How to Plan an Estate Sale

The secret to netting more cash from an estate sale is planning. Regardless of the reason for having an estate sale, you can maximize your potential income from the unnecessary items you include in your estate sale inventory. Ensuring success begins days or weeks before the event, whether or not you choose to hire an estate sale company. 

This detailed guide provides you with a template of what you need to do to prepare for the estate sale and ensure everything goes smoothly.

Step 1: Create and Sort Your Inventory

First things first, you should go through the items in your estate and decide which  you’d like to sell and which you’d like to keep. It’s important to know your purpose for having the estate sale. 

If you're downsizing, the goal might be to get rid of all the items in your house. In this case, you'll want to sell everything that you currently own. If you are moving, it also makes sense to get rid of most of the items, especially the ones you no longer have a use for. But if you're holding an estate sale following the death of a family member, you'd want to off-load the items that are no longer necessary and keep the ones that have sentimental value.

You must examine the items and then sort them into categories. You might be surprised to discover some of the items that you didn't even know you owned! It's a good motivation to sell them because they will only take up space in your home.

what you need to do to prepare for the estate sale

Step 2: Categorize Your Inventory

The next step is to divide your items into different categories. The best way to go about it is to differentiate the high-value items from the cheaper ones. For high-value items, such as furniture or antiques, you can dust them off and give them a good polish. You can also make necessary repairs if needed. Doing the extra work will help you sell those items for a higher price tag.

It’s also a good opportunity to inspect any items that you find in the home to determine if any of them need repair. Use your critical eye when evaluating your inventory to see if any of the broken items are worth repairing.

Step 3: Price Strategically

Pricing your items is one of the critical areas of planning an estate sale. This part is tricky because some of the items might have an emotional value to you or members of your family. However, you must approach the pricing with an objective perspective because your focus is to find ways to attract buyers.

You can research the market value of certain items, which will help gauge how much you can sell these items for. If you price your items too low, you lose out on the potential value of that product. If you price them too high, you could turn potential buyers away. 

Price your items objectively. However, you must also set limits on how high you can go and the lowest price you can accept for each item. Once you have finalized the prices, you can place a price tag on each item to facilitate a smooth buying process. It will save your buyers time so they don't have to constantly check with you on pricing. It also helps them decide if the item is within their budget or not.

Pricing your items is one of the critical areas of planning an estate sale

Step 4: Set a Date for the Estate Sale

Once you have finalized the items you want to sell and have priced them, you can pick a date to hold your estate sale. Experts suggest picking a weekend for holding an estate sale to get the maximum traffic to the sale event. 

Avoid holding an estate sale on a holiday weekend, though. Most people are traveling over holiday periods so you could have significantly fewer buyers if you hold the event on a holiday weekend.

Step 5: Advertise the Estate Sale

With the date set, you can begin promoting your estate sale. Advertising and promotion are crucial to get more buyers to check out the sale. You can expect a few walk-ins, but you should promote it days or weeks before the event to get people's attention.

You can promote the estate sale event on social media. If you have a local business group, you can publish the estate sale event dates and details to target people in your area. You can also leverage promotion in local newspapers, bulletin boards, and Craigslist. 

When promoting the event, use pictures of the items you are selling. Focus on rare and high-value items to attract potential buyers who might have an interest in those items. Make sure to showcase a wide range of items that are for sale.

Double-check the details of the estate sale event, such as the address, date, and time. 

Step 6: Set Up the Area Properly

The arrangement and flow of the items in your estate sale play a critical role in maximizing sales. Ensure that you have a good presentation and flow of the items to entice buyers when they arrive at the sale event. 

Ensure that prices are clearly marked. Highlight valuable items like jewelry, collectibles, and antiques, so they are easily visible. Also, remove any items from the home that you don't want to sell to avoid confusing buyers. 

Step 7: Plan on What to Do with Leftover Items

In a perfect world, you will sell all items in your estate sale. However, that rarely happens, so you need to develop a plan on what to do with any leftover items. 

If you want to make money from these items, you can put them up for auction or sell them on eBay. You can also send them to a consignment store or thrift store for extra cash. 

If not, you can donate these items to charity. You can earn a tax credit for your donation. Another option is to give them to other family members or friends who are interested in those items.