What exactly is an "estate sale"?

An "estate sale" (sometimes called a "tag sale") is a sale held in your home where most or all of the personal property in the home are put up for sale.  Buyers come through the home during the sale and simply purchase your items.
Why do I need an estate sale?

There are many cases where an estate sale might make the most sense for you.  The biggest reason is due to the death of a parent or spouse, leaving you with an entire home's worth of items to deal with.  If you are the executor of the estate, it's your responsibility to ensure that the contents are disposed of in the best way possible.  Oftentimes, having an estate sale where the contents are sold off for you is this "best way possible".

Other reasons for having an estate sale include moving, downsizing, retirement or divorce.

Should I just consider an auction instead?

Granted, we do have a bias towards estate sales over auctions, but there are some limitations to auctions that can hurt your bottom line.

  • Auctions generally run for a single day, but an estate sale can run for an entire weekend when most estate sale buyers are out. 
  • Auctions have ZERO control over price. If you don't have the right buyer there on the one day the auction's held, you could lose money, or not sell the item at all. 
  • Auctions often take several weeks before they can be held, sometimes even months. Can you wait that long to get your money? 
  • Not all auction houses offer clean out services. So once the auction's complete, you still may have a house full of stuff to dispose of.
Should I just consider consigning my items?

We will never suggest consignment shops as a viable alternative to a well-run estate sale, unless you really have no other option available to you at all.

Remember: most consignment shops only want to consign your better items. But what about the rest of your household goods?

Does it really make sense to consign $600 worth of your items, then spend over $3000 to get your home cleaned out?*

*Yes, this has happened to one of our clients!

How do you know what my items are worth?

We have an extensive library of research guides, as well as several on-line valuation sources to help determine a fair and competitive liquidation price.

We also have our combined 40+ years of experience of what items have sold for in the past.

In addition, we also have a certified appraiser on call for any needed additional assistance.
How do you get people to attend my sale?

The biggest source of traffic will come from those who see our ad on estate sales.net.

Who would attend my sale?

There are a several distinct crowds that typically "do estate sales".

Dealers:  This crowd is small in number, but also have the most money to spend.  This group typically looks for antiques and collectibles that they can purchase to re-sell in their shops.

Collectors:  This crowd is also pretty small in number, but usually have a lot of money, too.  They are on the look-out for items to add to their collection but don't want to pay retail.

Utility buyers:  This crowd isn't interested in your 1918 stained glass lamp.  They're looking for bedroom sets for their kids, or some decent-looking dishes or cookware, or maybe an inexpensive stereo to give to their kid who's going to college.  They don't usually spend a lot, but this is the biggest crowd you'll see go to an estate sale.

Specialists:  This crowd is massive, but typically don't spend a lot at all.  Why?  Because they're looking for a special wrench or saw, or maybe a particular record, or just the right marble-top table for their hallway.

The "just curious" crowd:  These are the people who don't even know we placed an ad in the paper for your sale.  They're just people driving around and saw our signage on the street, and are stopping in just to see what you got.  There are even cases where they will stop by the sale because they've always wanted to see what the inside of your house looks like!

How much time do you need to do a sale for me?

A typical home can be set up for an estate sale in as little as 3-4 days.  This includes the time needed to unpack and dig out all of the items in the estate, research, set-up and pricing.
I am closing on my home in 2 weeks!  Is that enough time to have a sale?

Depending on our current sales schedule, this is often more than enough time to adequately set up and hold a great estate sale for you.

Do I need to be at the home while the sale is going on?

While we encourage you to visit us during the sale to get a quick idea of how the sale is going, we don't recommend that you be there for the sale itself.

For some people, it can be too emotionally stressful to watch strangers buy a loved one's items and carry them away.
How long are do your sales go for?  When do you hold them?

A typical estate sale can run anywhere from 1 to 3 days.  It all depends on how quickly the client needs the home cleaned out and the quantity of items being offered for sale.

One-day sales are typically held on Saturdays to maximize potential traffic.  Two-day sales are normally Saturday/Sunday, with three-day sales running Friday/Sunday.

What happens after the sale?  When do I get paid?

We'll give you your share of the proceeds, the house keys, and a short sales report giving you a quick break-down of how the sale went within 4 days after the sale (often earlier).

We will also remove all of our supplies and handle any pick-ups scheduled with our buyers.
Do you accept credit cards?

Yes, we definitely accept credit cards at our sales!  It's a proven fact that people are more willing to spend more if they can "charge it"!  Accepting credit and debit cards almost always guarantees more sales and higher sales, both of which help contribute to the success of your sale!

What happens to the items left over after the sale?  Do you retain possession of them?

Once the sale is over, the items become yours again and you can do whatever you want with them.  We suggest having family and friends come over and see if there's something they want.  After that, we'll be glad to give you a quote for a complete clean-out of the home.

How can I find out what something sold for?

All sales are written on 2-part receipts and we keep all of the originals.

We'd be glad to let you know about the final price of a particular item, or you can even request to have all of the original receipts.

OK, so what can you sell?

Some of the better "estate" items we sell include:
  • antique/vintage watches and jewelry
  • collectible coins
  • antique lamps
  • mid-century furnishings
  • collectible items (lighters, bar items, ephemera, more)
  • antique/vintage linens
  • rare books and publications
  • sought-after vintage audio equipment
  • antique Christmas and Halloween decor
  • other antiques and collectibles

We can also sell your:
  • cars, trucks, boats, trailers
  • entire specialty collections (e.g., Pez dispensers, Hollywood memorabilia, coins, antique model trains, sports collectibles)

And we also are happy to sell your more "day to day" items like:
  • general books
  • newer furniture (dining room sets, bedroom sets, desks, side tables)
  • general kitchenware (dishes, cookware, serving pieces)
  • garage items, such as tools, lawnmowers, and gardening supplies
  • home decor items
  • lamps
  • hobby supplies
  • office supplies
  • holiday and seasonal items
  • vacuum cleaners
  • glassware
In other words, we can sell just about anything you have in your home!

What should I do to prepare my home for an estate sale?

In a nutshell...nothing.

But the first piece of advice we give prospective clients is:

 don't throw anything away

If you want to unpack a few stored-away boxes to help give us an idea of your estate's value, that's a good idea.  But don't start cleaning and throwing things away.  You could also be throwing money away, too!

If, though, there are items in the home that are being kept and should not be included in the sale, we strongly recommend that you either:

  • remove these items from the home
  • or move them all into a room which will be made "off-limits" to both our staff and any customers coming to your sale.