Guidelines for Managing an Estate Sale

When a parent or a close relative dies and you’ve been assigned as the executor of the estate, it can seem like an overwhelming task. One of the main jobs of an estate executor is selling off the belongings of an estate home. If you’re in this situation and wondering what to do, here are some guidelines for managing an estate sale.

An estate sale is more than a simple yard or garage sale. Even though they’re generally done after a family member dies, they can also be used following a divorce, move or bankruptcy. Sometimes, they’re held because people want to downsize and move to a smaller home.  

Determine if You Can Manage the Estate Sale

The first step is deciding if you’re able to do the estate sale yourself, or if you need professional help. If you have the time needed to do the job and the estate is small or less than $5,000, you can probably handle it.

Maybe you’ve tried to find a qualified professional but can’t find one. Another reason for managing it yourself is you’ve had a professional access the value of the estate, and you’re confident that the figure is correct.

On the other hand, it may be better to hire an estate sales specialist. For example, you may be too busy with other commitments and feel you don’t have the time.

Another consideration for hiring  a professional is if you’re dealing with an estate that needs to be extensively organized so that it can be staged correctly. It may contain some extremely expensive items that should be researched by experts in order to be sold for the right prices. You want to make sure that your loved one’s heirlooms aren’t undersold.

Give Family Members a Chance to Grab Mementos

Often, people get their feelings hurt because an estate sales manager fails to let them choose special items that have sentimental values. Let’s face it. There will be certain things that you won’t want to sell as they carry special memories. Therefore, before setting prices, let family members go through the home so that they have the opportunity to sift through and select family heirlooms and other mementos.

Properly Stage the Items

When setting up an estate sale, how you stage the items is extremely important. Your goal should be to attract buyers immediately after they come through the door.

  • Place your most expensive and popular valuables upfront, making sure they’re displayed securely.
  • Visit a thrift store and take notes on how the items are staged and displayed.
  • Use attractive table covers and tables, as well as adequate lighting.

Considerations and Warnings

  • If necessary, make repairs and cosmetic changes to the home as you’ll want your customers to get a positive, initial impression. You may need to have old wallpaper and unattractive window coverings removed.
  • Consider that most estate sale firms take from 20 to 50 percent of the sale profits. What’s more, there are some companies that add on an upfront charge for their services.
  • Price each item carefully. Everything that’s for sale needs to be correctly labeled.
  • If you’re unsure about how an item should be priced, visit websites such as Etsy, eBay and others. You could also call a professional estate appraiser.
  • All sales should be final.
  • Use every way possible to advertise your sale, such as your local newspaper, Craigs List and social media. Besides including the date and hours, list any rules you may have, regarding your sale.
  • It may be difficult to find an estate sale company to manage your sale if you too many items that don’t have a significant amount of value.

Too often, estate executors have to wade through homes containing a huge amount of clutter. That’s why it’s a good idea to let Closetbox warehouse the items. We even provide a custom online dashboard where you can organize and request any items you store.

Find out about a regional market near you. Please contact us so that the task of managing your estate sale is much simpler.

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