Is Having an Estate Sale Worth it? Mistakes to Avoid to Net More Cash

Unknown lady holding a house and key wondering if having an estate sale is worth it

If you’ve inherited an estate house from a parent or older relative who has left you their entire estate, then you know how daunting it can be to clean out the home and prepare it for sale. Over time all the years and years worth of furniture, appliances, mementos and even junk, pile up and you may need help to clear the clutter so you can sell then house and move on. So what is the best way to go about it? Should you do an estate house sale? Are there other options? Here are the pros and cons to doing an estate house sale in Utah.

What is an Estate Sale?

Just to be clear, an estate sale is not a fancy yard sale. With a yard sale or garage sale you are clearing out all the unwanted stuff in your house, with an estate house sale you are selling literally everything in the home. Everything you see will have a price tag down to the pieces of silverware and including the large pieces of furniture like a piano.

Pros of Having a House Estate Sale

A man signing papers with a companion holding keys
  • The biggest pro to undertaking an estate house sale is that you can efficiently sell everything in the home on one big sale day. Anything left over can be loaded up and brought to your nearest thrift store for donation.
  • You could choose to donate all the items, but by selling them instead, you can make a tidy profit and all the buyers come take a lot of the items off your hands, saving the effort of transporting more items to the thrift store.
  • Estate sales often draw a crowd. If you have advertised properly, or worked with an estate sale company to advertise, then you can be sure people will show up and be ready to buy. It’s not uncommon for people to line up to be first in the house at an estate sale.
  • With an estate sale you can bring in an appraiser to walk through the home first. A hired appraiser can give you an idea of what amount to charge and point out any items that may be worth more than you initially realized. If the home you are selling has a lot of vintage items then it may be worth your money to hire an appraiser to go through the house with you — you may make much more money in the end.
  • If you choose to do an estate sale you could hire a company to take care of all of the work for you. You let them do all the pricing, advertising and clearing of the unsold items and they write you out a check for your portion of the sales.
  • An estate sale allows you to quickly clear the home and prepare it for sell which means less time paying to maintain the property.

Cons of Having a House Estate Sale

A man looking sad with his estate sale.
  • If you decide that the profit sharing with a hired estate company is too much then the amount of work you are left to do is a lot. If you’ve never run an estate sale before there is a learning curve and a lot of time involved with pricing, advertising, managing the sale on the day of the event and clearing out the unsold items afterward.
  • It can be hard to watch other people paw through your loved ones belongings. Holding a estate sale while you are still grieving for a loved one can be extra difficult. (If you did hire an estate sale company they would not require you to be present on the day of the sale).
  • Time is money and the extra time involved in hosting an estate sale may not be worth the money payout in the end. You will have to determine if it’s worth the extra effort to make a little more money out of the property.
  • Not everything will sell at an estate sale so you’ll still find yourself with many items (maybe a lot of items) that need hauling to the local thrift store anyway.
  • If you go with an estate sale company they will do all the work and you will be paying for that. Some companies require a down payment and all will take a share of the profits. It’s not uncommon for a quality estate sale company to keep 50%-70% of the sales profits.
  • What you may see something priced at online will not translate to what you can price it for at an estate sale. People come expecting good deals and that $100 item will only bring in a fraction of that price and if an estate company is involved they will take a big chunk of the money paid as well.
  • Though an estate sale is often a one day or two-day event, the entire process can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. During a busy season it could take even longer, meanwhile you are paying to maintain the unused property.

Maximizing Profits

Estate sales can be an effective way to liquidate a loved one’s belongings, but their success largely depends on proper planning and execution. To determine if an estate sale is worth it for your situation, consider the potential value of the items, the time and effort required, and alternative options such as auctions or consignment.

One common mistake is underpricing valuable items. To avoid this, consider getting professional appraisals for potentially high-value pieces. This ensures you don’t inadvertently sell rare or collectible items for less than their market worth.

Another pitfall is overpricing, which can lead to unsold inventory. Remember, estate sale prices typically decrease over time, so starting with realistic prices is crucial. Be prepared for negotiation, as many attendees expect some flexibility in pricing.

Proper organization and presentation are key to a successful estate sale. Thoroughly inspect and clean items before displaying them, and group similar objects together for easy browsing. Don’t overlook less obvious areas like basements or garages, as these can often hide valuable treasures.

Be mindful of estate sale etiquette. Avoid giving preferential treatment to friends or family, as this can create tension and potentially reduce overall profits. Also, maintain transparency in your pricing and selling practices to build trust with buyers.

Finally, consider the pros and cons of hiring a professional estate sale company. While they take a commission, their expertise can often lead to higher overall profits and a smoother selling process. However, if you choose to manage the sale yourself, be prepared for the time and effort required to price, organize, and oversee the event.

By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing strategic planning, you can increase the likelihood of a successful and profitable estate sale, turning a potentially overwhelming task into a rewarding experience.

Can I sell the House (and Belongings) without Having a Estate Sale?

Home owner signing some papers-selling his house to an investor

If you don’t have the time, money or interest in going through the estate sale process then you can consider selling your home to an investor who will buy the house and all of its contents.

Gary at Gary Buys Houses, will buy a house and clear the items, taking the time to donate all the useful items so nothing valuable will go to waste. Gary will make sure the items go to a donation where they can help people in need and simultaneously relieve you of the need of unloading a lot of stuff and cleaning and preparing a home for sale.

Contact Gary if you are interested in a quick and simple home sale today.

Gary Parker

I was a part owner in an electrical contracting firm in the late 1990’s and started to get interested in real estate around 2001. My business partner and I bought our first rental property in 2002. From there we did several real estate transactions until we decided to close the electrical business and part ways. In 2009 I started Gary Buys Houses which is owned by my wife, Eileen, and I. I felt like I could offer one on one personal service to people that wanted to sell their house quickly or not worry about repairs and such. Today, I have built a reputation of being fair and honest with people no matter their situation, so the business continues to help people and be successful. I have been married for 34 years, and have one son, two step sons and 4 grandchildren. I like to travel and spend time in Southern Utah exploring.

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