1499341859_f1d279f77eIn the course of owning a house, it becomes necessary from time to time, to clean out unneeded clutter.  Sometimes a new member of the family requires their own room, other times you might just become scared straight after watching an episode of Hoarders.  In these events many people might often times have a garage sale.  Having a garage sale is a great way to free up more space in your home and life, as well as to earn a little cash for fun or to put back into your house.  The great part about having a garage sale is that you can schedule the event at a convenient time when some of your friends and family may be available to help or when the weather is ideal.  The other great part about garage sales is that you only have to let strangers into your garage and if you prefer, you can even set all sale items up outside.  Sometimes in the course of owning a house, the owners are outlived by the house.  Depending on whether or not another family member moves in or not, an estate sale is likely in order.  Settling an estate can be a difficult and time consuming process.  There are funeral arrangements to make, insurance papers to sort through and taxes to be paid.  Families of the deceased also have to decide what to do with their property and belongings.

In certain situations, a home may stay in the family’s possession.  For example your grandmother owns a lake house that has been in the family for generations.  Your family will likely want to continue visiting the lake house and keep it in the family.  For many families, the house of a deceased loved one is not suitable for one reason or another.  Sometimes family members would have to consider relocating out of state or their family may have outgrown the deceased’s residence.  When it comes time to sell a loved one’s home or property, many families choose to hold an estate sale to prepare the house to be sold.

When it comes to staging an estate sale, there are two options.  You can hire a professional crew of estate sale facilitators to manage every aspect of your estate sale, from pricing to delivering large items to your customers.  The other option is to get your friends and family together and do it yourself.  The benefit of doing it yourself can be found in not having to pay for the services of the estate sale professionals.  There are tradeoffs for running the operation yourself.  If you don’t run your sale in an organized fashion or prepare properly, you might miss out on more sales than it would have cost to hire a professional team.  Below are some helpful tips we’ve compiled to help you make the most of your estate sale, should you choose to embark on the journey without a professional team.

  • Remember, there will be high volumes of foot traffic all over your house.
  • Make each room, hallway and exit, safe and easy to access.  Clearly mark areas of the house that might present difficulties, like inconspicuous step-downs between rooms or low hanging pipes in basements.
  • Since there is the potential for high foot traffic, consider runner rugs or drop clothes on areas of the house which feature carpeting that you want to protect.
  • If you put down a runner rug for for foot traffic, be prepared to answer how much it costs.  Anything and everything can be up for grabs at some estate sales.  Light fixtures and even shampoo can and will be inquired about.  If you don’t want to sell it, hide it or take it out of the house.
  • Put a price on everything, otherwise you will be inadvertently put on the spot for pricing inquiries.
  • Keep your customers in mind.  Group like items together.
  • Separate items that are for sale, from furniture that is for sale.  Don’t make your customers wait for you to rearrange a room, to remove a book shelf.
  • Be thorough with cleaning out furniture like desks or cabinets.  They can often contain important documents or valuables.  Besides the outright risk of loss of valuables, the information contained in unseen paperwork could result in identity theft.
  • Remember that electronic devices and equipment can also contain valuable personal information inside of their internal memory or storage or in usb drives, memory cards or media that is also stored inside of the equipment.
  • Have dollies available to help assist impulsive buyers in loading items into their van, truck or SUV.
  • For Customers who are purchasing multiple pieces of furniture, consider informing a trusted local moving company that you plan on having an estate sale and you want to refer your customers to them.  If they are opportunistic they will make sure to keep staffed enough to accommodate your estate sale in addition to their already scheduled appointments.  Your customers will appreciate your great referral and you can help expedite their departure from your sale;)
  • Most importantly, have lots of friends available to answer any questions or assist your customers.  If you can give them something like simple like a name tag, it will help customers easily identify them from other customers.

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful and your estate sale will be smooth sailing.