Estate sales are huge endeavors.
Within a few days, a successful estate sale will convert the whole home’s contents into cash and contribution receipts, leaving the home clean and ready for resale.
The actual duration of the procedure is much longer than a few days. A successful three-day estate sale is the result of several weeks or months of planning.
If a deceased or relocating family or friend designated you the executor of their estate, you have a lot on your plate. It might be daunting to dispose of antiques, keep other heirs satisfied, and adhere to the preferences of the estate owner.
You may choose to conduct the estate sale yourself. A professional estate sale liquidator might also be considered.
Whether you decide on a DIY estate sale or to employ experts, many estate sale principles are universal. Prior to handing over the keys to an estate sale service provider, you will be responsible for completing a number of duties.
In this guide to conducting the ideal estate sale, we outline these duties. This estate sale checklist can help you avoid expensive errors, logistical problems, and family conflicts.
You need a strategy. This checklist outlines the essential stages of this strategy. The following fundamental duties are addressed:
- Search the Home
- Secure or Remove Personal or Sensitive Items
- Photograph the Contents of the Home
- Create an Organizational Binder
- Consult an Appraiser or Do Your Own Appraisal
- Arrange the Home
- Determine a Disbursal Strategy
- Hire a Professional
Following these steps makes estate sale preparation much more straightforward. Your estate auction will almost certainly:
- Generate maximum income.
- Function smoothly and effectively.
- Create satisfaction and agreement among heirs.
- Respect the deceased estate owner’s intentions and legacy.
1. Search The Home
When preparing a home for an estate sale, every nook and cranny must be meticulously explored. Do not subcontract this work! As a responsible executor, you need to know what is in that home, even if it means breathing some dust and confronting a few roaches.
Otherwise, irreplaceable monetary or emotional assets might “disappear,” be lost, or be taken by different contractors or service providers.
The owner of the property may have resided there for decades. Things will be concealed. Check behind furniture, in closets and attics, behind loose baseboards, and between wall studs in damaged areas. Turn to carpet over. Examine each drawer and cabinet. Don some ratty attire and wiggle into crawl areas and basements. Sort through garments, cartons, and books.
It is impossible to predict what long-lost heirlooms may be discovered. Some of it may be restricted to your eyes alone. It is unpleasant labor, but someone must do it. That individual is you.
2. Secure Or Remove Personal Or Sensitive Items
It may be inappropriate for heirs to access some things. These consist of:
- Journals and diaries
- Financial records
- Personal correspondence
Determine whether confidential documents may be deleted, stored, or shared with family and the general public.
Firearms demand particular attention. Ensure that they have been emptied and secured. Consult with experts if necessary.
Additional objects to protect include:
- Family photos
- Gold, jewels, and other precious substances
- Food and alcohol
- Sexually explicit materials
3. Photograph The Contents Of The Home
Take the greatest photographs possible. They may eventually be beneficial for advertising the transaction. The objective of the first photographic run is to record the contents. Photograph each item separately. Photographs may assist heirs in deciding what to preserve and what to sell soon.
Advice for the photography archive estate sale:
Organize photographs by category (all the china, all the furniture, etc.).
You may upload digital picture files to a folder in the cloud or save them to an external hard disc.
Share photographs with heirs using compact discs (CD), email attachments, or shared cloud storage services such as Dropbox and iCloud.
4. Create An Organizational Binder
The organization is crucial for estate sale preparation. The more information you can gather before to contacting an estate sale liquidator, the better.
Create an actionable list binder. It will be useful for communicating with heirs, contractors, and the estate sale liquidator, should you decide to use one. The binder must contain:
- A general listing
- Your photography archive (photo prints in sleeves or printouts on basic paper)
- Items that could be valuable
- Items specifically bequeathed to heirs
- An estate sale checklist of tasks
- A list of professionals who may be engaged in the estate sale, includes liquidators, real estate agents, contractors, and lawyers.
5. Consult An Appraiser Or Do Your Own Appraisal
This may seem to be the responsibility of the estate sale liquidator. The liquidator will do a final valuation, but you must know in advance the potential value of some assets.
An appraiser may do a speedy examination of the home for $75 to $500 per hour. In addition to antique stores, swap meetings, thrift shops, and eBay’s “completed auctions” and “sold products” sections, you may study the pricing of similar things at swap meets, thrift shops, and swap meets.
Why must you assess the worth of your belongings prior to the estate sale? Because heirs will likely have first dibs on memories and keepsakes. If a will does not specify who receives what, disputes may ensue. The will or the heirs may stipulate that valuable things should be distributed equally or according to a percentage plan. How can an equal distribution of commodities be made if the value of the products is unknown?
You may require an evaluation before employing a liquidator for the following reasons:
- if a lawyer wants a copy.
- If you believe that some goods are of significant worth.
- if contesting heirs present themselves.
6. Arrange The Home
Ultimately, the liquidator will be responsible for transforming the home into an orderly marketplace. Since heirs will have the opportunity to peruse the inventory for mementos, you will need to organize the items beforehand.
Get everything out of those dusty drawers and nooks and into the open, where heirs may examine it. You are not required to establish a Williams Sonoma shop. Just get everything relatively visible and arranged.
This will also make the liquidator’s work much simpler. Yes, you are employing a liquidation to make your life simpler, but the easier the liquidator’s work, the more lucrative the sale will be.
Clear away clutter, create walking pathways throughout the property, and publish a copy of the home’s basic inventory in many locations.
7. Determine A Disbursal Strategy
It will soon be time to invite the heirs to the estate. Before it occurs, verify your plan. Before the heirs gather to pick through the deceased estate owner’s stuff, make the plan public.
If the deceased left a will that specifies how the assets are to be distributed, your work has become much simpler. Follow the will’s instructions.
In rare instances, the will may be ambiguous. There may be disputing heirs or those who assert that the will is illegal and they are entitled to a share of the assets. Conflicting heirs are a burden for estate counsel. In the case of an ambiguous will, you as executor may be accountable for the distribution strategy. Examples include:
- Drawing lots for the first pick.
- For the initial choice, a hat is used to choose random numbers.
- Conducting a lottery for the first selection.
- Set a date for the distribution and inform the heirs.
8. Hire A Professional
After the heirs have claimed souvenirs, it is time to contact a professional estate sale company. Even if you want to conduct the estate sale yourself, you should have a professional appraise your inventory.
Some objects may seem useless to you. Why not give away your old dishes or toys? Who will be interested?
The bulk of an estate sale is not comprised of expensive objects such as artwork or antique furniture. Customers attend estate sales because of the range of prices.
They desire the toys and dishes in question. Although prices may be cheap, they add up. Thousands of dollars of the proceeds from your estate sale will come from the items you were planning to discard, including but not limited to:
- Small kitchenware and appliances
- Bedding and linen
- Outdoor or garden things
- Small decorations
- Broken jewelry
- Obsolete stereos
- janitorial supplies
- Office Supplies
- Craft materials
- outdated publications and advertising
On the other end of the spectrum, it is possible that you are unaware of which products have excessive worth. A collection of dusty records may include early pressings of rare recordings that bring thousands of dollars on the collectors’ market!
Estate Sale Pro Tip: Do not discard anything! You do not know what will add value to your sale until you have participated in several estate sales.
Before discarding or donating anything, consult a professional, such as an appraiser or a liquidator.
If you decide to engage a professional estate sale liquidator, the binder you created in Step 4 will be useful. To develop a list of suggested applicants for an estate sale liquidator interview, consult:
- Friends and relatives
- Attorneys and accountants in your network who have Yelp, Google, or other testimonial websites
Associations of estate sale liquidators, such as the American Society of Estate Sale Liquidators (ASEL) and the National Estate Sale Association, exist (NESA)
Before interviewing estate sale liquidators, ensure you have the following information:
- What do you plan to sell and what you will retain
- What the most precious goods are typically valued at?
- A list of questions to ask applicant liquidators
This estate sale checklist gives a path to a successful estate sale. Learn what questions to ask while interviewing an estate sale liquidator by clicking here.