Common Mistakes to Avoid when Preparing for an Estate Sale:
These little tips will help improve your sale. Since 1991, we been have developing our formula for success, and have found avoiding these simple mistakes really do increase the success of your sale.
Throwing away things
The number one rule for an estate sale is to never throw away anything. This does not mean, however, everything has value or some things are not trash, but it does mean there are many times clients do not know the difference. We are often faced with clients who “kept the good stuff and threw away the trash”, only to find out the stuff they kept is not as saleable as the trash they donated or tossed. Remember, you are hiring a professional company for their knowledge and expertise, and you should take advantage of that and let them throw away the trash for you.
Having a garage sale before the estate sale
Never have a garage sale before the estate sale. Many customers will remember the address and this will reduce your attendance at the estate sale because they think they have already seen all you are selling the first time. Also many cities require up to a year between permits for sales held at the same address.
Telling the neighbors about the sale
It may seem odd, but telling neighbors about the sale isn't always a good thing. Many times, word will spread and you will have neighbors putting on a garage sale next door or down the street. This can confuse shoppers and they may stop at the garage sale thinking it is the estate sale, and then leave and never make it to your sale.
Waiting until the last moment to book a sale
We are often booked one to two months in advance. Waiting until your house sells or calling around last-minute can leave you without anyone to help you with the sale. You could end up having to donate your items instead of being able to make money from them. Or you could be left with an unqualifed and unprofessional company hosting your sale.
Moving everything to a storage unit
Many people a rush to get their house sold and move everything to a storage unit. Unfortunately, you cannot hold a sale out of a storage unit. You are then stuck with paying a storage fee every month, with nowhere to go for your items to be sold. The only other option is to rent a retail store front and pay to have the items moved to the store to have it sold, but this can lead to a very costly bill.
Packing up everything you are selling into boxes
It’s amazing how often we go into a home where the owners have boxed up everything they are selling and moved those boxes into the garage. This ads time and cost to your sale (a cost you will have to pay) and, in some cases, makes your sale not able to be done. Always leave items where they are, if you are selling them, as its easier for you and for us.
Giving away things before the sale
It is easy, after someone dies or you move, to let family members, friends, and neighbors come get things for free, unfortunately, those same people will normally take the most sellable things out of your home, leaving you with a housefull of hard-to-sell items. It is not unusual for 80% of the value of household things to be in only 20% of the items.
Hiring the cheapest company
Not all estate sales companies are the same. Hiring a company that is cheaper and skimps on the advertising or does not do a good job setting up a sale, could lead to an estate sale running dramatically less than hiring a company who does a better job and gets more things sold at a higher price. Always check with a company to know exactly what you are getting for your money, and visit a sale or two of theirs to see how good they are at what they do.
Not researching an estate sale company
In the age of computers, anyone can set up a cheap website and claim they have 20 years experience doing estate sales and you will never know until its too late. Before you hire a company, you should ask them how long they have been in business and ask them for proof. Referrals from friends are also a good way to find a reptuable company. Never rely on references provided by a company, as they will only give you their good referrals,, not from they ones where they had problems. We are happy to refer you to a reputable company if we cannot help you
Not taking professional advice
You did the right move in hiring a professional company to conduct the sale for you, now its time to take their advice. We have the advantage of doing over 1,000 sales in 24 years, and all the experience that comes from this. The way we do things has evolved from successes and mistakes of those years to a very well-organized system that works for almost every sale, every time. Ideas that sound good to you have most likely been tried before, and there is a reason we follow our own sucessful system.
Getting too involved
Once again, our company knows what we are doing, and we regularly do sales for heirs who live out of state. We are able to hold successful sales every week with no additional help from the family. If you try to help or supervise, you will eventually get in the way, slowing us down and actuallly hindering your sale, not helping it. The only way you can help us is to remove anything you are keeping from the home before we start setting up, if you have time you may clean anything you feel needs to be cleaned (this should also be done before we start setting up). After we start setting up your sale, we need you to step aside and let us do what you have hired us to do.
Leaving items in the house that are not being sold
We will need every inch of space in your house to stage the sale. Every item not for sale but left in the house takes space away from items we are selling. Customers always focus on things they cannot buy, and this distracts them from buying what is for sale. Also, taking it home eliminates the chance that an item my be lost or broke during the sale.
Selling things off after you have hired a company
This is a big mistake people often make. When we agree to do your sale, we know there is enough stuff to make a successful sale. If you sell things after we agree to do your sale, and there is not enough left for us to hold a sale, we will have no choice but to cancel your sale, leaving you stranded with a partial house full of things and no way to sell them.