Q: As an Executor of an Estate, What Should I Do to Prepare for an Estate Sale?

Real Estate Agent with United Real Estate TX #0552717

Q: As an Executor of an Estate, What Should I Do to Prepare for an Estate Sale?

A: As the executor, executrix or independent administrator (in Texas), your first step is to get from the court the Letters Testamentary giving you the authority to handle the matters of the estate including signing a contract with an estate sale manager.  Then,

  • Plan ahead. 
  • Remove all personal papers and family photographs.
  • Any items not to be included in the sale should be moved out of the house. 
  • After all items that are not to be sold are removed, your estate sale manager may need as little as a week, but probably longer, to prepare the contents of the house to be sold. Don't call on Monday and expect a sale to be held on Friday.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Dispose of prescription medications and alcohol.
  • Remove ammunition from all guns.
  • Donate prescription eyeglasses to the Lions Club by dropping them off at any eye doctor’s office.
  • Do not throw anything else away. *
  • If possible, arrange to have the phone service left on for the duration of the sale. This may be necessary for credit card purchases and it facilitates the pickup of large items after the sale.
  • Collect instruction pamphlets and brochures for household items, such as the washer, dryer, oven, etc. and store in one place. They will be given to the new owners when the items sell.
  • Do not throw ANYTHING else away. *
  • If the home is to be sold, arrange to have the real estate agent's business cards and the house graphics available during the estate sale. Some people come to shop for the contents, some to see the house.
  • If items from a safe deposit box are to be sold, make them available to the estate sale manager.
  • If an automobile is to be sold with the estate, ensure there is clear title and have it signed and available for the estate sale manager.
  • Do NOT throw anything else away. *
  • The drawers and cupboards and closets do not need to be emptied.
  • The estate sale team will sort, organize, clean, and display the contents of the home.
  • Select a charity to receive any unsold items after the conclusion of the sale.
  • Turn the house keys over to the estate sale manager, sit back, wait for the check and an empty house.

*Avoid mistakes others have made. Let the estate sale team determine what has value and what is salable.

Posted by

Lorrie Semler, e-PRO, GRI, SRES, CPRES, CRS
Addison Resident/Addison Specialist                                                      Subscribe Button
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  1. Cindy Justice 12/29/2010 03:53 AM
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Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Hi Lorrie... Choosing to hire a professional estate sale manager is a very smart decision!  Estate sales are more than just a garage sale on steroids... and a do it yourself-er is going to likely cost the estate money.

Dec 29, 2010 03:53 PM #1
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

Right on, Steve. Family members often try to attach sentimental value to some items and end up pricing things too high.  At the other extreme, they may not know what they have and price other items too low.

Dec 30, 2010 10:11 AM #2
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