An Introduction to Estate Sales:
Happy April Folks!
This month our
Smarter Senior Seminar Series
Top Ten Tips
are all about
WHAT IS AN ESTATE SALE?
An estate sale is essentially a large sale of someone’s personal possessions — similar to a garage sale but on a much larger scale. Estate sales include a much higher volume of sale items and can feature high-ticket items, whereas garage or yard sales are usually just reserved for offloading a handful of second-hand bargain items.
WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE ESTATE SALES?
People often hold estate sales after the death of a loved one as a way to liquidate their personal assets. However, folks also turn to estate sales as a way to declutter before a move, make extra money, or help elderly parents relocate. Believe it or not, estate sales are on the rise, even during a pandemic, as more people are switching up their living situations, relocating to another city, downsizing, or, sadly, dealing with the loss of loved ones.
Top Ten Tips for a Successful Estate Sale
1. TAKE INVENTORY OF THE ITEMS YOU WANT TO SELL
First things first, you’ve got to decide what you want to keep, sell, or simply get rid of. If you’re holding an estate sale after a death, you’re likely looking to liquidate as many of the assets as possible.
2. PRICE ITEMS STRATEGICALLY
This is probably the trickiest part of holding an estate sale, especially if you’re selling items that belonged to someone else. While rare items and antiques have a somewhat consistent price, many items will vary in price depending on where the estate sale is being held. Something that fetches a high price in New England may be relative junk in Florida — and vice versa.
3. GET PROFESSIONAL APPRAISALS FOR ITEMS OF VALUE
We strongly recommend getting a professional appraisal of everything you’re hoping to sell in your estate sale. Professional appraisers will make sure you don’t underprice — or overprice — your items. Plus, they’ll know what certain items are worth in your specific area and help determine if things like collector’s items and jewelry are the real deal.
Smarter Senior Seminars and YourFloridaHaven has relationships with great people in the Senior Care industry. Join our Zoom this month to learn more!
4. DECIDE IF ANYTHING IS WORTH A QUICK FIX
You’d be surprised what a smidge of TLC can do for an item’s appeal. A simple shine, lick of paint, quick wash, or easy mend can turn an item destined for the trash into something worth selling.
5. CONSIDER TEMPORARY STORAGE
Estate sales seldom happen overnight. Choosing a temporary storage option can help relieve time pressure and free up space during the process. You can use a self-storage unit to safely store items while you’re planning your sale. Even better? Have a PODS storage containerdelivered to you, so can store your items at home or on site where the estate sale is taking place.
6. HOLD YOUR ESTATE SALE ON A WEEKEND DAY
For the heaviest amount of traffic and the most prospective buyers, host your estate sale on the weekend. Keep in mind that hosting your estate sale over a holiday weekend can be a toss up since many people travel out of town. Never hold an estate sale on Christmas or Thanksgiving, even if it falls on a weekend.
7. ADVERTISE YOUR ESTATE SALE AND INCLUDE PICTURES OF YOUR BEST ITEMS
Advertising is key to getting buyers to your estate sale. There’s always a chance that a handful of people will walk or drive by, but the serious buyers scour for the best sales by looking online, on social media, on Craigslist, and in newspapers. Be sure to take pictures of your most appealing items, showcase a range of what types of things people will find at your sale, highlight rare items and bargain bins, and triple-check that the date, hours, and address are correct.
8. SET UP YOUR SELLING AREA TO MAXIMIZE SALES
Presentation and flow can be big factors in the success of your estate sale. Be sure to lay everything out in an obvious manner, clearly mark prices, spread your items out to keep the flow going, and avoid any layouts that can cause traffic jams. Make it easy for you to keep an eye on valuable items like jewelry, antiques, or collector’s items. If you’re hosting the sale in your current home, be sure to clearly mark any items that are not for sale. If you rent a portable container, you can hide away items you want to keep — or even use it for additional display space, since it sits right at ground level. It provides shade and protection from the elements, and if you don’t sell everything on the first day, it will be easy to hold another sale without having to lug everything back inside and then out again.
9. DECIDE IF YOU’RE GOING TO DONATE, DISCARD, AUCTION, OR KEEP ANY ITEMS THAT DON’T SELL
In a perfect world, all your items would sell, but that’s rarely the case. But fear not, there are some next steps you can take for unsold items. If you’re really looking to make money, you can arrange to put the items up for auction, or possibly receive a tax credit by donating them to charity. Otherwise, decide if it’s something you might want to keep or would rather just throw away.
10. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH ESTATE SALE TAX LAWS
One of the major ways that estate sales differ from garage sales is that you’re likely to make a lot more money. This also means that it’s imperative to know and understand the tax laws surrounding estate sales as you’ll likely owe taxes from the event. In states like Delaware, Alaska, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Montana, you’ll be exempt from tax of any kind from your estate sale, but this is not the case in other states.