How to Hold an Estate Sale

Two Parts:Organizing the SaleAdvertising Your Estate Sale

Estate sales are events where the property and goods of a house are sold to the general public, usually after the death of the homeowner or after a home has been foreclosed upon. Because holding an estate sale often involves cataloging and pricing large amounts of material, many people choose to hire an estate sale service. However, with lots of planning and patience, it's possible to plan your own estate sale. The steps below will guide you through the process of how to hold an estate sale, and provide some tips for maximizing profits.

Part 1
Organizing the Sale

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    Divide the property to be sold into categories.
    • To make pricing and selling easier, remove all objects from their original places and sort them by function or, in some cases, value. Categories might include appliances, clothing, and works of art. Additionally, you may want to create a separate category for especially expensive items.
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    Assess the quality and condition of all objects, cleaning and making any repairs as necessary.
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    Create a catalog of all the objects to be sold including details about category, size, age, functionality, etc.
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    Price your items.
    • Consult catalogs, antique shops, and other estate sales to get an idea of what your items are worth. Include a price range for each item. If you do not need to liquidate your entire stock, include a price below which you will not be willing to sell.
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    Take pictures of all your objects, either individually or in groups to serve as references for merchants and for use in advertisements.
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    Set a date for your sale and avoid dates when other people are planning an estate sale in your area so that you do not overlap dates.
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    Hold your sale beginning early in the morning and staying open as long as you need to liquidate your items.
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    Make note of all items sold and to whom and provide receipts.
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    Liquidate any extra stock through merchants or third parties.

Part 2
Advertising Your Estate Sale

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    Advertise with similar merchants in your area. Find antique shops, thrift stores, resellers, furniture stores, and other places that might be interested in purchasing your goods. Contact merchants or dealers to gauge their interest in buying any special stock or extra objects that might be left over after the estate sale, or let them have a first crack at the stuff.
    • At the same time, it might be a good idea to ask the manager if you can place an ad for your sale in the window of their business. This can be a good way of spreading the word.
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    Run lots of advertisements locally. Place ads for your sale in newspapers and online and distribute ads around your town or neighborhood, using posters, flyers, and leaflets.
    • Make fresh posts each week online if you are holding more than one weekend for the sale. Keep the word up.
    • Try to contact your local radio station to see if free airtime is a possibility at any point. This can be an unlikely but unrealized opportunity.
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    Ask about a feature story. Contact your local paper for a feature spot story on your estate sale, emphasizing the history of the property and the owners. Small town papers are especially interested in stories like this, and it can be an excellent way of drumming up business.
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    Make yourself available to answer questions. If you've put a phone number on your flyers, you've got to answer the phone. If you get lots of emails, you've got to respond to them. Respond professionally, courteously and with an assuring tone in your voice.


  • While planning an estate sale, it's a good idea to think about how much you hope to earn. If you're mostly considered with liquidating a property and getting whatever you can in return, you can move more quickly. However, if you want to maximize profits, you will need to take much more care in presenting and cataloging your items.


  • Estate sale planning is not easy, especially with large estates. In many cases, it is in your financial interest to hire an appraiser or even an estate sale professional, as the benefits gained from their expertise will outweigh the costs of their services.

Things You'll Need

  • Estate to be sold
  • Records of stock and sales
  • Camera

Article Info

Categories: Selling Property