9 Tips - How to Have a Great Estate Sale

February 19, 2016

When people think of estate sales, they often think of deceased homeowners and adult children who need to clear out the family home. The truth is, estate sales are often used by people who are alive and well. A downsizing retiree may choose an estate sale to clean out the clutter before moving to a new and smaller domicile or a relocating worker may prefer the speed and efficiency of an estate sale when moving to a new city.

No matter why you are considering an estate sale, you want to get the most for your items. Whether your home is filled with valuable antique furniture or normal household goods, the preparation you do now can boost your proceeds later. These tips can get you started.

  1. Contact several different auction houses

    and get information on commissions and selling strategy. A representative from the auction company will visit your home, examine the merchandise and provide further information.
  2. Compare the various auction vendors

    and how much they charge. Any commission the auction company charges will be deducted from the proceeds of the sale.
  3. Make a list of your items for sale

    , including furniture, antiques and appliances. Having the list available will make it easier for the auction house to estimate the total value of the home's contents.
  4. Check out the advertising strategy

    of the auction house and look at their current auctions. Are the sales well advertised and well attended? Are there lots of buyers or just a few? Attendance is everything when it comes to estate sales and
  5. Get appraisals and letters or authenticity for antiques

    , collectibles and other valuable items. A professional appraisal will give would-be buyers extra confidence when bidding.
  6. Do your own advertising

    by posting the upcoming sale on Craigslist and other local venues. The more interest you generate the more successful you can be.
  7. Be around early the day of the auction

    and be ready to answer questions. Buyers will want additional information about the items in the house, and you are the best person to answer those queries.
  8. Talk to the auctioneer

    and auction staff before the sale begins. Point out any particularly valuable items and provide as much information as you can on the rest of the goods.
  9. Let the auction staff know if you need to set a reserve price

    on any of the items. A reserve price protects you if the item does not bring a set minimum price.


Selling a house full of accumulated furniture, appliances and electronics is always a hassle, but holding an estate sale is the easiest way to clear it all out and turn it into cash. The above tips can help you squeeze more money out of the unwanted items in your home.