Category Archives: Estate Sales Help & Tips

Vacation Time – What About Estate Sales

Today is Tuesday, July 1, 2014. will be taking some time off.  We would like to discuss what happens during this time of vacation for estate sales and liquidators.

As so many head to the mountains or the sea shore estate sale companies continue to press on. With many obstacles to face including a lesser audience these entrepreneurs continue with their staff to stage, price, and conduct estate sales. They do, however, in most areas take this upcoming Independence weekend off.

That doesn’t mean that many aren’t answering your calls and questions, staging and pricing upcoming sales and getting ready for the heat of summer (particularly in un-airconditioned properties). If you have hired a liquidator to handle a sale please be sure the electric is on, fans are available if possible, and that a refrigerator is cold (for water and assorted cold drinks that the estate liquidator will provide for its’ crew).

As a seller remember that at this time of year depending on where you are located and the weather can determine how successful you are. Also the economic climate of your area will influence your financial return. We want to take this opportunity to say to those sellers or estate sale companies out there if you have questions or concerns email us at It may take a day or two, but we will respond.

The estate liquidation isn’t easy, so patience is needed from sellers, estate sale companies, and buyers especially in the summer time.

We’ll post any need to know news as necessary.

Have a great 4th of July. Celebrate our freedom and those that have made it possible.

Working With An Estate Sale With Mold, Smoke, Pet Odor Or Dust

household cleaner with rubber gloves bucket and sponge..It is rare as an estate liquidator not to encounter a property that may have a mold, smoke, pet odor or severe dust problem occasionally.

Many estate sale companies will not conduct a sale in such an environment, but just as many companies accept these “challenges”.

Mold is a very serious issue. Just as a mold addendum is required on the sale of a home, dealing with mold is major problem. If it is a very small amount the estate sale company will have to decide if it can be dealt with by bleach or some other cleaner, however, if it is a large area, remediation may be needed and should be the cost of the seller(s). The health of the estate sale company staff as well as buyers is a prime concern along with the sellers’ health.

The smell of smoke and discoloration caused by smokers is another concern. Glass, china, wood, iron, and other non porous surfaces can be cleaned, but eliminating the odor in upholstered furniture can be next to impossible. Cleaning draperies and curtains can be expensive so the cost has to be weighed as to what the items would sell for. In many instances it is better to let them be sold “as is” at a reduced price.

Pet odors and stains are also difficult. Most require professional cleaning and sometimes cannot be removed or eliminated. One recommendation is do not try to disguise the smell. Honesty with pet odors is important.

Many properties that have had elderly owners or people with handicaps have an excessive amount of dust because the owners were unable to keep up with it.  These will require a thorough cleaning and the cleaners should wear masks.

The professional estate sale company will make judgements on these issues and proceed not only in their best interest, but in the best interest of all parties involved.

Where You Advertise Estate Sales Is Very Important -Here’s Why

Estate Sales NewsThere are many websites on the internet specifically for advertising estate sales on. As you will read below when you start putting them on Craigs List and yard and garage sale sites, it can create a real problem with some buyers and bring you unwanted publicity. Before placing your ads ask yourself what is that doing to your estate sale and professionalism.

Every company wants to bring in the most buyers possible, but be careful what you ask for. A Google Alert from a site called Bubblews said ” Estate Sale Was A Bust”. The buyer found an estate sale listing on Craigs List. According to the buyer the ad said 50 years of stuff among them crafts and glassware. She went on to say that when she got to the sale at 10AM she didn’t see any of the crafts or glassware and nothing antique, maybe collectible. She continued on that she really liked some of the china, however, the company would not separate the large collection. She also said that some of the dishes were “way too expensive for a garage sale” costing the full retail price and some there were “Walmart” quality pictures they wanted $35 for.

If you advertise an estate sale on sites like these remember who your buyers may be. This woman called it an estate sale, then a garage sale and compared it to Walmart.

Advertising your estate sales on the right websites is important. Bargain hunters are looking for bargains. An estate sale is not a garage or yard sale.

Avoiding repercussions like this can help you and the estate sale industry. Choose your advertising sites and media wisely and keep it professional for your sellers and your estate sale company.

The Effect Of Summer And July 4th On Estate Sales

7943d42e3cb105c24554c3be9bce316fMay started the summer season with graduations, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. That slowed the estate sale business down depending on the proximity to the shore areas and the mountains. The business picked up again in June.

Now, the major summer holiday weekend of July 4th approaches in a the month that so many take vacations.

Most estate sale companies are not conducting estate sales over the July 4th weekend. Estate Sales News has not reviewed the 5000 plus estate sale companies out there, but the cities and states we have looked at appear to be taking a break for that weekend. It’s not easy to compete with hot dogs, hamburgers, the beach, mountains, or lakes. It has also been a very busy spring so this provides an opportunity for the company owners and staffs to recharge too.

If you are having a liquidation sale this summer here are a few simple suggestions.

If you have any items that can be used for camping, hiking, fishing, or the beach be sure to point them out to your estate sale company and ask them to make specific mention of them. People are always on the hunt for quality outdoor furniture and even portable fire pits.

Have a picnic hamper, beach towels, folding beach chairs, beach umbrellas? Other good items worth mentioning and photographing.

How about good quality plastic dinnerware. A must have for summer vacationers and a good deal at an estate sale. A word of mention here, something being a good deal doesn’t mean it’s cheap, it reflects that the price is lower than it would be retail new.

Estate Sale Companies, remember to advertise your summer needs and if by chance the seller has fall or winter items, wrapping paper etc. remind the public to buy now when the prices may be lower than in the season.

There are many ways to work around the 4th of July and the summer. Success comes from experience, knowledge, and marketing skills.

Two Weeks To The July 4th Holiday – Our Independence

With only two weeks before one of the biggest vacation weekend of the year Estate Sales News would like to ask you to let you friends, neighbors, fellow estate salers know about us.

If you are thinking of advertising in a venue without a lot of competition we may be a great fit for you. Call us at 877-623-1788 for our affordable rates.

Today starts the beginning of another estate sale weekend.

We would like to hear from you about what great finds you have acquired, what you think of the sales in your area and more. Email us at – your resource for estate sales on the internet.

Estate Sales Or Auctions? What Is The Difference?

Estate Sale signauctionEstate sales and auctions have been a method of disposing of the contents of personal property for many years, however, many companies offer both methods. They can also be used to liquidate commercial contents as well.

Let’s discuss the difference.

An estate sale is where a seller(s), heir, attorney, or family hires an estate sale company to come in, sort through the personal property, set it up on various tables, shelves etc. and price most if not all the items to be sold. The person or persons requesting the sale will pay the estate sale company a portion of the gross proceeds of the sale (commission usually). The sale is advertised for specific dates and times and when the door opens to the property or location of the sale the items have a specific price on them. The buyers do not pay a commission or fee to the estate sale company. Although the buyer may leave a lower price offer (bid) for items, it is at the company’s and seller’s discretion whether to consider or accept the bid(s).

Auctions have been around for hundreds of years, however, it is an entirely different method of selling. An auction can take place on the property or at an off site location. The best way to describe an auction comes from Wikipedia. “A process of buying or selling goods or services by offering them up for bids, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder”. Some auctions do contain reserves (a set price, usually by the sellers) which is the minimum acceptable. Auctions usually charge the seller(s) a percentage of the sales and many also charge a buyers premium (a percentage of the cost of the item purchased).

Estate auctions have been used for years in rural America to dispose of the contents of an estate and in more recent times used in metropolitan areas, particularly if the estate contains high value items or the sale of the contents cannot take place on site.

Some confusion exists these days because most websites that were originally for listing estate sales now list auctions and online auctions, however, they still retain the phrase “estate sale”.

Depending on the area, circumstances, and property to be sold, sellers need to choose which method works best for them. Either method can bring financial success. Understanding the difference though is important.

Sellers Need To Liquidate An Estate? Reducing Your Stress Level

Trust, confidenceIt seems like everywhere you look today, print media or the internet you will find estate sales and for many that represents a stress for the parties needing to sell and buyers looking for bargains.

It is important to remember that an estate liquidation is a process and the estate sale liquidator you choose should help reduce or relieve that stress. However, the job of the estate sale company is to sell the personal contents and possibly (depending on the company and agreement) clean out the premises. It is up to you the seller to choose wisely and then let your professional liquidator do their job.

The stress of losing a loved one difficult and a stressful time for family and heirs, but as a seller(s) let the company you have chosen lessen your burdens of liquidating the personal property.

Buyers, an estate sale is not a garage sale or charitable give away. The estate sale company has a fiduciary relationship with the seller to get the best possible price (just like a Realtor) for the items they are selling. Please remember this is not the Dollar Store. This is the selling of personal property second hand.

Sellers and buyers do your research, please remember that everyone involved wants a pleasant and pleasing experience and keep your perspective about the process.

Somewhere tomorrow estate sales start. Happy shopping.


Estate Sales News will be traveling starting next week and our first stop will be Tuesday in Minnesota.

Have a suggestion for an article or something you want to know more about. Email us at


Estate Sale Company Websites – What Is Needed And Why

Estate Sales NewsThere are 1000’s of estate sale company websites on the internet today. Knowing what to look for should help you in your choice for an estate liquidator.

Having a website is very important. It keeps the estate sale liquidators name in front of the public looking for an estate sale or event company and also buyers looking for estate sales in their communities.

Websites for estate sale companies can be very simple or very complex, but what is important is what their content is, whether they have search engine optimization, and if they are kept current.

There are some liquidators that have only 3 pages or so to their website, however, the pages of their website state what services they offer, how they go about it, their experience, and often times testimonials from recent previous clients. Some estate sale websites also offer a blog for their followers to read.

One thing to try and avoid is having a wordy website. Keeping it informative and the content relevant without trying to use the entire dictionary is usually the best. The purpose is to keep a sellers’ or buyers’ attention and give them the basics to decide whether to pursue your company further.

Some estate liquidators have what we call upscale websites. They can contain multiple pages and photos and in some cases to may white spaces with many words, but not necessarily pertinent information.

A few of the problems that occur with estate sale company websites is lack of functionality. Unless a website specifically states it is under construction or reconstruction it is very important that any features or icons on a website work. If a website shows a T,P, or F icon (Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook) when you click on it should link with the social media shown. A website should contain information and wording that causes search engines to notice it and bring it onto the front page of the search engine. Google for example uses what is called bots and if the correct meta tags are in place and the wording on the page corresponds that should attract the bots. This is an extremely simplistic way of explaining a more complicated process known as SEO (search engine optimization). Very important for attracting perspective estate sellers and buyers. If your website is not optimized you may not have much internet presence except on listing sites along with your competition.

Another problem is the lack of updating that is done by some estate liquidators. Once they have a website created, they do not continue updating it. Seeing the same information that may have been written months before doesn’t promote the companys’ attentiveness and may cause a seller to wonder what kind of attention they will give your sale.

A good website is a marketing tool and showcases an estate liquidators’ ability to not only market their company, but also their estate sales.

Websites should stand out on the first page of a search engine. Just as listing websites are on page one, your company should be also. You want to be in front of your competition, not along side them. It is the best way to attract sellers and buyers. Using all forms of advertising including listing sites is very important, but showcasing your estate sale company is important too.

Pay attention to the details of your website. If you aren’t happy with it find a company that will get you the internet presence you need and that sellers and buyers are looking for.

Good websites are a financial investment in a successful future.

Photographs Are An Important Asset To Successful Estate Sales

cameraIn today’s internet world with perspective sellers and buyers having instant access and results to searches for estate sales on the internet taking good photographs which showcase what is included in a sale or event is very important to success.

Estate Sales News reviews numerous liquidation sales daily on various listing sites and many of the photographs we see are not beneficial to the estate liquidator or their sale or event.

Estate Sale Companies along with having knowledge about what items are and are worth, staging know how, selling techniques, and a host of other capabilities also need to know how to take photographs that draw the public to the sale. An estate sale liquidator must wear many hats and be talented to achieve success.

Let’s review a few photographic basics.

An estate sale company should have a good way of taking photos (it can be a simple point and click with built in flash), or tablet (iPad for example) it could also be a smart phone. When going on an appointment for an estate sale if you have any type of lighting equipment or even a clip on light or lamp bring that along. Going prepared is a must. Also bring along a light colored cloth (preferably white) and a dark cloth (black or navy). You never know what kind of backdrop or background you will have available (if any that is usable).

In a hoarder house it is difficult without staging to take good photographs, however, time should be taken to do a quick sort through (on easy to see things) to find a few of the items that will be available and of interest for sale. Create a background that will enhance the item you are photographing. Posting a few good photos with an explanation that as you sort and stage you’ll continue posting more photos. It is better than showing a cluttered mess that appears like the end of a garage sale. Now that estate sale listing sites provide more space for descriptions you can always list many of the items in the sale with “photos to follow as we sort and set-up”. Many estate liquidators have started doing this, however, sadly many just keep posting unflattering photos of piles of clothes, boxes etc.

When you go into a garage, basement, or attic the same approach should be taken. If you really feel that having a photo of large un-staged clutter will attract buyers (a diggers delight some like to call it) then take just one and follow it with a few staged items against a proper backdrop. Be sure to let the buying public know this is before you have started working there.

Buyers pay close attention to photos and nothing can turn a buyer off from pursuing a sale and attending it than poor photography technique.

When you do take photos look to see if the images are sharp. Fuzzy or out of focus photographs do not enhance your future sale.  Watch for glare from the flash or miss placed lighting used. If you’re taking the photo of a mark on porcelain or glass this is particularly important.

Sellers it is always a good practice when you are looking to hire an estate liquidator to look at any current sales they may have posted to see what approach they take to photographing them. Good photography is a key component to attracting buyers and in turn helping to generate a financially successful estate sale.

Estate Sale Contracts – Important Basics

Estate Sales NewsThe most important topic reviewed by sellers and estate sale liquidators on Estate Sales News is the estate sale contract.

For the benefit of sellers and estate sale companies we present some of the topics of concern to both. Clarity in an estate liquidation contract can prevent misunderstandings and reduce stress. Estate Sales News is not an attorney and we do not give legal advice. The information presented is based on 25 plus years of estate liquidation experience. Please consult an attorney for legal advice or contract legalities.

Next to some areas you will see the word “initial”. This is to insure that all parties have read and agreed to the content of the paragraph. That way all parties are working on the same “page” so to speak.

  • The contract should be dated and contain the dates and times of the estate sale or event.
  • It should also contain the complete address of the sale.
  • The contract should clearly state who the seller or responsible party is (whether it is an attorney acting for the estate, heir, family member, or even a Realtor).
  • The contract should specify that the property has electric and water and working plumbing that is available before, during and until the estate sale is over and the estate sale company has vacated the property entirely. This is for safety of all and sanitation. “initial”
  • Following this section would also be the place to include snow or ice removal and who is responsible if that is an issue in your area. “initial”
  • The next section should be specific about the commission or fee that is to be paid from the gross proceeds ( percentage or amount) at the end of the sale. If the liquidator works on a minimum fee this should be in this section as well. “initial”
  • The next section would deal with cancellation of the sale. This depends on the estate sale company, however, many contracts include a cancellation clause with a specific fee. If work has been done by the estate liquidator and staff and advertisements have been made they should be compensated for their time and expenses. Each company operates differently. If the contract has this clause “initial”.
  • Next would come advertising and who is responsible for payment of the ads.

At this point in the contract it is advisable to let the seller(s) know that the company will make all possible attempts to achieve the best possible financial results, however, they cannot make any guarantees of the prices or of the gross sale total. An estate liquidation company cannot control weather, attendance, market conditions or other competition in the area. All they can do is make their best effort and that is why sellers, it is up to you to make your estate liquidator choice having done your do diligence to find the estate sale company you feel will be the most successful and professional. As a seller you have a responsibility to so make sure you take time to research, become informed, and make the best choice possible.

Please note that every estate liquidator chooses a contract that works for them. There is more for our discussion on Thursday, however, many contracts from estate sale companies will contain more and many may contain less.

Estate Sales News is here as a resource. Some may agree others may not, but getting out matters of public concern and interest as well presenting the views and concerns of estate liquidators and sellers is what this news magazine is here for.

It is important that all parties understand their responsibilities and obligations.

Preventing stress and tension between sellers and estate liquidators during this process is important.