What Sells at Estate Sales?
The types of items sold at an estate sale vary widely, ranging from automobiles to antique furniture. Generally, high-ticket items are things like furniture, collectibles, jewelry, automobiles, rugs, and artwork. It is typical for the items at an estate sale to reflect the diverse interests of their owner, such as sewing machines, baseball cards, gardening tools, fine art, and other collectibles.
Things That Sell Well at Estate Sales
- Certain antiques: Mid-century furniture has been hot for a number of years now and shows no signs of slowing down soon. There is always a market for interesting pieces and exotic furniture.
- Rugs: Many people look for handwoven and antique rugs at estate sales.
- Kitchen appliances: Kitchen appliances that are modern or in good working condition can be sold easily at an estate sale.
- Paintings: Many people who are in the market for paintings, photography, and other art shop at estate sales.
- Designer clothing: High-quality and well-kept designer clothing holds value and certain brands can be highly sought after for vintage pieces.
- Tapestry and sculpture: Price these similarly to how you would price art on canvas.
- Automobiles: Automobiles are always in demand, and classics or modern cars in good condition can catch prices very near fair market value.
Things That Don’t Sell Well at Estate Sales
- Old electronics and TVs: With the exception of a few things like IBM mechanical keyboards, which are highly sought after, old electronics don’t hold a lot of interest or value to many people these days.
- Pianos and organs: The market is pretty flooded with these large pieces (and they are hard to move).
- Brown furniture: Much of the high-quality, brown furniture that can be found in an estate sale just isn’t in style anymore. Today, people favor cheaply made, modern furniture from Ikea and the like.
- Collectible figurines: Though these can fetch excellent prices for the right buyer, they typically aren’t appreciated as much in the estate sale market. Things like Hummels or other porcelain figurines don’t typically suit the tastes of the current generations shopping at estate sales today.
- Books: Books can be difficult to sell at an estate sale, but there are a number of resellers that you can contact who deal only in books.
- China: Fine china also isn’t appreciated by today’s generations as it was decades ago. It may be better to sell it somewhere else, such as an antique shop, where it will find the market that appreciates it.
- China cabinets: Just as people’s collections of fine china used for special occasions are dwindling, the cabinets used to store these collections are no longer as popular.
- Decorative glassware: Vases and tchotkes and such aren’t extremely popular these days.
How to Price Estate Sale Items
Correct estate sale pricing takes expertise in a broad range of specialties and interests. Items sold in an estate sale are typically priced below what they would sell for through consignment or at an auction, and they are typically priced higher than they would be priced at a garage sale.
High-ticket items such as artwork, furniture or automobiles are usually sold individually, whereas smaller items such as kitchen appliances, tools, and clothing may be priced in lots. If you don’t know how to price household items for an estate sale, a professional can make helpful recommendations. Items that are old, in poor condition, or not “in vogue” may need to be priced rather aggressively if they are to sell at all.
The following are some factors to take into account when figuring out how to price estate sale items:
- Condition: Items that show a lot of wear and tear will not be valued as favorably as items in mint or near-mint condition.
- Demand: How popular is the item in the marketplace? Checking sites like eBay, Poshmark, and other online resources can give you an idea of the current demand for a particular item. For example, mid-century furniture is in; traditional brown furniture is out.
- Sentimental value: It is not uncommon for certain items to hold much greater sentimental value to a person than the market reflects.
- Flexibility: Allow room for flexibility in your pricing in the event that a buyer offers a lower price than the listed price.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Estate Sale Company?
Estate sale companies are typically paid by commission, taking a percentage of the revenue from the lot sold. This ranges from 40% to 60%, depending on the deal you negotiate. A number of different factors play a part in determining what the final commission will be; these factors will either lower or raise the percentage.
While this percentage may seem high, many consider it to be more than worth it when the benefits of using an estate sale company are brought into consideration. The benefits of using a professional estate sale company can maximize your profits tenfold when compared to selling things yourself in a garage sale (with much less work on your part) or selling items individually at auctions like eBay. It is not uncommon for companies to set a minimum sale amount to ensure they are compensated for their time and effort in hosting the sale by cataloging, marketing and displaying the items in their best light.
Negotiating a lower commission rate for larger and more expensive items like vehicles is often possible. A large estate containing many items that may need to be donated or disposed of if they do not sell may cost you a higher commission because of the extra work involved for the estate sale company you use. Similarly, a cluttered or messy house that entails a thorough cleaning or reorganizing before the sale will mean extra hours for the team sorting your belongings.
The benefits of hiring a professional estate sale company:
- Expertise of a personal property appraiser
- Tasteful staging of items in the home
- Tried and true marketing methods and materials
- Permitting is handled by the staff
- Cataloging of items and inventory
- Handling payments
Estate Sale Companies Make Pricing Easy
A professional estate sale company can be an invaluable tool in helping you figure out how to price household items for an estate sale. Holding an estate sale is a heavy undertaking for an individual so you’ll get the most bang for your buck with an estate sale company. Beyond the emotional burden that often comes with the task, sorting through an entire house is physically demanding. Pricing items takes expertise and cataloging them requires thorough organization. Once everything has been priced and organized, the items should be staged in their best light, the sale marketed appropriately, and all permitting requirements handled. If you are thinking of having an estate sale, contact Estate Pros today to schedule a free consultation.
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