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What Is an Estate Sale and Is it Right for Me?

Estate Sale Tips, Tricks & More May 29, 2024

What is an estate sale? An estate sale is a sale of someone’s personal belongings to liquidate a wide variety of assets in one fell swoop, typically in a few days’ time. Estate sales are usually held in the private home of the property owner. And is an estate sale right for you? Here are the most common reasons for having estate sales so you can see if it’s right for you:

what is an estate sale and is it right for meDeath of a loved one: When a loved one dies, grief can be crushing. When combined with the added task of managing your loved one’s belongings, it can feel like an overwhelming task for the surviving family members. When there are disputes about inheritance, an estate sale can be a simple way to divide the estate among the surviving relatives.

Divorce or asset allocation: It is not uncommon for divorces to be messy and result in long, expensive, drawn-out disagreements about the division of property. An estate sale could be right for you if you need are a solution to dividing assets between divorcing parties who cannot come to an agreement.

Overseas move: Shipping bulky and heavy furniture for an overseas move can be costly and sometimes, people would rather have the flexibility of cash to purchase furniture in their new home country. Additionally, the new living arrangement may not be available from the get-go, and you might be in a temporary situation until you find suitable permanent housing.

Change of living arrangement: Your new living arrangement may include downsizing for any number of reasons and the oversized recliner and sofa combo may no longer fit in your new living room. In this case, having an estate sale is an excellent idea.

Debt: If you have run into financial difficulties such as debt, bankruptcy or foreclosure, estate sales are a great way to raise capital and help you reach a better financial situation.

Only you can decide if an estate sale is the best option for you, but the accumulation of personal belongings can weigh a person down, both physically and mentally.

Whether you decide to undertake the sale on your own or you hire a professional estate sale company like Estate Pros, estate sales are often the simplest way to alleviate yourself from the burden of ownership of these items.

What Is An Estate Tag Sale and Is it Right for Me?

An estate tag sale differs from an estate sale auction in that items are priced ahead of time, rather than with a starting bid and the item being rewarded to the highest bidder. During an estate tag sale, what people see on the tag is the price they pay for the item. There is no bidding or haggling. Still, prices are reduced on the second or third days, like a normal estate sale. Many people like to have estate tag sales because what they get for the item is predetermined and it can eliminate any disappointment that may result from an item going for or near the starting bid. A personal property appraiser can be an invaluable resource in helping you decide what prices to set your items at.

What Is an Estate Sale Versus a Garage Sale?

While estate sales and garage sales have some similarities, they have more differences. Both are typically held at the private home of the owner and involve the sale of personal property by the owner of that property. That is pretty much where the similarities end. Typically, during an estate sale, most of the home’s items are either sold or donated. During a garage sale, only a portion of your personal property will be for sale.

Garage Sales

  • An informal presentation where items are typically displayed outside of the home
  • Items are informally arranged without professional staging
  • Pricing is set at the owner’s discretion
  • Shoppers are usually looking for extreme bargains and are often prepared to pay under $10 for items
  • Permitting needs are handled by the owner of the sale
  • Advertising and signage are the responsibility of the owner

Estate Sales

  • Items are appraised by a professional property appraiser
  • Items are displayed in their best light inside the home using tables and other display surfaces brought by the estate sale company or provided by the seller
  • Shoppers are prepared to pay more than they would pay at a garage sale but less than at an antique or retail store
  • Permitting needs are handled by the estate sale company
  • Advertising is handled through websites such as and

How Much Does the Average Estate Sale Make?

While the value of an estate sale depends largely on the value of the personal property to be sold, the average estate sale makes over $20,000. While this is essential to a profitable sale, there are many other factors that go into the profitability of a sale, such as the demographics of the area where the sale will be held, the marketing efforts made by those conducting the sale, the pricing tactics used, and the general presentation and organization of the sale. The estate sale company typically takes about 30% to 40% of the proceeds of the sale as a commission – take this into account when you decide if an estate sale is right for you. The number you agree upon with your estate sale professional can be arranged prior to the sale. Contact Estate Pros today to schedule a free consultation.

Tips for Estate Sales

When having an estate sale, it’s important to stay organized and try to have a clear idea of what your things are worth.

Hiring a professional estate sale company like Estate Pros is one of the best ways to ensure that the sale goes off without a hitch and that you realize maximum profits from the sale. Most estate sales net over $20,000 and having an estate sale is the easiest way to liquidate a house full of personal belongings quickly and painlessly.

How to Prepare For An Estate Sale:

  • Clean the home where the estate sale will be held and throw out any trash.
  • Sort through your belongings and remove any personal documents, firearms and other things that either cannot be sold through auction or you do not want sold.
  • Having your items priced ahead of time is necessary. For help with this, use our Estate Sale Pricing Guide.
  • If you want to do a combination of selling and donating items, separate these ahead of time so that they don’t get mixed up.
  • Contact your city or county and obtain proper permitting.
  • Purchase signage, tables, tags and labels to be used during the sale.
  • Carefully catalog and photograph all of the items that you will be selling or donating.

Letting the Pros Handle It Is Right for You

Still have questions? The professionals at Estate Pros have been handling estate sales in Michigan for over 15 years and promise to help you find the best solution for dealing with the sale and distribution of your personal property. When choosing an estate sale company, it’s important to hire a reputable company that will give you honest appraisals and professional service. These people will be in your home, going through your belongings and handling your money – it’s important that you can trust them.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you hold an estate sale or to find out more about our upcoming sales.


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