Holding an estate sale at your property is a great way to empty an entire house of belongings, and to earn the most money for household items. But they require a lot of planning and manpower. You can host one yourself, but here’s how an estate sale works best: Hire an estate sale company to run the event at your house. Yes, you will pay a fee, but once you understand the work involved, you may decide it’s worth it for someone else to handle the logistics.
How Today’s Estate Sales Work
All estate sale companies have a minimum required value to make it worth their while to hold a sale. If the company decides you have enough value in the items you wish to sell, they will contract with you to handle your entire sale, from start to finish. This process can take months, so an on-site estate sale will only work for those who don’t need to empty the property quickly.
Although the sale itself usually happens via online bidding, a lot of on-site work makes that happen. (Click here to download our DIY estate sale checklist to see what needs to be done before, during and after an estate sale on-site.)
Estate Sale Timeline
- Estate sale representative visits your house to evaluate the contents for sale.
- An auction date is set.
- Company reps research your items and set prices (minimums may start as low as $1).
- Estate sale company photographs your sale items and writes descriptions to list on their website.
- Estate sale company promotes your sale to interested buyers, including buying advertising.
- The company may set up a separate “viewing day,” for bidders to come look at your items.
- On viewing and pickup days, the estate sale company staffs your house for security.
- Estate sale company answers all buyer questions, manages all transactions, and handles pickups.
One thing the estate sale company will not do is empty the house after the sale ends. You will have to remove items that didn’t sell, and get them to donation sites or the dump. Then you’ll have to clean out the trash, and prepare the house to show if it’s going on the market.
If you don’t want to worry with the trash, or you don’t want people walking through the house, check out our other options. But if you don’t mind visitors, and a little cleanup on the back end, an on-site estate sale can work well to convert your household items into cash.