Getting Ready For An Estate Sale – Understanding The Process

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Sellers now that you have chosen your estate sale company with due diligence and care what happens next?

As we approach Labor Day Weekend next week let’s review what an estate sale company will be doing to get your sale event ready, somewhat abbreviated.

An estate liquidator may take a few “staged” photos of unique, rare, or unusual items in the sale for immediate advertising. They will probably do a walk thru to determine how many tables will be needed, any additional lighting, if extension cords will be required, where to set-up the check out counter, whether they will utilize one entrance and exit only or one of each, and check out any special requirement (port a john) etc. that may be needed depending on the size of your sale. They will also arrange when they plan to start preparing the sale and ask you for a key or code for access to the property. This is also the time they will decide on security measures including hiring off duty policemen if required.

Every liquidator works different hours. Some start very early and finish each day in mid to late afternoon and some start later in the morning and work well into the evening. They also have to decide what special jobs may need doing (polishing, cleaning, etc.) and if there are additional charges that should be included in your estate sale contract. Some estate sale companies have factored that into their commission, others charge an additional fee depending on the amount of work to be done to prepare the items for sale.

Once they start working at the sale most estate liquidators will assign staff to different rooms (some may not) and the sorting of items begins. Discovery of what may be of significant value will take place as well, and these items will be set aside for showcases or other secure locations. After the sorting, cleaning, polishing, etc, comes the room by room staging of the personal property. Next the liquidator will begin the pricing process, and if needed researching the value of items that may be of high value or unknown origins or provenance.

All of this can take anywhere from 3 days for a very small sale up to a month for a large sale. Hours and hours are spent not only working on the estate sale on site, but on the advertising of the sale which is usually done in the evening or early morning at the home of the liquidator. It is not unusual today to see 500 or more photos on an estate sale listing website along with a detailed list of most items in the sale. Many companies use more than one site so double the work and then there is the social media work to be done, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube to name the major social media sites.

Usually the morning before the sale the estate sale company will post signs inside and on the exterior of the door to let buyers understand how they will be handling the sale including entrance (crowd control), sales (cash, cheques, or charge cards) and the rules of etiquette including if they will be considering discounting after day one of the sale or accepting written interest in items that have not sold on day one.

The morning of the sale signs (depending on the community) will be placed in appropriate or approved locations directing buyers to the sale. All of this work leads up to the opening of the door on day one of the sale. Announcements may be made prior to permitting entrance perchance there are any last minute changes or additions to the sale. The door opens and those words “welcome to our estate sale”. Day one begins.

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