Even though you are hiring a liquidator to manage your estate sale, there are a few helpful things you can do to prepare the estate prior to your consultation.
Tips and Tricks
1. Separate Valuables
Take a look around the estate to determine the items of higher value. You’ll want to know where all of these items are when the liquidator visits for their consultation. Not only will it be helpful to hear their opinion on the item, but some items may intrigue them serving as a catalyst to accept your business.
2. Tidy Up
Let’s face it, no one likes to walk into a dirty home. By cleaning the home in advance, liquidators will be less likely to feel overwhelmed or burdened by having to conduct a massive clean up to prep for your sale. In addition, a dirty home is a distraction from all your wonderful valuables, so keep the focus on the items not the cobwebs.
3. Don’t Throw Anything Out
A common mistake is to start throwing things out in preparation for a sale. Don’t do it. You never know what may have value. It could be an old camera, baseball card, barbie-doll, quilt, belt-buckle etc. that unexpectedly sells for a couple hundred dollars or even in the thousands. If you have leftover chinese food sitting in the fridge, you can throw that out, but everything else should stay at least until the liquidator has a chance to do a walk-through.
4. Set Aside Possessions You Want to Keep
Sadly, a lot of folks forget to set aside sentimental possessions that are personal to them or other family members and they end up being sold during the sale. Once sold, you will not be able to get them back. It is best to remove it from the home to prevent any confusion prior to the consultation.
Estate Sale Tips for Shoppers
1) Start at estatesales.org, estatesales.net, or estatesale.com – Type in your state and zip code and a list of sales will magically appear. Many include pictures so you will know if it’s worth your time. Don’t forget to check your local newspapers and the Craigslist garage sale section too.
2) Map out your course – plan your trip to hit the best sales first.
3) Cash is king – most sales won’t take credit cards or checks so stop by the bank before you go. (We take credit cards!!)
4) Don’t bring – large tote bags or purses, they might not be allowed inside.
5) Do bring – measuring tape, a flashlight (for those dark attics and basements), room measurements and purell!
6) Arrive early – there will be crowds, there will be a frenzy. If you want first pick, be prepared!
7) Early bird gets the worm – the best selection is during the first couple of hours but there will be no room for negotiating price. If you have something specific on your wish list – get there early or it will probably disappear.
8) Late bird gets the bargain – prices are slashed after the first day (up to 50%) with real bargains during the last couple of hours (perfect for those of us who don’t “need” anything and like junky stuff).
9) Do a fast walk through – go through every room when you arrive to scan for treasures and grab them quickly. Then go back to poke through boxes and bins for a more thorough search.
10) Hit the garage, basement and attic – it’s where I head first and where I find my best treasures.
11) Ask about unmarked items – appliances, draperies, rugs, garden furniture, shelving and swing sets are often for sale if you ask. (Ours are marked!)
12) No prices marked – just gather up your loot and ask for a price (you’ll get a better deal if you’re buying a lot then if you bring up each piece separately).
13) Bids – sometimes sales allow you to bid on big ticket items that aren’t selling at full price. You give them your best price and they will call you if it’s accepted. (We take bids too!)
14) Check pick up policy – some sales allow you to come back the next day for large items but others insist you remove them right away. (We have a pick up day if you can't take it right then.)
15) Bring muscle – estate sale workers often won’t help you to load your finds so bring help (or just bat your eyes to get other shoppers to help you).
16) All sales are final – check condition before you buy. (True!!)
17) Sign up for email list – (usually by the check out register) add your name so you’ll be the first to know about new sales.
18) Respect the property and be nice – out of bounds rooms are usually marked off with tape so stay out and be friendly (you’ll probably see them at the next sale).
19) Have fun – you may come out empty handed but you can at least enjoy an inside peek into lots of very cool houses.