An estate sale can include the process of hiring a professional to come into your home and assess the value of items for sale. The services typically include sorting, cleaning, organizing, researching, pricing and marketing your collection and furnishings. At the end of the sale they should haul off or remove any items not sold and clean the area.

When your home, or family’s home, has enough items to sell that would fit in a small apartment or small home then you should consider an estate sale. This ensures you have enough items to bring in a healthy number of customers. If you have a lot of items but are lower in value, you may want to consider a garage sale. Or, if you only have a few items you might even want to consider consignment or online eBay store.

You should interview a variety of companies – make sure you can trust them, they will be invited into your family’s home and have access to your personal belongings. You’ll know when you connect with the right company. Be sure to check for licenses and references.  Efficiency is important but also make sure they show respect for your belongings and have a mission of finding a good home for your possessions.

Plan for at least 2 weeks from start to end. It could be shorter or even slightly longer depending on your estate sale needs.

This is a big mistake by many homeowners where they believe an item has little to no value and they dispose of it before an estate sales professional has the opportunity to review and provide valuation. Allow the estate sales company to do their job, and do yourself a favor and don’t throw anything out until after a consultation and walkthrough.

Estate sale companies typically charge based on a commission of sales. There should not be any upfront or hidden fees. If during the process you decide to back out of the sale for any reason, then it’s appropriate for the estate sale professional to charge a fee for any hours spent prepping for the sale.

In most cases, you won’t be expected to do anything. It’s nice if you provide a phone number so you can be contacted with questions from time to time, especially in regards to sensitive items found during the evaluation process to ensure you’re OK with selling.

At the end of the sale, expect to get an easy to read report with a list of items and what they sell for. This list will provide total sales and a clear calculation of the commission fees.