You may be a garage sale expert, but it’s a whole new ballgame with an estate sale, because you’re not just selling things you don’t need anymore – you’re selling almost everything in the house. Because of that, an estate sale is an intensive job that requires proper planning if you want it to be successful. By following this guide on how to have an estate sale, you can prepare your sale, run it, and maximize the amount that you sell.
Consider Professional Assistance
There are estate sale managers who will help you set up and run your sale for a portion of the total revenue. The standard rate for an estate sale manager is anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of the sale proceeds. For that amount, the estate sale manager will handle most aspects of the sale, including getting it organized, putting up all the necessary advertising, and running the sale for you.
While the cost of an estate sale manager may seem steep, consider the amount of time that you’ll save. Since an estate sale manager’s pay depends on the success of your sale, he also has ample motivation to make you as much money as possible.
Decide What to Sell
Go through the home to gather inventory for the estate sale. You’ll want to include most items in your inventory, even if it seems like something no one would buy. You can deal with leftover items after the sale, so there’s no reason to start throwing things out now.
Take out any high-value items, such as antiques or anything rare. While an estate sale isn’t the same as a garage sale, customers visit with the same mindset that they’re going to get a bargain-basement type of deal. With valuable items, you’ll make much more money selling them individually, and you won’t need to pay your estate sale manager a cut of that.
Set Your Prices
Your estate sale manager can help you out with this if you hired one, but if not, you’ll need to figure out prices on your own. You can get an idea of what to charge by looking at what thrift stores charge for the type of items you have. Put labels or tags on each item with its price so customers don’t need to ask.
Advertising Your Estate Sale
Start by submitting ads to local newspapers, along with any larger newspapers in the area. You want your ads running for a week or two in advance of the sale, along with during the sale itself. Each ad should include the address, dates, and times of the sale at a minimum. You can also include types of items that are available, if you have the space and it won’t add to the cost.
Many people only look online for sale ads, so make sure that you post your ad online, as well. Craigslist, in particular, is a great option for advertising your estate sale, and it doesn’t cost you anything. You have more space with online ads than you do with newspaper ads, but don’t overdo it. You still want to keep your ad short and to the point.
Finally, the day before the sale starts or the morning of, put up signs around the area advertising the sale. Before you do this, check with the city to make sure that it’s okay to do so, as some areas don’t allow estate sale signs.
Running the Sale
The most common time frames for an estate sale are one full week or two weekends in a row. Your ads should have this information so people know the exact dates. If you don’t have an estate sale manager, you’ll need to handle everything yourself. Considering the size of an estate sale, you should think about having a few people on hand to help out and handle transactions.
It’s also important that you keep accurate records of your sale proceeds, as you may need to claim these on your tax return. With TallySheet, you and anyone else who is helping you can easily track transaction amounts. You can invite people to serve as cashiers, and you’re able to generate real-time reports whenever you need.
On the last day of the sale, you may want to offer a significant discount on the remaining items. This depends on how the sale has been going so far. If you’ve already sold most of your items, it’s not that big of a deal. On the other hand, if you still have quite a bit of inventory left, dropping it 30 to 50 percent could get it out the door and reduce your workload after the sale.