The perils of the "Do It Yourself" Estate Sale

We occasionally come across the client who always wonders if it would be better or easier if they held their own estate sale, rather than hire a 3rd party to do the work.

 If you've ever held your own garage sale, you probably already have a good idea of the amount of work it takes. But can an estate sale really be that much more difficult?

Here are some of the challenges you'll probably face if you decide to hold your own estate sale.

That garage sale you held a few years ago was meant to get rid of a lot of items you just didn't want anymore.  With an estate sale, you are probably liquidating the entire contents of a home.  With the potential 1000+ items a typical estate holds, it could mean weeks of your time and the time of family and friends just to dig everything out.

Once you've dug everything out, you'll face the challenge of setting up and organizing the items for sale.  Do you have enough spare tables?  Tablecloths?  Do you know how to best organize the items for better sales?

The biggest mistake with a DIY estate sale is pricing.  While a liquidator brings a wealth of pricing experience with them, most people don't have a strong idea of an item's market value.  So you will more than likely underprice some items and overprice others.

You'll need several people to run your sale, including a cashier, people to watch the rooms in the home, and "security" to monitor the entrance during the first few hours of the sale.  And since your sale will run 2-3 days, you'll need enough people for all 3 days.

Just putting "estate sale" in your ad won't guarantee a great turnout.  You'll need to properly craft the ad to entice the right people to attend.  You'll also need to know where to place all your ads.

The buyers
Estate sales normally bring in a lot of dealers, who are looking for good prices to restock their shops. Some of them can be very persuasive when it comes to haggling over price.  Do you have the patience to negotiate with dealers and total strangers?  Don't forget:  we already know a lot of these dealers and how they operate!

The emotional ties
As you're digging out the house, you're bound to come across an old toy you played with as a child, or a souvenir from a past family trip.  Although these items may have significant emotional value to you, you still need to price the item objectively.  Can you do that your for old toy?  Can you do that your an entire house full of memories?