cost of an item.

Estate sales typically last 2 or 3 days. This is not a lot of time, and your estate is not a store where merchandise can sit on the shelf for months until it is sold. An estate sale is a whirlwind of activity. It is fast paced and constantly moving. Furniture is going out, people are coming in, everyone has a question, and many customers need assistance hauling out even their small purchases because they physically can't. It's busy. We're busy. An estate sale is a liquidation. If you aren't ready to let go, then an estate sale may not be right for you.

I always tell a potential client to shop around for an estate sale company just like you would a new car. A car may look good, smell new, and be all shiny on the outside, but once you sit in the driver's seat it's just not as comfortable as you thought it would be. All estate sale companies operate differently. Their fees are not the same. Some take credit/debit cards, and some don't (I recommend you find someone who does..this is a huge part of your sale). Sales are run by many different individuals. Find one that fits you. Are you comfortable in their presence? If you are, then perhaps customers will be also. Ask lots of questions. If you don't ask, how can you find a company who will meet your needs?

Once you have hired an estate sale company, step back and let them do their job. Make sure you have everything you want to keep out of the home or stored in a closed off area. Give the company a key and then move on with your normal daily activities. Estate sale companies are professionals. It's hard for them to do their job if you are following them around questioning all they do. They know what they're doing. It's their job. It's why you hired them.

An estate sale can be the closing out of a chapter in your life. It can a happy time or it can be a sad one. I recommend happiness. Move forward and onto new adventures. Smile because someone purchased Grandma's cookie bowl or Mom's favorite teapot. You are passing on a memory for someone else to enjoy. You are giving the things your parents or grandparents loved a new life and new purpose. You are releasing the knot in your stomach and the tension in your shoulders when you hire an estate company to do the things you can not or don't want to. Go live. It's a beautiful world out there, and we only have one chance to experience it.

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