If you’re the executor for a loved one’s estate, one of your responsibilities likely involves unloading all of the belongings in their home. Often, people will designate in their will that their belongings be sold and the proceeds go back in to their estate to be divided with their other assets among their heirs and beneficiaries.
If your loved one was a widow or widower who remained in their home, along with a good deal of furniture, artwork, clothing and mementos they’d kept over the decades, your best bet may be to have an estate sale. Despite the rather grand name, an estate sale can involve just about any size home and the belongings in it.
Determining what belongings are worth selling and which ones have significant value are things best left to the professionals. That’s where estate sale companies come in.
These companies charge a fee, of course — typically a percentage of the price they get for each item sold. However, they may get you more money for items than you would think they would be worth. They can tell the difference between antiques and items that are just old. Sometimes, things that you might consider tacky and relics from another time are “vintage” items to collectors willing to pay for them. Estate sale companies can also save you a lot of time.
Most reputable estate sale companies have a minimum sale amount. This could be as low as $500 or range into the thousands. This is just one of the questions you’ll want to ask any company you’re considering. You should also find out:
- What kind of fee structure they have
- Whether they’ll dispose of unsold items for you and their disposal fee
- How and where they’ll advertise the sale
- How long the sale will last
- If they’re insured
If you’re administering a loved one’s estate, it’s your responsible to protect their home and the items in it. Further, if your loved one has designated that specific items go to family members or other beneficiaries, it’s crucial to make sure that those aren’t sold off, given away or thrown out.
If you don’t have time to research local companies, your estate planning attorney can likely recommend one or more in the area that would be appropriate for your needs. They can also give you some tips for helping your estate sale be as hassle-free as possible.