Everything You Need to Know About Estate Sales or Downsizing
At some point in life, almost everyone finds themselves needing to move households, downsize their life, or sell their home (or the home of a loved one). When this time comes, one of the most common mistakes people make is to either throw everything away OR to have a good old fashioned yard sale—which usually takes a lot of time and leaves too many unsold items that someone has to haul away. One of the best ways to avoid this dilemma is to hire a professional estate sale company to handle the many facets of organizing and maximizing the sale of any unneeded or unwanted possessions.
Although most estate sale companies are fairly reputable, A Premiere Estate Sale is considered by most shoppers and sellers in the Verde Valley to be the best overall choice for an estate sale company. We collectively have the most experience and the largest mailing list, as well as having the greatest social media exposure.
What Is an Estate Sale?
Simply stated, an estate sale is like a garage sale, but on a much grander scale. In a garage sale (or yard sale), the owner tends to throw a handful of random items together for people to pick through—all the while dealing with the shoppers trying to “talk them down” on their prices. But don’t be fooled by those who simply have a yard sale and call it an estate sale. It’s NOT an estate sale unless everything in the estate is for sale. In an estate sale, most (or all) of the contents of the house is for sale and the prices are set, and are determined by loads of experience on what they are worth and what people will pay for them. An estate sale is an organized and systematic means of cleaning out a house (or storage unit) of every single item that is not selected to be kept by the homeowner. It’s also a wonderful, effective, and efficient means of downsizing, liquidating, or converting old possessions into cash in a prompt, yet sensitive way.
Finding the Right Estate Sale Company
When considering having an estate sale, the first thing to do is select a company based on the following:
- They should have a reputation of integrity, experience, and a willingness to serve you.
- They should have a quality rating that fits your merchandise.
- They should be able to meet your preferred time frames.
- They should be an organized, efficient, well-run company.
- They should “feel right” for your particular style and needs
Although most estate sale companies are similar, in that they will announce the sale to their mailing list, set up shop, and collect the standard 40% commission on the sales, it’s important to understand that not all estate sale companies go above and beyond the standard practices, adding such things as:
- Knowing the fair value of the items being sold—which comes from experience, as well as consulting with the appropriate experts.
- Properly staging the house and the items being sold—which is not only done initially, but needs to be adjusted constantly throughout the sale.
- Having a large mailing list and demonstrating a willingness to do a lot of extra advertising—passing the word to all the right people in every possible way.
- Keeping everything clear and simple—which is essential not only for a successful sale but also for peace of mind.
Besides choosing an estate sale company based on integrity and experience, some people find it helpful to also review the “rating” of an estate sale company (using a 5-star rating system), as well as rating their possessions to see if the two match. For example, if your possessions would rate 4-stars in quality, you probably should not use a 2-star company to represent you. Most estate sale shoppers agree that out of the half-dozen existing estate sale companies in the Verde Valley, there are a couple that rate 2-stars, a couple others that rate 3-stars, and only a couple (including A Premiere Estate Sale) that rate 4 or 5-stars.
The average estate sale company will take 4-5 weeks to organize a sale, as well as 5-10 days to stage the house and price the items. A Premiere Estate Sale usually organizes our sales in 2-3 weeks and sets up the location in 3-4 days—not because we rush but because of our vast experience, well-qualified team, amazing procedures and systems in place, and special methods of putting sales together.
Organized, Efficient, and Effective
Homeowner and shoppers can usually rely on most reputable estate sale companies to do a decent job. They are usually fairly well organized and are adept at pricing things (although some choose to price things a bit too high to sell). A Premiere Estate Sale, however, can also assess very quickly how many days the sale will take to set up, what to charge for items, how many days it will take to sell the majority of the items, what to do to make the event as fluid and prosperous as possible, and what to do with all remaining items—leaving no burden on the homeowner.
The Importance of Having the Right Feeling and Atmosphere
Most estate sales have a very hectic atmosphere—where it’s “every man for himself.” But at A Premiere Estate Sale we go out of our way to create a fun and inviting atmosphere for shoppers, and also ensure that items are priced and displayed in the best way to sell quickly. From the time we meet with clients to the time we hand them their check, we create a feeling of ease and simplicity surrounding the entire estate experience and everyone is left with a maximum amount of satisfaction.
The Next Steps
Once you have chosen the date for your sale, A Premiere Estate Sale will take care of the basic advertising and invite the shoppers. We will then stage the house and prepare it for the sale, which will last 2-3 days (depending on the quantity of items to be sold). On the final day of the sale, the price of the items will usually be reduced by 50% (with exception to items noted with a minimum by the homeowner). This ensures that the maximum number of items are sold, profit is maximized, and the house is cleared out by the end of the sale.
After the Sale
Once your estate sale comes to an end, you will feel a great sense of relief as you start a new phase of life. The homeowner (or their representative) will be paid their percentage within 1-2 weeks of the final day of the sale and the estate sale shoppers will have purchased items that may bring them happiness for years to come. A Premiere Estate Sale refers to this as a “win-win” scenario for everyone—which is our ultimate goal!