What is an Estate Sale? – Common Details To Know

Most will relate an estate sale to someone passing on, that’s often incorrect.  The estate sale definition is the process of liquidating assets.  On many occasions it is referred to as a trustee sale, probate sale, tag sale or liquidation sale.

Reasons For Liquidation

Besides the loss of a family member, here are the most common reasons for holding a sale

  • Retirement and downsizing
  • An elder moved into an assisted living facility
  • Relocation to another state or smaller home
  • Divorce requiring the distribution of assets
  • Bankruptcy and loss of wages
  • Liquidating an abundance of items collected over the years

*This is an illustrative list and not meant to be inclusive.

So what’s an easy way of understanding the estate sale definition? A sale happens because the majority of the items in the home must be sold in a timely manner and at the highest value possible.

The amount of days the estate sale is held varies; it’s generally over a 3 to 4 day period.

Who Organizes The Sale?

Anyone can hold an estate, but the process can be extremely overwhelming, it’s highly recommended you hire a professional estate sale company to manage the process.  As experienced estate sale liquidators, they have the experience, knowledge, insurance, permits necessary, and a large following of buyers that attend their sales, a higher chance of success.  They will charge a fee, but how much they charge compared to what they provide, is well justified.  

Can Everything Be Sold?

This is another reason to rely on a professional estate liquidator to handle the sale.  The obvious contents of a home including furnishings, jewelry, vehicles, equipment, etc. are generally included. 

A liquidator understands the laws and what can be legally sold, protecting you and your home from any liability. Their network will include appraisers, gun brokers, art dealers, antique collectors and specific buyers that are willing to pay top dollar for certain items.  Those contacts take years to build, and aren’t easily accessible by you and I.

How Much do Liquidators Charge?

The estate sale professionals do charge a fee for their services; the percentage varies based on geographical area, company and what is involved in the sale.  It’s important to get a free estate sale evaluation, where you will have a clear understanding of what’s involved prior to signing the estate sale contract.  Read a more detailed topic on what an estate sale company charges and if it’s worth it.

Photo: Earlybirdestatesales

What is an estate auction, and is that different from just an estate sale?

Another form of liquidating the asset, some estate sale professionals combine an estate sale with an on-site and/or online auction.  This may depend on the type of items you have and what methods your estate sale company will recommend for getting the most value.  Their professional duty is to guide you in providing the best options to fit your particular needs and at the highest value possible, which may include a full auction.

One thing to remember, although the various liquidation services are similar, the service level of estate sale companies varies.  It’s important to hire an estate sale liquidator you trust.  Find out more about hiring an estate sale company. Use our guide of top questions to ask during your selection, it will help you in the process of choosing the best liquidation service provider.

Got more questions about estate sales? Ask a professional estate sale company

If you’re thinking about holding an estate sale, let us guide you by scheduling a free estate sale evaluation

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