How to Conduct an Estate Sale

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

Estate sales typically consist of the belongings of one home: your own or a family member or friend who has passed away. First, you need to familiarize yourself with the contents of the home. Start with disposing of items that will not sell, such as paperwork, food staples and personal mementos like photographs.

If space allows, organize the contents by room. All dishes, cookware and glassware should be located in the kitchen and dining area. Furniture should be displayed in the room for which it is used. Display clothing in closets only. Reserve a bedroom for holiday decoration and seasonal items you might find in the garage, attic or shed.

Evaluating the worth of items is the trickiest step, particularly if you have antique furniture, dishes or collectibles. It may benefit you to hire an appraiser for potentially valuable items. In the event you wish to do it yourself, catalogs for specific antiques are available at bookstores, libraries or on-line. Use these resources to determine the potential value of antique items.

Pricing items to be sold can be difficult. Your goal is to empty the contents of the house, but also to make some money. Keep in mind that an antique is only worth its value if someone is willing to pay for it. The same can be said for everyday items. You will need to be flexible on price.

All the planning and preparation in the world won't do you a bit of good if you hold your estate sale in the middle of winter, too close to holidays or while other events that attract a large number of people are going on. Timing is everything when planning an estate sale. A time of year when the weather is warm and dry will attract more people.

Advertising your estate sale is a key component. Place advertisements in the local newspaper, smaller surrounding town papers and any neighborhood newsletters. Online advertisements also draw shoppers. Posting fliers in local storefronts, bulletin boards at churches and teacher lounges at area schools will help you in increasing traffic as well.

Organizing, evaluating, pricing, determining the day of the sale and advertising can be a time-consuming affair. If you feel you are not up to the task, or if your lack of knowledge is leaving you feeling less than confident about the success of your estate sale, consider using an estate liquidator. These individuals or companies are well versed in all aspects of estate sales, but be prepared to part with 15 to 30 percent of your profits.

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Estate taxes are varied and complex, but they typically affect only 2% of Americans with high estate values. If you think your estate is valuable enough to be subject to estate taxes, you may want to learn more about the rules and consult with an estate tax attorney to help you maximize your estate.

Estate sale companies can be extremely helpful if you find yourself in need of holding such a sale. Estate sales can be a fun hobby, a serious business, a home-based business or a part-time sideline for those looking to invest in low-cost estate sale lots for potential turnover.

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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.

Having had several deaths in the famiy I have had to empty three households in the past year and will l be emptying a fourth in the near future. The last one is just because I'll be selling the house I've lived in for the last 35 years.

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