Estate Sale Facts

Schedule a Free Consultation

1. What is an Estate Sale?

2. How do Estate Sales Work?

3. What do I do first?

4. What is the Difference between an Estate Sale, an Estate Liquidation and an Auction?

5. How Long does and Estate Sale Take?

6. Should Estate Sale Companies be Bonded?

7. When Should I Find an Estate Sale Company to Liquidate the Assets of the Estate?

8. What is the Commission Estate Sale Companies Charge to do an Estate Sale?

9. When will I Receive the Check for the Estate Sale?



1. What is an Estate Sale?

An Estate Sale, also known as a tag sale or estate liquidation, is a sale that is conducted at the home of the client (on-site) where all of the items for sale are cleaned, photographed, staged, priced, marketed, and sold.  The “public” is invited into the home to buy the assets of the estate.  This is the most viable method for getting rid of all of the items in an estate at one time.  Houston estate sale companies are each unique in how they conduct an estate liquidation and it is really important to get a good feel for the estate sale company.  A company should be willing to answer any question you have about the estate sale process and create a seamless and transparent estate sale.


2. How do Estate Sales Work?

            Basically, how do you do an estate sale?  First, if you are not a professional or have a very good idea of what to expect (e.g., you have been going to estate sales for years and occasionally help out with one) you SHOULD NOT DO YOUR OWN ESTATE SALE.  We receive at least 5 panicked phone calls each year where someone has started the process on his/her own and did not realize the amount of work involved in getting the items organized, cleaned, listed, marketed and sold.  There are 20+ Houston estate sales each weekend and efficiently and effectively marketing the items is crucial to having a successful estate sale.   Generally, however, an estate sale company in Houston will come into the location of the sale and immediately take the steps necessary to being marketing the estate sale.  Pictures will be taken once the items are cleaned and then retaken one the items are staged.  During the pricing stage, we make a list of all of the items in the home  with a value of $30.00 or more and provide that list along with pictures to the client.  The sale usually takes place over a 3–day time period at the end of which the itemized list is reconciled with the sales receipts so that the client has an idea of what his/her items on the list sold for.  


3. What do I do first?

            The first thing you do is DO NOT THROW ANYTHING AWAY other than paperwork that may be clearly identified as personal.  And honestly, you do not even have to do this as we thoroughly go through every nook and cranny in the home and safely dispose of personal information.  We ask you not to throw anything away because the more items in the home the more people will be willing to choose your estate sale over others taking place on the same weekend.  Also, $.25 is $.25…  we will sell everything from paperclips to houses- maximizing our chances to earn every quarter we can.   If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath…  we have seen it all before and in every condition imaginable.  Please, do not stress.  


4. What is the Difference between an Estate Sale, an Estate Liquidation and an Auction?

            The term Estate Sale and Estate Liquidation are synonymous and in past years was also known as a tag sale.  Houston Estate Sale Companies use these terms interchangeably to describe the selling of the assets in a home over a short time period (average of 3 days).    95% of the time it is recommended that a client conduct an estate sale before sending any items to auction as the Estate Sale Company has control over the pricing of items and what they choose to sell the item for.  At an auction house, this variable is not controlled for and I have had many sad family members contact me with auction house horror stories.  Additionally, with a full house it does not make sense to


5. How Long does and Estate Sale Take?

            A good estate sale company (and a reputable estate sale company) will require a minimum of 2 weeks to set up an estate sale and approximately 3 days to “take-down” the sale.  Total, this is approximately a 3 to 4 week process from beginning to end.  There are Houston Estate Sale Companies that say they will only need one week from beginning to end to complete the estate sale.  While this is physically possible, having those 2 to 3 weeks is necessary in order to adequately market the sale to achieve a 90 to 95% sell out of the estate.  There are methods of marketing around the time constraint used when we have made an exception to the 2 week minimum but it is more costly to achieve the desired result.


6. Should Estate Sale Companies be Bonded?

            Verifying a company is bonded is basically a way of determining IF the company can be bonded.  In other words, does the principle of the business have a felony?  In my opinion, instead of asking if a company is bonded - especially since the bond merely protects the company-simply ask if the owner(s) has ever been convicted of a felony.  This is a more direct question and allows you to use your knowledge and intuition to determine proper fit.


7. When Should I Find an Estate Sale Company to Liquidate the Assets of the Estate?

            NOW!  Most people wait until 4 to 6 weeks before their desired estate sale date and typically the better estate sale companies are booked 2 months in advance.  Sometimes we do have a cancellation or are required to move an estate sale to a different weekend and therefore can accommodate a client who got a late start.   Do your due diligence so you can make an educated decision in hiring an estate sale company instead of feeling trapped into choosing whomever is available.  


8. What is the Commission Estate Sale Companies Charge to do an Estate Sale?

            The commission is typically between 35% and 45% for estate sales under $30,000, between 30% and 35% for estate sales between $30,0001 and $50,000.  Estates over $50,000 will be negotiated depending on items in the estate and the required steps to be taken in order to sell those items.  Also, expect to split the costs of the estate sale with the estate sale company but require the estate sale company to be responsible for the fees up-front, to itemize the expenses on the financial summary and, in most cases, state within the contract the maximum amount to be spent on conducting the estate sale (a cost cap).


9. When will I Receive the Check for the Estate Sale?

            Within 5 to 7 business days of the last day of the estate sale.  Outside of major natural disasters, there is no viable reason a check cannot be issued within this time frame- do not listen to excuses.  Make certain this time frame is clearly stated in the contract.

Juniper Lane Estate Sale

1620 S. Friendswood Drive #123, Friendswood, Texas 77546

Ph: 832-680-1150

Email: info@JuniperLaneEstateSales.com

Home Services Company Information Blog- The Estate Seller Estate Sale FAQ's Newletter Signup