What is an estate sale

What is an estate sale

An estate sale is a type of sale where the belongings of a household are sold off. This typically happens because home owners find themselves in exasperating circumstances such as chronic illness, death in the family, divorce, bankruptcy, or simply downsizing. You can either preform the estate sale yourself or have it managed by professionals who specialize in organizing and conducting these events. Buyers typically go to estate sales in search of discounted items, antiques, or collectables. The guidelines of the estate sale will depend on the circumstances revolving around the estate sale. Some estate sales include some legal contingencies and attorneys and others can be done on your own.

Estate sale vs Estate Auction

An action involves selling each item individually. People gather around and items are auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder. During an estate sale buyers tend to show up as early as they can. You can buy as many items as you want at the same time. They are typically sold based on whoever shows up first.

Estate sale vs garage sale

An estate sale and a garage sale may sound similar but there are some key differences. During an garage sale, sellers are typically gathering all the items in their house that they no longer find useful. They then price items based on what they consider to be fair. This is a why to declutter your home while making a few extra bucks. During estate sale sellers are selling everything in the home. Its usually because of spontaneous and unexpected life evens rather than just needing to declutter your home. Items are typically priced based on their market value.

Benefits of Estate Sales:


Estate sales provide an efficient way to liquidate a large volume of items within a short timeframe.

Maximized Returns

Professional pricing and promotion can lead to higher returns compared to individual sales.

Community Engagement

Estate sales often attract collectors, antique enthusiasts, and bargain hunters, fostering community engagement and interest.

How to do an estate auction yourself


Estate sales require thorough preparation to ensure a smooth and successful event. This stage involves:


Assessing the contents of the home to determine which items will be included in the sale. Valuable antiques, furniture, artwork, collectibles, household items, and even vehicles may be considered. If you plan on doing an estate auction yourself, you’ll need to do a little research before you start so you don’t find yourself in hot water afterward.

First off you can start by looking to see what your states laws regarding sales tax and other taxes that may occur after the sale. You’ll also need to see if you need any permits or license before proceeding.


After that is out of the way you’ll want to develop a marketing strategy. Determine how you are going to promote your estate auction. A few avenues you could go down for promoting your estate sale are Facebook ads, craigslist ads, newspaper ads, bandit signs, or word of mouth just to name a few. You’ll also want to compile a list of the items and determine their market value.


Sorting and categorizing items for sale. Items are often grouped by type or room (e.g., kitchenware, bedroom furniture, garden tools).


Setting prices for each item based on its condition, age, rarity, and market value. Professional estate sale organizers or appraisers may assist in pricing valuable items. It is important to have appropriate pricing for your items because you want to sell everything in the home buyers are likely less willing to buy inappropriately priced items.


Ensuring the security of both the items for sale and the property itself. Some estate sale companies provide security measures to prevent theft.


The estate sale typically takes place over a designated period, often a weekend. After you have your strategies, your list, and your pricings for each item you have to execute your plan and prepare for the buyers to arrive.

Sale Management

During your estate sale you want to make sure that you are friendly and courteous to your guests. Your goal is to make sure that everything in the house goes.


Buyers may negotiate prices, especially on larger items or towards the end of the sale period. If you find that items are not selling you could try discounting them as the sale goes on. Its better to be paid something for letting go of your prized possessions than being left with absolutely nothing.

Final Settlement

Distributing proceeds from the estate sale according to the estate plan or legal requirements.

Remaining Items

Determining what to do with unsold items. Options include donating them to charity, arranging for bulk sale to liquidators, or in some cases, returning them to the estate. Its highly likely that you will not sell all the items you have so you have to plan on what you’re going to do with the items that don’t sell. You could donate them to charity or attempt to sell them using other avenues such as online marketing or finding a store that buys the kinds of times that you have left over. You could also return them to the estate. If all of those things fail then you’ll likely be throwing all your wonderful items into the nearest garbage bin. This won’t feel great but hopefully some of your items sold.


Provide an itemized list of sales and proceeds to the estate or beneficiaries. After everything is said and don’t forget to abide by your tax laws. The last thing you want is to get into trouble with the law after being forced to do an estate sale.

Estate sale companies

Estate sale companies do all of the heavy lifting for you. They will typically charge you a flat fee or 25-50% of the estate sale. Items get appraised by professional appraisers and all the marketing and negotiations are done for you. This is a great option to chose if tensions are high during the estate sale. You can just sit back and relax while all the work is done for you. If there are items that you don’t want to be included in the sale you can simply add them to the contract. This is especially good practice if items have beneficiaries. If you forget those than you could run into some legal ramifications. 


Clearing out the property and preparing it for the next phase, whether it’s being sold, rented, or undergoing renovation.

Estate sales are used to sell everything in the home. They are typically cased due to unusual circumstances such as bankruptcy chronic illness, death, divorce, or downsizing. They are not the same as estate auctions are garage sales although they do share some similarities to both of them. They can either be preformed on your own or using an estate sale company. Estate sales can be extremely stressful for everyone involved but if you take the right avenues for your specific situation than you can make it though with a little less emotional damage and if you were just wondering what an estate sale was then now you know.

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