Estate Sale Process

Estate Sale Process

Is it time for an estate sale?
The whole idea can be rather overwhelming.  We understand what you are  going through and will do our best to make the process as easy as  possible for you from start to finish.

1st Step... Free consultation. During this meeting we:
 - Discuss your needs and timeline
 - Decide on a date for the sale
 - Discuss after sale options
 - Take pictures to begin marketing the sale

2nd Step...Sorting and set up process:
 - We sort through items in the house
 - We bring in tables and shelving units to ensure items are displayed nicely
 - Research items to ensure they are priced just right.

3rd Step...The Sale
 - Sufficient staff to cover sale
 - Comfortable shopping atmosphere
 - Normally sell 90% of what is in the house

4th Step...Payment
 - You will receive a summary sheet of sale totals
 - A check for the proceeds of the sale within 14 days after sale ends, if we are doing the clean-out, the check will be sent with the donation slips at the end of the clean-out unless requested prior.

It's that easy!
Remember!   Don't throw ANYTHING away! Don't donate ANYTHING! Some of the most  valuable items are disguised as junk.  Let us determine what is to be  thrown away! 

Estate Sale Prep
Schedule the estate sale BEFORE you put the house on the market.  Houses are selling sometimes within hours of going on the market.  Don't let your realtor talk you into putting the house on the market before you have a sale planned. 

Don't let the realtor list the market as vacant or immediate occupancy upon closing.  The house is not vacant if there is "stuff" in the house.  You need time to get rid of the stuff in the house before you turn the keys over to the new owners.  I get at least 10 or more calls a week of families in this situation.  Don't let  this happen to you!

Don't clean out the house!  Don't donate anything! Don't get a dumpster!
Don't throw anything away! You'll be amazed at what is valuable!

I'd  be more than happy to come by and look at the estate before you start  going through it.  I can give you pointers that will help save you time, money and energy. 

Following is a short, incomplete list of items that will sell at estate sales:

  • Half used spices
  • Half used bottles of cleaners like Pledge, Comet etc. 
  • Old clothing - doesn't matter the age - don't throw any away and don't donate anything clothing!
  • Old linens
  • Old books
  • Old calendars
  • Furniture that needs repair
  • Unopened packages of food
  • Any household items!

The  best thing to do is leave the house as it is.  Don't worry about trying  to clean the house up before we come over.  We'll do some cleaning during the set up.

DON'T box up the items in the house!  Just take what you want and leave the rest right where it is. It all will have to be unboxed for the estate sale.  Items boxed up will require the commission to be higher because of the labor involved in unboxing it.   Save us the time and labor and yourself the money.

The time to  call is NOW!  I'll guarantee that if you start throwing items in the trash you'll end up throwing out something valuable.  I've gone through the trash at houses after the family has "cleaned" and found valuable items that I put back into the sale.  One trash venture gained my client over $400!

Call Janet today!  586-344-2048

I'm thrilled to say this page has saved some families a lot of work and money!

Estate Sale Cautions!
In an effort to help families who need estate sales here are some cautions when choosing an estate sale company.

  • Don't be intimidated by the company.
  • Just because a company started advertising your sale, if you don't have a signed contract you don't have to use that company. 
  • A  company who offers the lowest commission is not necessarily the best  company to conduct your sale.  They may not do a complete set up, they  may not go through everything in the house and some items may not be priced or researched.  You don't want the company to "wing" pricing.   Example:  Recently an electrician went to a sale and purchased $900  worth of electrical supplies for only $3!  Did that family really save with the "lowest" commission?
  • Do  the math...half the commission should go to labor to set up and run the  sale.  The people running the sale have business expenses to cover  (marketing, insurance, supplies etc) and need to make a living.  If  someone is only charging 15%-30%, is your sale going to be set up  completely? Will there be enough staff on the days of the sale to handle the crowd? Will they do the research needed?  Will the sale be properly  marketed?  You will end up getting what you pay for. 
  • License.   There is no such thing as a "license" to conduct estate sales.  I wish  there was a certification the state required for an estate sale to conduct an estate sale. 
  • Make  sure you read the contract!  If items will be moved from the home to  another venue, what is the commission then? And what are the conditions of the sale? Aren't you hiring them to sell your items at the house,  after all that is what an estate sale is?
  • If  a company wants to buy everything that is left in the house after the sale is over is a sure sign something is fishy!  Often the prices are inflated so the item doesn't sell and they can keep the items.
  • If  a company includes the clean-out in their commission, again the prices  are inflated so the items don't sell, then they keep them for themselves  or put them in their store or on ebay etc.  So that "free" clean-out isn't really free.  
  • Ask for references and check those references. 
  • Be  sneaky, before you meet the company, go to one of their sales.  Watch and talk to their customers and find out what their reputation is and see how they operate. 
  • If a  company doesn't want to do your sale because there isn't enough in the  house however, they want to purchase something...DON'T SELL THEM  ANYTHING!  More than likely what they want to purchase is THE best thing  in the house and they are probably going to give you pennies on the dollar. 
  • There are companies that offer a flat rate fee for doing estate sales.  They make the same amount of money if they sell 20% or 90% of the items in  the house.  My question in what is the incentive to sell the most they  can? Many families find themselves with a lot of stuff leftover.  Some even owe the company money at the end of the sale and the family still has to remove the items that didn't sell. 



Estate Sales Scams
There have been companies, unfortunately in Michigan, who have not paid their  clients.  A couple were featured on the news.  These companies went out  of business only to open in another name.  There is suspicion that one of those companies had an employee open an estate sale company but they are running it. Be careful who you hire.