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Choose the right company for your estate sale

Smart questions to ask when interviewing estate sale companies
Additional Questions:
  1. What security measures do they take both during set up and the sale days?

  2. Are there items you won't dispose of (eg hazardous materials, brick, or tile)?

  3. How do you find buyers for unique items?

  4. Do you have discount days during the sale (eg 50% off on the last day)?

  5. Will I receive a final report with my payment and when will it be available?

On-line or in-home sales

Some companies provide online sales only, others in-home sales and a few will conduct a combination of online and in-home estate sales.
Online companies may photograph and sell the highest-value items on the internet. Some online sellers move those same high-value items to their warehouse/store location.

  1. Are these items sold in my home?

  2. Who will meet the prospective buyers at the home to complete the sale?

  3. Who will empty the rest of the home?

Estate sale companies that conduct the sale on location (in your home) approach liquidation differently.

  1. Will the home be empty at the end of the sale?

  2. When will my home be ready for the next step?

  3. How long will it take to set up and conduct the sale?

Our Advice: Understand your family's goal. Do you need to sell the home quickly or do you have time to liquidate the home one item at a time?


Preparing your home

Most people want to know what they should do to prepare their home before an estate sale company begins its setup. I've walked through homes in every state of organization and cleanliness and still achieved a fabulous sale. So, how far should you go to organize, sort, and clean before a crew enters your home? 


  1. Can someone live in the home while the sale is staged?

  2. Whose job is it to sort, donate, recycle, and dispose of items that are not sellable?

  3. What happens if they find personal documents or sensitive items (driver’s licenses, keys, financial data)?

  4. How will they enter and exit the home while working?

  5. Should you maintain homeowner's insurance and utilities?

  6. Do they carry liability insurance and what does that cover?

Our AdviceLet the estate sale company decide what items have value and which things are best to donate based on their experience. Don’t sort, donate, recycle, or dispose of anything before the company sees the contents of the home.


Gifting Items from the Home

Many families want to give a few sentimental items to friends and family.

  1. Are there enough mid-to-high-end items left to justify a sale?

  2. May we set a minimum price for specific items?

  3. How do they track those items and is it possible to pull them from the sale if no offers meet the minimum? 

Our Advice:

Distribute gifts before the estate sale representative walks through the home. At the very least, have the gift items out of the home before the estate sale company begins setup.


Contracts & Payment

Your payment for the estate liquidation will likely be a percentage of the total sales. The split is based on the quantity and quality of items in the home as well as additional cleaning (imagine dust and mice) and organizing (think packed garages and sheds) required to hold a profitable sale. 


  1. What is my percentage of the net profits? 

  2. What expenses does your company cover to set up and promote the sale?

  3. Who pays if dumpster rental, trash removal, air purifier rental, shed clean-out, and/or other unexpected services are required to empty the home?

  4. What about items in the home that are NOT for sale (ie washer/dryer, built-in microwave, landscape lights)? How do they protect against an accidental sale?

  5. How soon after the sale will I receive payment? In what form will this payment be made?


Our Advice: Only work with estate sale companies that provide an easy-to-understand contract with space to include your interests. You shouldn't be required to provide up-front payment for the services the company provides.


Sales and Profits

How people and companies handle their money can vary greatly, so ask questions about pricing, itemizing, tracking sales, and who is allowed to make purchases and when. Get a good sense of whether the estate sale company keeps a close eye on profits or if they let a lot of sales walk out the door.


  1. Do you itemize all sales (both cash and credit card)?

  2. Is your crew permitted to purchase items, when, and at what cost?

  3. Do you have special arrangements with appraisers, buyers, and/or shop owners? 

  4. What happens to my stuff after the sale? Does someone profit from the contents after the sale is complete?


Our Advice: Eliminate from consideration any company that does not digitally track cash sales or pays their crew with merchandise from your home. ​

Let's Work Together

Call or email now to set up a walk-through of your home. 

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