How Does an Estate Sale Work?

by Quinten Plummer ; Updated July 27, 2017

Estate sales make the valuables of a residence available to public buyers. Estate sales are often used when the owner of an estate either passes away and the relatives sell the assets. But estate sales are also used in divorce cases, asset liquidation or the desire of the owner to simply pick up a new life somewhere else.

Sorting and Cleaning

The estate sale planner begins the process the assessing the assets. After acquiring an inventory of the estate the planner consults with the owner. With the inventory and an estimate of profits, the owner then decides if the sale will be a profitable enough venture to pursue. If the owner approves, a contract will be made between both parties and the process moves forward.

Staging and Pricing

The planner weeds out the unsaleable or marginal items and dumps them. The items of value are tagged, priced, and staged. Items are tag with large placards so that the prices are easily visible. Items are priced for quick sales and are often flexible for bargaining. Items are staged in a way that allow optimum accessibility--the aisles are clear, items are visible and items are in reach.

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Marketing and Selling

The sale is held over the course of a few days. Factoring in buyer interest and inventory size, sales are generally set for up to four days. The house is opened on the days of sale. The planner, and usually a group of assistants, will be present to assist buyers and process sales.

Clean Up and Payment

After the sale is close, left over merchandise will either be trashed or donated to charity. The planner or a hired cleaning service will clean the home and prepare the home for the open market. The percentage agreed upon in the initial planner/owner contract will be deducted from the earnings and awarded to the planner and the rest is given to the owner.

About the Author

Quinten Plummer began writing professionally in 2008. He has more than six years in the technology field including five years in retail electronics and a year in technical support. Plummer gained his experience in music by producing for various hip-hop acts and as lead guitarist for a band. He now works as a reporter for a daily newspaper.

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