Liquidating your stuff can easily be an emotionally-taxing experience. ‘Estate’ sales aren’t just for clearing out the mega mansions anymore. There are various sizes of companies eager to sell your stuff and write you a check. But their jobs consist of more than just showing up, slapping price tags on your items and writing you a check. The sheer magnitude of work which actually goes into a successful estate sale is a little overwhelming.

If you find the right company with the right availability, the last thing you want to do is call them to come over before you’re actually ready to hire them. You risk wasting their time and showing them you’re not ready to let go of your stuff or respecting their time. I’ll share with you a few ways to measure whether you’re truly ready to pick up the phone and start interviewing companies for your estate sale.

1. Do you know what you’re keeping?
One super easy way to dissuade a reputable company from working with you is to invite them over for a consultation (to assess if you have enough for a sale) and then tell them you’re not sure what you’re willing to sell. That’s like registering for your wedding gifts after your wedding reception – it’s not logical.

Mark the items in your home with a post-it or painter’s tape so when they show up you can definitively show them the items you intend to keep in the house for the next home-owners and what you intend to take with you when you leave.

2. The Marketable Value of Your items (is different than what you think they’re worth)
I’m going to be blunt, because that’s how I roll. Estate Sale companies want to make as much money for both you and themselves, so if you know a thing or two about the original value of an item, go ahead and share. You’re gonna have to let go of the sentimental value, though. Sentiments don’t sell. Current secondhand marketable value sells – and a good company has their own pricing strategies to reflect this.

A great way you can help the company is by providing quick historical facts behind any unique pieces you may have for sale. Customers love these stories, and if the company has these facts in their back pocket, it may be the final piece used to persuade a customer to purchase your items.

3. If you’re currently living on the property in question, are you ready to move out?
No reputable company will hold an estate sale in your home while you’re living there. It’s a safety hazard and a liability for both you and the company. Most of them will also require that you not visit the house once they start prepping and until the sale is done. Many of them may additionally restrict your ability to visit the sale, too. Don’t fight them on it.

One reason a company may not want you on location during prep is because they have people coming in at odd hours to fix up the house or to get some extra work done to make their deadlines. A reason why some companies don’t want you at your sale is because they know it’s hard to let go of the sentimental value we attach to our things.

But if you come into your own sale telling stories about how your dad used to wear that robe while dancing to Metallica in the kitchen on rainy days, you’re more likely to scare customers away permanently than entice them to buy that used robe. This is a very emotional time for you, and any company owner should know this. So don’t be afraid to ask them about their policies. If they can’t figure out why they don’t want you back in the house while they’re working, that’s probably a cause for concern.

4. Selling your home? Be prepared to follow the rules (and law).
Real estate agents (the guys always rooting for their client) have been known to go rogue frequently on estate sale companies. Speaking from experience here, they more-often-than-not demand conflicting closing dates, antagonize company owners, and expect exceptions. But let’s look at one company in Kansas City’s pack-out process so we can understand why it’s important to respect and follow the company’s timeline..

Immediately after the sale closes on Saturday afternoon, an entire team arrives to organize items for donation and sell those which are unusable. Chemicals need to be properly disposed of, as does recyclable materials. The house has to be cleaned, any repairs fixed, and all of the estate sale company’s equipment has to be removed. That all happens on a Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. With a sharp deadline of getting the house ready for the owners by Monday at noon, that’s a strictly coordinated affair between trash collection, sales and clean-up crews, administrative duties, donation pick-up, and equipment moving.

5. The (somewhat) golden rule of estate sales – don’t throw anything away.
There has to be some common sense applied here, though. You’re hiring a company to organize your items and sell your things for a commission, not to clean up after you, your pets, or to expose themselves to toxic mold. When you leave a bunch of literal trash in your home, don’t be surprised if a company hits you with a hefty cleaning fee – within reason.

Here are some things you could easily get rid of yourself:

  • Trash bins
  • Magazines received within the last 30 years
  • Unwanted bills and papers
  • Personal Items you want to take with you
  • Old box TV’s

If you’re in doubt, follow the golden rule your mom hopefully taught you when you were a kid. Pick up after yourself – and then decide what you’re actually selling before calling an estate sale company. Many companies sincerely take the utmost pride in helping you at a stressful and potentially life-changing time in your life, but you can’t ask too much of a company who’s really only there to price and sell your items.

If you’re looking for a company in the Kansas City area who can transform your home from a crazy mess to show-room ready, consider learning more about our company, Green Frog Estate Sales by clicking here.