Downsizing or Moving? Estate Sale or Garage Sale – What’s The Difference?

Estate Sale signGarage Sale

Baby boomers are moving in record numbers and many are downsizing as retirement time has arrived. Knowing what the best answer is for you to liquidate your unwanted or no longer needed items depends on your understanding the difference between an estate sale and garage (yard) sale.

An estate sale sells the greater part of the contents of your home. Usually it involves selling the items within the home. Most estate (or sometimes called a tag) sales are conducted by professional personal property liquidators – an estate sale company. They sort, organize (or stage) the contents within the home, price, advertise, and conduct a sale lasting two, three, or four days. Many also offer clean out services as well for an additional fee. Estate liquidators are experienced with selling household items as well as antiques, art, etc., however, when in doubt they research and may call in an appraiser to assist them with the proper description and pricing.

A garage sale involves selling miscellaneous household and garden items, usually takes place in the garage, on the driveway, or on the yard and are held for one or two days. The sale is usually run by the owners and they set up the items, price, and sell them. The items being sold are generally low in value.

One key difference to mention is where they are advertised. Estate Sales are advertised on estate sale listing websites, estate liquidator websites, social media, and print media. Garage/yard sales are usually advertised by hand writing on poster board tacked up on poles, (where permitted), in a local newspaper, and on occasion on websites specifically for yard or garage sales.

Another difference that is often overlooked in articles and discussions is negotiating. Estate sales usually will not negotiate the first day of the sale and most have a policy for discounting while garage sales usually have people making offers from the time the sale starts. Estate liquidator also have policies in place for entering the estate sale (numbers, list, etc.) while folks waiting for a garage sale usually just walk up and start looking across tables of items and may even poke through items not yet unpacked.

If you aren’t sure which type of liquidation will meet your needs speak with a few estate liquidators and explain what you are doing and what you have to sell. Most will welcome your call and the result could generate financial gains more significant at an estate sale than you would have received had you chosen to go with a do it yourself garage sale.

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