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Ins and Outs of Estate Sales

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Dear Phyllis,

I am an avid reader of your column. If you have previously discussed estate sales, forgive the repetition. My uncle passed last month and his house and garage are packed with thirty years of accumulation. I am the oldest nephew and his trustee. Just going through the files and paperwork has been overwhelming. My wife and I don’t have the time or energy for a garage sale. Therefore, we are thinking it may be easier for me to have an estate sale. Although, I have seen lots of signs for them and even gone to a few, I am not sure of the particulars. Can you explain the ins and outs of estate sales?

John Doe

Dear John,

I am sorry for the loss of your Uncle. As the trustee, you have a big task ahead of you. There are many estate sales companies, and just like Realtors®, not all estate salespeople are created equal. I have had the pleasure of working with some great estate salespeople and sadly have worked with some that are simply awful. Please feel free to contact me for a recommendation.

An estate salesperson empties the home of everything – the great, the bad, and the ordinary. Their function is to sort, price and then artfully display the merchandise. When the sale is over, they typically donate and trash what’s remaining, leaving the home in what’s known as “broom clean” condition. An estate sale is simply an upscale garage sale, run by professionals.

Above all, a good estate salesperson is knowledgeable about antiques, collectables, fine art, jewelry, dolls, and vintage clothing. Furthermore, they must be organized and have an artistic flair so that they can best display the home’s contents in an orderly and attractive manner. However, the contents of the typical home and garage will have a majority of everyday household items and to an experienced estate sale person, pricing these should be second nature.

Most estate sales are advertised in print, online and with signs. An experienced company will also have a client list to email regarding upcoming sales. It seems to me this is likely the easiest option for your circumstance. Best of luck with the sale.

Related Post: Liquidating an Estate

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