Toss It Tuesday – Downsizing with Estate Sales – Part Two

estate sale shopping cart signIn Part One of this series, we learned that most estate sales occur when the homeowner is downsizing.

Now you will learn more of the important things to know when considering using an estate company to conduct your downsizing sale.

What do estate sales companies charge? Estate companies generally charge 30% to 35% commission on the sale’s gross proceeds. Additional fees may also be charged for transferring some items off-site for sale. Even with the commission charged, an estate sale will almost always net more than a garage sale you hold on your own (and you don’t have to do as much work!)

What are estate auctions? Estate auctions, which can be held on-site or off-site, work a little differently, although generally cost the same. On-site auctions are similar to estate sales, except items are not priced in advance. Instead, items are placed strategically and auctioned in an order pre-determined by the auctioneer. When liquidating a large estate, it is more practical and efficient to have an estate sale or an on-site estate auction.

Off-site sales can be advantageous when the sale is not extensive and items can be easily transported to the auction house. The auctioneer will come to your home to evaluate your belongings, and then arrange for your items to be to be boxed and transported to their site. You will most likely need to gather together the items for auction. Your auction will be scheduled and the date advertised, just like an estate sale.

What do estate auction companies charge? Estate auctions typically charge between 25% and 35% of the gross proceeds, comparable to estate sale fees. You can also expect a transportation fee for removing items from your home, depending on the location and the amount of items being transported.

What is right for me – sale or auction? Time is the biggest deciding factor – if you are planning on staying in your home right up to closing, there will probably not be enough time for an estate sale, which can take from a week to a month to prepare for and hold. If you can move out of your home (including packing and taking the belongings you want, and leaving the rest) a few weeks before the new owners take possession, an estate sale is viable. Your time frame will help you determine whether an estate sale or auction makes sense for you.

Will I really get market value for my “stuff”? There is a big difference between “market value” and “resale value.” Often we expect the price we paid for the item to determine its re-sale value. while in fact, most items depreciate in value, with the exception of some antiques and collectibles.

Your 20-year-old refrigerator may not bring $20, if it sells at all. Your old sleeper sofa might yield an end-of-year tax deduction if donated to charity. The old pot you’ve been using in your garden for years, could sell for $50. This illustrates why using professional and reputable estate sale companies or auctioneers to value and sell your belongings, rather than doing it on your own, will generally maximize the proceeds resulting from the sale.


DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

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