Hosting an Estate Sale? Follow These Tips to Ensure Success

Jill Vonier

Jill Vonier

6 min read

Estate sales can be more work than you expect. Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Man collecting items in boxes for an estate sale

If you need to sell off an entire estate, an estate sale is a great option for you. Estate sale shoppers get excited by these sales because they know they can get great deals on items like furniture, household items, and even vehicles.

However, pulling off a successful estate sale takes more work than you might expect. Here we provide estate sale tips to help you host a successful estate sale through proper planning before and during the sale.

Read on for our top 10 tips to host an estate sale. For a more complete guide on running an estate sale, see A Beginner's Guide To Running a Successful Estate Sale.

1. Plan Ahead

Planning an estate sale is crucial. Start by selecting a date and location for the estate sale to happen. This will most likely be at the actual home of the estate and will need to take place over a weekend to give buyers adequate time to attend and make purchasing decisions on bigger items.

Once you have the date and location established, you can begin to plan everything well in advance so you won't face any unexpected surprises on the day of your estate sale.

2. Sort & Price Items

Since estate sales are typically much larger than garage sales, you will want to take some time to sort through all of the items you want to sell. Be sure to categorize by item type and location of the room so buyers can easily find what they're looking for. For example, dishware should be in the kitchen, and living room furniture should be in the living room.

Once your items are sorted and categorized, price your items according to their value. Keep in mind you want to motivate your buyers to purchase that day so be sure to offer great deals that are still going to help you make money. This could include bundle deals and discounted items as the day progresses.

For more information on pricing items, see How Much is it Worth? Tips for Setting the Right Price.

3. Heavily Advertise

Advertising your estate sale is so important since it makes local buyers aware of your event. You want to be sure to give people ample notice so they will have time to arrange pickup and how they will make payments.

Take advantage of free platforms, such as social media, local newspapers, and even Craigslist to announce your estate sale. Post to Facebook community and yard sale groups, and post announcements in the classified section of the newspaper and on Craigslist.

Your advertisement should clearly state the date, time, location, and types of items you will be selling, such as household items, large furniture, and so on.

4. Set up & Display Items

To make your items more marketable, be sure to set them up and put them on display in their best light. Instead of tossing small trinkets into a box, put them on a shelf or display case and give them each a little space to show off how good they can look on their own.

Be sure you have good lighting throughout the estate so potential buyers can easily see the details and features, and arrange items in a logical, easy-to-navigate manner. If you notice an item is looking extra dusty or dirty, now is your chance to clean them up before the big day.

5. Accept Different Forms of Payment

You will want to make it easy for your shoppers to purchase items so be sure to accept a few different forms of payment. Think about what forms of payment your shopper will have on them and find a way to accept it.

This could include cash, credit cards, debit cards, and even Venmo and Paypal payments. If you have specific forms you will accept or not accept, be sure to state them in your advertisement so shoppers can be prepared.

6. Track Inventory

It's essential to keep track of what has been sold and what is left. Tracking inventory will help you on the day of the sale to track how much is being sold and what is left at the end. It can also help you ensure nothing gets stolen throughout the sale.

Start with a list of what you want to sell when you are pricing your items, and then have your cashier check off each item as they get sold and at what price. This can also help you balance your cashbox with your actual cash.

If you are having trouble tracking your inventory, you can use OfferTrackr to automatically track the availability of all of your items. See our blog post, Using OfferTrackr to Make Selling Items Locally So Much Easier for information on how OfferTrackr can help you with your next estate sale.

7. Be Prepare For a Large Crowd

On the day of your estate sale, you will want to be prepared for anything, including a large crowd. Having a lot of people attend your estate sale is a great problem to have. However, you want to make sure they are able to navigate through the home, find what they're looking for, and have a smooth purchasing experience.

You can be prepared for a large crowd by assigning some helpers to manage the flow. This could include a family memeber at the door to regulate how many people can be inside at one time. It could also include a customer service person who can answer any and all questions and handle negotiations. ALso, be sure to have an assigned cashier to handle payments and put them in a location that is easy to find.

8. Hire a Professional Estate Sale Company

If you find that between your full-time job and being a parent you just don't have the time and energy to pull off an estate sale, it may be a good idea to hire =a professional company to take o the work. A professional estate sale company can help advertise the event, run the sale by handling all negotiations and payments, and can ensure that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.

Most estate sale companies take a percentage of sales made so you don't have to pay out of pocket. To many feeling bombarded by planning an estate sale, hiring a company can be more than worth it.

Estate sales can be a great way to quickly sell a lot of items at once, especially a fully-furnished home.

When planning the estate sale, give yourself plenty of time to plan ahead, sort through all of your items and price them according to their value, and take advantage of free services to advertise your event.

When it comes to selling your items, set them up and display them to encourage shoppers to make a purchase, and be sure to accept different forms of payment to make it easier for them.

Throughout the sale, track inventory to be aware of what's selling and what's left, and assign people at different stations to help manage the flow in case you have a large crowd.

Finally, if all this sounds like too much, hire a professional estate sale company that can help take on the workload for you.


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