If you’ve inherited real estate after a relative has passed or has moved into assisted living or a nursing home, then chances are you not only have the house, but also all of the stuff inside of the house to contend with. No doubt the home and many of the possessions inside of it are heavy with memories and emotions. Deciding how to proceed can be difficult.
One common path forward is to hold an estate sale. An estate sale is just as it sounds: a sale of all of the items in the estate (aside, of course, from items that have been willed to or claimed by various family members). This is quite different from a garage sale, which usually consists of various items a person no longer wants from in and around their home and is held outside in a garage or driveway. During an estate sale, the home is usually open to the public, meaning that people will walk through the home and browse the items for sale.
Common items included in an estate sale include furniture, jewelry, clothing, artwork, collections (for example: records, books, beer steins, snow globes), and outdoor items such as lawn mowers and patio furniture.
If you’re interested in holding an estate sale, you must decide if you’d like to hold it yourself or if you’d like to hire a professional estate sale company to hold the sale for you. Major tasks include sorting, presenting, and pricing items as well as promoting the sale.
Holding the sale yourself will be less expensive as you won’t be paying fees to a third party to conduct the sale. However, a reputable estate sale company might be able to fetch more money for an estate’s items than the average person. After all, they specialize in valuing items and will likely have a better idea of not only what your great aunt’s Depression glass collection is worth, but also of how much they can expect to sell it for.
That’s not to say you can’t price your own items. But it takes time and effort, something that might be in short supply when a relative has passed or is in the midst of a major life transition. A lot of research goes into pricing items for sale. If you are trying to assess items of high value like antiques and jewelry featuring precious stones you should consider taking the items to an appraiser. It’s also important to remember that a particular piece of furniture or a painting might hold extra value for you because of memories that are attached and that this might cloud your judgment when pricing items. That is another advantage of hiring a third party.
Advertising the estate sale is something else that an estate sale company will take care of. There are, however, many sites where you can post your sale online like EstateSales.net. Neighborhood Facebook pages are a good place to spread the word, too. There are many people for whom browsing estate sales is a serious hobby so you’ll definitely want to make sure as many people as possible hear about your sale.