Estate Sale Do’s and Don’ts


Here are a few do’s and don’ts that are extremely important when it comes to planning for a sale of furnishings or other items in an estate home:

Don’t throw ANYTHING away!                                             This is the most important advice we can offer.  You would be quite amazed at the many “worthless” things that are sold at an estate sale.  Items that are broken, damaged, or incomplete will be purchased by people who need them for parts.  Or, in the case of old or antique merchandise, many buyers like to do restorations.  Items you think are trash may actually be attractive and valuable to estate sale buyers.  Wait until AFTER the sale and throw out the leftovers.

Don’t hold a yard sale!                                                         The main reason for hiring a professional liquidation company is its ability to know what is valuable and what is not.  Stories are legendary about the item picked up at a yard sale for next to nothing and later sold for thousands of dollars.  An experienced liquidator will get a fair price for the items.  If they are not familiar with an item, they have the resources to find the value.   

Don’t sell anything to anyone BEFORE the scheduled estate sale                                                                         One big mistake people make is to allow local antiques dealers to come in and buy a few things from an estate home.  After these few dealers cherry-pick the “best” stuff for bargain prices, the estate sale company will have little left to advertise and attract buyers.  Leaving these key items will allow the estate sales company to draw in more potential buyers.  Customers will pay more for these items and likely buy other items from the house.  The antiques community is very close, so after a few dealers buy from you, word gets around that “there is nothing left in that house.”                                                                                                                                                                  Do have a homeowners insurance policy that covers the property                                                                     Keep the policy in effect until the house is sold to cover the owner in case of liability or damage issues arise.

Do encourage heirs to take memorabilia and inherited items before liquidation companies view the property.                                                                           The firm’s representatives will base their estimate of the value of the property to be sold on what they see when they inspect the home.  They will advertise the sale based on what is there.                                                                    Do ask the estate sale company for a copy of the contract.                                                                            Take the contract home and read it before you sign.  You should understand what the company will do and what is not included in their fee.  Some will do the clean out afterward, but some will only refer you to trash services.  Ask questions, and any agreements reached with the firm should be added in writing to the contract.