Why Estate Sales? Eight Great Reasons to Hold an Estate Sale

Estate Sale Today!

Let’s just start of by saying that we love estate sales.  (Okay, I admit we’re a little biased here at Exceptional Estate Sales.)  Admittedly, they’re not for everyone, but here are eight reasons you might want to consider holding an estate sale in the future.

1. No worries!

Whether you’re moving, downsizing or settling the estate of a loved one, odds are you have enough on your plate already without trying to figure out how to dispose of each individual item in your house.  By hiring an estate sale company to run a sale for you, you can eliminate that worry.  Sit back and let someone with expertise in the area unpack, organize, stage, identify, price, market and sell your items for you!

2. Time is NOT on your side…

Sometimes time is a huge factor.  Maybe your home sold more quickly than expected or you’re being pressured by heirs to sell the contents of an estate quickly or you need to clean out before putting your house on the market, but you start work in another state next month.  Whatever the reason, we generally require only 2 weeks to 30 days lead time to plan your sale and most of our estate sales are one day, occasionally two.  At the end of that, the majority of your items will have been taken care of and you’ll usually receive a check within 2 weeks of the sale.  Contrast that with auction houses and consignment stores, which often take several months to sell items.

3. Convenience.

Logistically speaking, estate sales are the most convenient way to sell your items.  Because the sale is run on site, out of your home, nothing needs to be moved or packed.  You won’t need to rent a truck or hire movers, buy boxes and bubble wrap or contact multiple vendors to see if they’ll take your items.  And if something doesn’t sell, you won’t have to go back to pick it up.

4. We sell the big items AND all the little things…

With a very few exceptions (like firearms or alcohol in Massachusetts) estate sale companies sell everything.  This means that not only will we sell your furniture, art, antiques, jewelry and electronics, we’ll sell your exercise equipment, paper goods, books, clothing and pots and pans.  We’ll even sell your car or (if the house is a tear down) your kitchen sink! Auction houses and consignment stores will only take specific items  and even donation centers will limit the type of items they accept, which leaves you stuck with a bunch of items that may end up in a dumpster (with added expense to you), rather than with someone who needs and wants them.

5. Hire a pro for less.

Estate sale companies generally charge a commission in the 25-40% range.  (Our rate averages 30%.)  Consignment stores usually take a higher 50% commission and will lower the price of your item over time if it doesn’t sell.  Auction houses take a lower commission – generally 10-20% – from the seller, but also charge a percentage to the buyer, meaning they have to take into account the added amount of money they will pay the auction house when deciding what to bid.

6. House not sold yet? Clean it out and generate interest!

If your house hasn’t sold yet, an estate sale can act as a de facto open house.  Most of our sales draw a crowd of several hundred people over the course of the day and we’re frequently asked at sales if a house is still on the market.  If it is, home owners and real estate agents can choose to leave a card or brochure for potential buyers to pick up as they look around the home.

7.  Don’t break your back.

At Exceptional Estate Sales we always have at least two movers on site for each sale.  That means that when the armoire in the upstairs bedroom or the giant sectional sofa in your basement rec room sells, there is someone on hand to get it out of your house without banging into walls or scratching the floors and you don’t need to lift a finger.  Isn’t that better than wrestling it out on your own or paying a professional mover to do it for you?

8. It’s fun!

We love what we do and we hope that our clients do to! It can be an eye opener to see your home rearranged and staged and it’s interesting to learn about newly discovered treasures and hidden heirlooms.  Sometimes an old friend you’d completely forgotten about reemerges from a box in the attic or basement.  On the day of the sale, you’re free to take the day off and homeowners often go out to eat, shop, visit friends or arrange a special outing for the day.  Regardless, our goal is for you to enjoy the estate sale process as much as we do!

Want to share an estate sale experience of your own?  Please feel free to leave a comment below!

7 Things NOT to Throw Out Before Your Estate Sale

I’ve often heard estate sale clients say they need to sort things and throw stuff out before an estate sale, after which I always ask them not to throw anything away.  Just because it has limited value to you, doesn’t mean someone else can’t find a use for it.  The old adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has never been more true.  Plus, even with items of lower value, why should you go through the headache of packing them up or the expense of hiring a dumpster or clean out company, when you’re already holding an estate sale and someone may pay you for that item you can no longer use.  You can always throw it out later.

So without further ado, here are seven common items – in no particular order – that you should never throw out before an estate sale.

1. Books

Personally, I never like to see books thrown out.  Period.  There is always a school, library, crafter or used book store who will take them, even if they don’t go home with someone during your estate sale.  That said, books are very popular at estate sales.  I’ve seen avid readers buy bags and boxes of books and once had a crafter buy over a hundred books at once to build a secret door disguised as a bookshelf.  Even at $1 a piece, books can add up quickly and add a nice bit of extra profit to your sale.

2. Clothes and Shoes

Surely you weren’t thinking about throwing away name brand and designer clothes, those adorable heels, your grown daughter’s prom dress, the neck ties you’re no longer required to wear for work or last year’s winter coat!  These are some of the clothing items that sell at every estate sale.

3. That Sofa

You know the sofa I mean.  It’s in your basement rec room or maybe the upstairs room your teenagers used to hang out in and play video games.  The upholstery has that outdated pastel pink and gray geometric pattern from the 80’s or maybe a hunter green plaid that’s pilled at the edges.  It’s faded, it sags, someone spilled coffee on it and the cat has been scratching the arms.

Nonetheless, to a broke college student or first time apartment renter, this may be their chance to get a comfy piece of – otherwise very expensive – furniture.  All it needs is a slip cover, and it’ll be perfect.  Again, you’re not going to get a lot of money for that couch, but isn’t it better than paying someone to haul it away or throwing out your back wrestling it out of the basement?

4. Old Appliances and Outdated Electronics

There are several reasons customers buy these items.  For starters, the price is right.  If you can have a 10 year old DVD player that works fine for a quarter of the price of a new one, why wouldn’t you?  Also someone may have had an older model of something, liked it, and now want to replace it.  Even items that don’t work, as long as they are marked as “not working” can sometimes be sold to DIY-ers for parts.

5. Costume Jewelry

Maybe it’s not made of gold, and maybe it has crystals instead of diamonds, but that doesn’t mean your costume jewelry is worthless.  Attractive jewelry pieces are always in demand.  Plus as an added bonus, your estate sale organizer will probably go through the jewelry to double check that no precious metals end up under priced.

6. Cleaning Products (Yes, even the open ones!)

It may seem hard to believe, but someone will probably buy your half empty (or half full!) bottle of laundry detergent, glass cleaner or even weed killer.  Considering a full bottle of these products is $5 and up, paying $1 for that half a bottle is actually a really good deal for estate sale customers.  Plus you are not paying to dispose of hazardous chemical and those chemicals are not going into a landfill or the environment.

7. Music and Movies

While you may be streaming your movies and music, listening to iPods and watching TV and podcasts on phones and tablets, there are still plenty of people out there watching DVD’s and blurays and listening to CD’s.  We recently sold an entire box of VHS tapes to an older gentleman who is still using his VCR.  Records have become collectibles, and even audio cassettes sell on occasion.  The demise of physical formats has been exaggerated – plenty of people are still buying their movies and music this way and we sell them at almost every sale.

Is there something you were surprised to sell at a sale?  Something you’re thinking about throwing out and want a second opinion?  Let us know in the comments!