At some point in your life, you may be called upon to hold an estate sale after a relative dies or goes into a nursing home.
Deciding how to sell or dispose of can be daunting. US News & World Report’s recent article entitled “Estate Sales for Beginners” gives you everything you need to know about how to hold a successful estate sale.
There’s no rule that says you have to do an estate sale. However, it can be a long process. Keep these things in mind.
Allow Time to Prepare. Estate sales are more complicated than a simple one-day yard sale, if you want to do it correctly and realize a profit. It can be emotionally stressful and challenging time, so ask for help and support from friends, family and professionals. Give family members a chance to "shop,” and decide how you want to do this. It can be done by lottery for certain items that several family members want, or you can sell some of the belongings cheaply to family members. After your family goes through everything, you might see that it’s not worth the time and effort to have a sale. Maybe you just keep some things, donate some and haul the rest away.
Decide if You Want to Hire a Professional. You can hire an estate sale service. They’ll take a commission, such as 30% to 45% of the sale’s gross profits, but you may find the cost is worth it. The service will handle most of the logistics.
Consider Selling Some Stuff Yourself. If there are a few big expensive items, you may want to sell it while the estate service provider or auction house handles everything else. This allows you to have the ability to negotiate, if the potential buyer wants to negotiate, instead of letting an estate sale company do it; and second, you don't then have to pay the estate sale company's commission on that item.
Make the Event as Professional as Possible. If you do it yourself, you need to advertise the event and mention some of the items people will find at the sale, like antiques or sterling silver. You can have some music playing softly in the background to brighten the mood and make people want to linger longer, so they keep looking and buying. People like to negotiate, so you don’t get too set with your prices. Have a policy that the more someone buys, the larger the discount.
Most estate sales last one to two days.
Reference: US News & World Report (Dec. 22, 2021) “Estate Sales for Beginners”
Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Estate Sale
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