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Estate Sale Advice

June 17, 2019

So you have decided to downsize or there has been a death of a loved one and you are not sure what to do with all the STUFF. Well this blog can hopefully help with this seemingly overwhelming dilemma.

There are several options for clearing out a home. An Estate (Tag) Sale, Auction or Buy Out. The following will detail each option and then we will follow up with tips for choosing the best company for you.

Estate Sale:

An estate sale is held at the home open to the public. Run by professionals who come in the home to sort stage and price items for sale.


An auction can be conducted two ways. The company can haul everything to another location and conduct a live auction open to the public or an online auction can be posted from the home where winning bidders from the online listings come to the home and pick up what they have won.

Buy Out:

A flat amount is offered for the contents of the home and if accepted the company clears out everything purchased.

Choosing the best fit is based on the time frame of the sale and the amount of items available.

Tips for choosing a company for any of these options:

First Do Not Wait till the last minute. The majority of reputable companies book up months in advance. This is not to say a reputable company can’t be found but it is in your best interest to plan way far ahead. It is also preferable to have the sale before the home is put on the market. In today’s market unless the home is worth a sizable amount it is not necessary for it to be staged for home shoppers. If your realtor insists then arrange for a staging company after the home is cleared out.

The best place to start the hunt for a professional is asking friends for referrals. Sometimes friend’s experience is your best bet. Your other option are websites that advertise sales. WARNING none of these sites vet companies, any Tom Dick or Linda can advertise on these sites. We advise talking to at least three companies to start with. Visit a current sale of each and peruse previous sales they have advertised.

Keep in mind that not all companies are looking for the same sort of sale. Some companies prefer more contemporary inventory while others are interested in an estate filled with vintage. Some companies prefer a clean quick prep and others like to get down and dirty.

Before making appointments make a list of sentimental items, do a cursory search preferably without trashing the home, be sure to remove items the family intends to keep or at least mark large items with a post it and group together smalls or box them up. It is best to have already gone through the home contents before meeting with the professionals. Most professionals will encourage you not to throw anything away. No matter how insignificant you will be surprised what people will buy. Dumpsters and Donations are for after the sale.

Okay, you have chosen three companies for consideration. Before you make your decision please go over our checklist.

Interview Checklist

Do they have a website and is it current?

Do they have a social media presence and is it utilized daily?

How and where do they advertise?

Do they have an email list?

How many sales do they average per month?

How long have they been in business?

How many employees will have access to the home?

Do they provide an accounting of the items sold and what was the sale price?

Do they provide a cleanout service after the sale?

Do they prefer vintage or contemporary sales?

Has the company operated under another name in the past?

When are the sale funds available?

Questions Professionals Will Have For You

Square footage of the home?

How long was the home occupied?

Any special interest items? ex: hobbies, collections, etc.

Is the homeowners insurance current?

Are you the POA or Executor of the estate?

Does anyone currently occupy the home?

Are the utilities on and operational?

Is there a security alarm?

Has the home been occupied by smokers or pets?

Is the home subject to HOA restrictions?

Has there been any type of sale from the home in the last year?

Is there any pending litigation against the estate?

Is the home scheduled for demo?

If you have any questions please feel free to message us

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