Organizing Estate Auctions or Sales

Nobody looks forward to estate auctions or sales who isn't an estate liquidator. You have a heap of stuff to go through, and chances are it's going to be difficult on an emotional level. But pulling off an effective estate sale should not be too hard if you remember a few points.

Getting the home ready for the sale is a big stress point. Remember that you want to make the house presentable, but don't go overboard cleaning every nook and cranny. Your customers are going to be looking at merchandise; they aren't worried about cobwebs on the back corner of the closet. Just mow the lawn, dust and vacuum and you should be fine.

When you organize everything you'll be selling, try to keep items visible but in their natural setting rather than trying to make the house look like a retail store. Instead of pulling out all the kitchenware and arranging it on a table, organize your cupboards so everything can be seen, and leave the doors open. Tools are more likely to sell if they are in their "point of use" rather than organized for display. Customers also tend to be more interested in things that they have to dig through, for the thrill of a good buy. Just leave drawers and chests open so they feel welcome.

Pricing is another task people devote too much time to. Rather than putting a label on individual items, label a dollar amount on each shelf and place the items accordingly. Save price tags for your larger or more expensive items. Bric-a-brac can be priced in groups.

Advertising is another key to a successful estate sale. Only mention specific items in the ad if they are more expensive items or key sellers. Other items should be listed in general terms, like "tools" or "collectibles." Don't limit your advertising to larger circulating papers or smaller weekly papers. Try church newsletters or online classifieds. When you take care of your road signs for the sale, professionally lettered signs are going to have more impact than magic markers and cardboard, so don't skimp on them.

If the sale you are planning seems too big a task or if you want to guarantee success, don't hesitate to hire help. An estate liquidator can help in the planning, advertising and execution of your sale. People find that using an estate liquidator is well worth the savings in stress alone. Some will help clean out the house, while others will limit themselves to the actual sale or auctioning of items. Most people don't have more than one sale for each estate, so make sure you take every opportunity to do it right.

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How do you conduct a successful estate sale? Although many factors contribute, you should focus on five aspects: organization, evaluating, pricing, timing and advertising.

An estate sale is more than a big garage sale because of the legal and emotional issues. Is holding an estate sale worth it? For a fast reality check, count the number of pieces of ordinary furniture and multiply by $10. Count the kitchenwares and multiply by $.50 or $1 per piece. Even at those low prices, the sale of an estate full of ordinary things can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars.

After much tiptoeing, beating around the bush and "what if" scenarios by family members, my grandfather boldly stated, "Well, I guess I better sell the house." My spry 85-year-old grandfather had suffered a second mild stroke that had affected his mobility on one side and taken his peripheral vision and therefore his car keys.

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