Estate sales have a reputation. They aren’t exactly known for being fun, cool places to be on a Saturday morning. In fact, they’re sometimes considered to be havens for geriatric junk that the owner’s family has picked over and left behind. Given this public perception, it is up to you to advertise and organize an estate sale in a way that presents the items you’re selling as valuable and interesting. Thankfully, survival is possible. The following will help yield a higher potential for not only selling more items and netting increased profits, but also saving your sanity as well.
Consider Hiring Reputable Professionals
First, it’s important to understand that an estate sale is not a garage sale. Potential buyers are going to come into the home of you or your parents or grandparents – people you loved. They will touch and assess and pick through personal belongings. These belongings and this house are likely a home to many of your memories, making an estate sale an emotional experience. Adding this stress to the top of the proverbial burden that goes with organizing, cleaning, and hosting may prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Getting outside help may be a lifesaver. An estate sale professional can offer pricing advice and evaluation. This would be easier than doing your own research or, worse, just guessing and either shorting yourself profit or asking so much over that no one will bid. They can also stage a property and even offer to handle all the selling and set-up.
Keep in mind that these services are not free. Estate sale professionals usually take a percentage of your total sales, which can range from 30% to 55%. It may sound like a hefty amount, but if it leads you to making more money, getting rid of unwanted items, and pulling out your own hair, it’s worth it.
Complete a detailed inventory of items you need to sell and identify any collectibles. These can include guns, antique dishes and silverware, stamps, old toys, coins – basically anything you or your loved one has amassed in large quantities over the years. There’s a good chance that if your grandma collected it, someone else’s grandma needs to add it to their own collection. If you personally do not know anything about the articles themselves or the history behind them, some light internet querying may be needed in order to group items together and at least have a pricing strategy.
Also, don’t drag out the dumpster just yet. Some things that look like junk to you may actually be, well, still junk, but somewhat valuable junk that can be salvaged by someone who wants it. A good example of this is classic car parts. Or ratty comic books. Or oddly-shaped vases, milk glass or coin collections your grandma hoarded. Some of these things really are junk, but occasionally there is a diamond in the rough. Professionals like Harlan J. Berk, LTD are able to identify such gems, or at least refer someone who can properly appraise them should you want the assistance. You don’t want to accidentally donate a high value item. What may look like junk to you may be worth a big pile of cash.
This can’t be overstated. An advertisement doesn’t necessarily need to be lengthy and pricey, but it absolutely needs to concisely convey what you’re offering. Many newspapers have sections designated for estate sales. Facebook is also a viable option, as is the website of your estate sale company. People also go the old-fashioned route and put up fliers in public places that allow postings, like local shops and restaurants. Post in local yard sale groups. Estate sales can be like a super bowl for yard sale enthusiasts. You may even think about targeting people on FB that are in restoration and yard sale groups.
If some of your items speak directly to collectors or professionals, you may advertise to them directly. For example, many towns have stamp or coin collecting clubs. Posting a quick note and the link to your estate sale ad to their Facebook page or as a comment on their website may net you more clients.
Do not forget to include an overabundance of photos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how many are needed to net a tidy profit. Make sure that items are clearly visible and displayed in a way that makes them look aesthetic. No dust bunnies or piles of junk. Take time to stage the items to make them look cared for and in good shape.
Having an estate sale doesn’t have to be arduous. Apply some of these practices to help things run smoothly once your big day arrives. Allow plenty of time to clean and prepare, and don’t stress. The most important thing to remember is to take a deep breath and relax. Your wallet and your sanity will thank you.