An estate sale might happen at a difficult time, perhaps shortly after the death of a loved one. But what is an estate sale, and how does it work?
There are many things for an estate seller to know. Maximum Real Estate Exposure has an in-depth resource worth checking out but we'll also cover some of the essential aspects here as well. Let's have a look at what to keep in mind.
Potential estate sellers should be educated in the process before moving forward.
What is an Estate Sale?
Estate sales are usually ordered by the probate court and are a way of selling everything inside a home.
There are a few reasons why an estate sale might happen:
- The owner passed away without naming an heir.
- A judge decides everything should be sold and the profits divided.
- The deceased stated they wanted an estate sale to deal with the possessions.
- Heirs to the property don’t want to keep or deal with the items.
Occasionally a homeowner that is downsizing or emigrating might choose an estate sale as a quick way of selling their possessions. However, this is an unusual choice thanks to how estate sales work.
How Do Estate Sales Work?
The property will need to be cleared before it can be listed for sale. An estate sale is an easy way to deal with the possessions in the home so it can be sold.
There are a few things you need to do before an estate sale can take place:
If you are going to hold an estate sale, you need to prepare. The first thing an estate seller needs to do is to remove personal items.
Any items that have sentimental value or are medical or otherwise private, should be removed from the home.
If there is unwanted junk that should also be removed. Hiring a professional junk removal company is always a good idea.
You can consider donating any unwanted possessions to a charity of your choice.
Using a professional appraiser to price items in the home could be a good idea. You might feel you can do this yourself, but some items could be worth more than you imagine.
While many items will be easy to price, lots of things won’t. Things like jewelry, art, antiques, silverware, and sports memorabilia, could be worth a lot more than it might seem. Also, equipment used in certain hobbies can be worth a lot, as well as high-tech electronics.
Even items that you might be inclined to throw away, could be worth more than you expect. Let the appraiser have a look through the home before you get rid of stuff.
Running the sale
You can run the estate sale yourself or hire professionals. Though the choice to hire professional estate sellers might be out of your hands if the sale has been mandated by a judge. This will also be required when splitting the proceeds between multiple beneficiaries to ensure things are fair.
Whether hiring professionals is your choice or it’s mandated, there are many benefits. They will take care of the marketing, you don’t even need to be at the home on the sale date, and they’ll deal with unsold possessions. This can mean the sale will happen faster and with less hassle than if you were doing everything yourself.
If the estate sale is happening because a loved one has died, it might be easier to have someone else deal with it. Otherwise, you will have to watch people purchase and carry away items that you associate with your loved one, something that could stir up emotions.
There is a cost when hiring estate sellers, of course. If you don’t like the idea of sharing the proceeds of the sale, this could be a reason to run it yourself.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire Estate Sellers?
These professional companies normally charge a percentage of the profits. This might be 30% to 50% of the proceeds, though the percentage might be based on the level of profits received. So with more money made from the sale, a lower percentage might be paid.
For their fee, the estate selling company will market the sale online and perhaps use signs to direct customers to the home. They will assess, display, photograph, and put prices on the items. They’ll deal with customers on the day, and take away anything not sold. When it's all done, they’ll give you a check, minus their fee.
When you are choosing your estate seller, you need them to answer some questions. What are their fees, and what they will do with unsold items? How will they market the sale? Will they clean the home afterward?
Check what previous customers think of the estate seller by checking feedback. And, if you can, go to a sale they are holding to see how they operate.
After the Sale
With the sale finished, there are likely to be some things that didn’t find a buyer. You might take these items to a charity or a specialist shop, or you might even be able to find a buyer online. If you’ve hired a company, they might make arrangements to deal with unsold possessions instead.
The money made from the sale will be distributed to the beneficiaries as mandated by the judge. The estate sale company will write you a check, minus their fees and expenses.
Hiring an estate sale company nearby can be an excellent way to get rid of things you no longer want, while making some money in the process. Like any other business, it is essential to vet who you are hiring. Make sure you get references and look on Google to see reviews from other customers who have been estate sellers.