Are estate sales worth the money? Let’s talk about why or why not.

Is an estate sale worth it? If you’ve been following us for a time, you may already know that one of our specialties is downsizing. When you’re moving from a larger house into a more manageable one, the excess stuff – the things you aren’t taking with you – have to be dealt with? How it’s dealt with will depend on a variety of factors. Everyone’s situation is different, so there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to the question of whether having an estate sale is worth it. 

Option 1: Donation

The first option is to donate the items you no longer need or want. While it is a great idea in theory, the actual process of donating significant quantities of household items is not always as easy as one might think. Some non-profits don’t have enough trucks to pick things up in a timely manner (or at all). Additionally, many will not enter your house. They require the items to be on the porch or in the driveway. Some people choose to have the items delivered by a moving company. Of course there is an expense and a certain amount of coordination involved in this method. 

Option 2: Professional Estate sale 

The other option is to have an estate sale. An on-site estate sale can be completed over a weekend, although the setup for such a sale may take a week or longer.  Online estate sales are now very common as well. The items being sold are photographed and placed online for bidders to see. This is a very efficient way of liquidating the remaining household items without hundreds of people coming into your home. Whether the traditional on-site sale or the online sale is best will naturally depend on your circumstances. 

 If you have a lot of excess stuff, an estate sale is usually worth the money.

Not everyone thinks that having an estate sale is worth it. In fact, a recent client hired an estate sale company following a move from a longtime home to a retirement community. The sale grossed around $7,700.  His check was approximately $2,200. Even though he had money in his pocket, he felt that $5000 was a high price to pay for emptying his home. It is likely that had he not had a sale, he would have had to donate the remaining items. Due to the items left and the limited number of not-for-profits picking up in his area, he would more than likely have had to pay to have the items moved. 

Option 3: Sell it yourself

You might already be thinking, wow for that kind of expense, I’ll just do it myself or have my kids or grandkids do it. Certainly, if you have the time and capability, this is an option. This too, however, is far more difficult than it seems. Be sure to take safety precautions whether hosting a garage sale or selling items online through social media. 

So, is an estate sale worth it?

If you live in a densely populated area and have a lot of excess stuff, then yes, an estate sale is probably well worth it. That said, finding the “right” estate liquidation company is key. Doing so means starting the process early and not waiting until the final hour to make these arrangements. Especially during the busy season (Spring and Summer) estate liquidators can be booked out several months in advance. So, if your home is sold and a buyer is ready to move in within a 30-45 day closing window, having an estate sale date is critically important! 

If we can help answer any of your questions about coordinating an estate sale, selling a home, or downsizing in general, give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.