Improving An Estate Sale Outcome When Treasured Antiques Are Not Really Treasures

Estate sales take place most frequently when someone has passed, when the property owners are downsizing, or when financial problems force a sale. Each of these life situations is difficult, but it's devastating when the seller realizes they (or a loved one) have spent a great deal of their life amassing a prized collection of antiques or other valuables without any real monetary value. It is always better to prepare for this possible outcome prior to the sale day. Here are some important facts to remember about estate sales and a few tips to potentially help increase the final tally at the end of the event. 

Getting professional appraisals is the first step. 

Companies that manage estate sales have a vast experience with a number of antiques and collectibles and connections with other experts for the items outside of their abilities. Their appraisals provide a reasonable expectation of what the item should sell for during the sale or at auction. There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion if the appraisal seems too low, but relentlessly researching the items to prove the appraisals as incorrect is wasteful. Items are worth only what people are willing to pay for them, and many items that are extremely valuable at one point can become nearly worthless when the interest in them fades. 

Remember that not everything will sell. 

Even items that appraise well could remain behind at the end of the day. Never plan on receiving any certain amount because this will almost always result in disappointment. However, hire a professional estate seller to make certain the sale receives the greatest amount of visibility possible. The best have antique dealers, online sellers, and collectors that follow their sales and attend their auctions loyally. This increases the chances of more purchases. 

Unsold property still belongs to the owner.

The items left behind do not disappear at the end of the sale. The estate company may take the remainder and sell them as lots at an auction. Some are also buy-out companies that offer a single sum for the remainder and sell off the items on their own later on. In some instances, the owner of the property will need to decide if it is worth the time and effort for them to sell the possessions. A future yard sale, classified ads, or online auctions may help to bring in a little more money. Consign items to thrift stores and antique shops or donate the remainder to a charity for the tax deduction.

There are things the property owner can do to improve their odds. 

  • Help the company by thoroughly cleaning the home prior to their set-up—a clean home is more appealing to buyers. 
  • Consider running a multi-day sale—this makes it possible for more people to attend and can encourage those who saw something they liked to return after thinking about it overnight. 
  • Professional estate companies give legitimacy to the sale and help to increase interest and may encourage people to pay higher prices. 
  • This is the perfect opportunity to get a lot of free advertising and views from potentially interested buyers if the house is to be put on the market at some point too.
  • It is not unusual for estate sales to earn more on common household items than with antiques. Do not throw out anything in the house with any value until the sale ends.

TV programs have made it seem as if every old or unusual item is priceless and all estate and yard sales will bring in amazing amounts of money. What they do not show are the thousands of items the program's appraisers have turned away or mentioned that the cameras and excitement surrounding the sale brought in double (or more) people than what would normally attend. The reality is very few people become rich after an estate sale, but those that are realistic with their expectations and willing to put in a little effort of their own can still earn a tidy sum. They will also free themselves of the burden of a house full of items they do not need. For help getting your estate sale organized and items appraised, contact a company like Best Rate Cleanouts.