q Exactly what is an estate sale ?

When we think estate sale we normally think of those items left behind when a person dies. Although an estate sale can be the estate of a living person or family as well. If you are down-sizing or moving you are fully qualified to hold an estate sale. Any time you are selling out an estate for any reason it can be called an estate sale.

q Do I have enough items to hold an estate sale?

Typically if you are looking to liquidate an entire household you will have enough items to warrant a full 2 – 3 day estate sale.The average household being a minimum of 2 bedrooms, living area, kitchen etc. However despite the size of the house, we usually recommend that there be at least $4 – 5,000 worth of sellable items. These items should be a good mix of everyday household items (small appliances, electronics, cleaning supplies, books, clothes, etc.), furniture, tools or yard items, decorator items (mirrors, candlesticks, artwork), table and bed linens, kitchenware, collector items or antiques cars, trucks, boats, etc.

q Why should we hire an estate sale company versus doing it ourselves?

Running a successful estate sale can quickly turn into a full-time job. For most families it is hard to juggle and find the necessary time to devote to the project. Pricing, organizing, research, set-up, marketing the event, working the event(and finding enough volunteers to help), bartering with buyers, and final clean up is not only time consuming but can also be mentally exhausting for family members trying to stage their own sale. How do you know which items are worth what? How will you guarantee a good turn out to your sale? What happens when your 2-3 week project has suddenly turned into months? By hiring Big Bend Estate Services it’s as easy as handing over the key and letting us do the work. We have been doing this since 1993 and are very good at it. We know how to price accordingly and research items quickly. We have an extensive list of buyers and dealers and our extensive advertising and marketing always insures a good crowd. We take the stress off you and turn what would have been a few months long project into 2-4 weeks tops. Factor in how much your time (and sanity) is worth to you and we think you’ll find that our commission rate is well worth the service!

q Should we clean up the house or dispose of items prior to bringing in an estate sale company?

NO! Please whatever you do try and leave the premises “as-is”. We appreciate the fact that many times families want to clean or de-clutter the house before calling on us , however we have found that many times items that families threw out or donated ahead of time were items that could have been sold in the estate sale. Please leave everything as is. It’s our job/service to go through and determine which items are sellable.

q We’ve sold, hauled off or cleared the home of all the “small” stuff, would you still be interested in selling the furniture only?

Unfortunately many times we have been called in after the families have de-cluttered the home of all the small stuff, thinking they were making our jobs easier, however, in cases like this we usually have not been left with enough items to be able to hold an estate sale. A successful estate sale needs to be a good mix of small and large items. A good majority of the sale comes from small items such as household cleaners, books, tools, linens, clothes, décor items, etc. In order for us to market a sale we have to take lots of pictures, our buyers want to see that there are lots of items for them to pick through. Rule of thumb is the more items you have in the sale the better.

q What items sell well at an Estate sale? Do we need to have lots of antiques?

Please don’t mis-understand, antiques and collectibles always help a sale, however, they are not required to have a successful sale. Some of our most successful sales have been in homes where there was not a single antique or collectible. In these cases having good clean furniture, lots of small items, décor pieces, etc. helped the sale tremendously. In todays economy most buyers attending estate sales are looking for good bargains on every day use items. Here is a short list of items that are selling really well at our estate sales right now:

  • Cars, trucks, boats, AV’s
  • Tools of any type
  • Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, yard equipment etc.
  • Patio Furniture & Grills
  • Vintage items (personal collections of all types)
  • Costume jewelry
  • Gold, silver & coins
  • Guns & Hunting equipment
  • WW2 memorabilia (all militaria)
  • Nice home décor items
  • Furniture (if in good , clean condition)

And don’t worry if you do have antiques or collectibles, we always have that market for those items as well!

q Are there any items that traditionally don’t do well at a sale?

There are a few items that we see at almost every other sale that typically are still remaining after the sale:

  • Pianos & Organs – unless it is a Steinway. Pianos and organs can be very hard to find a new home for. Sometimes they sell , sometimes they don’t.
  • Older Furniture-if furniture is outdated (and not considered antique or vintage) it can sometimes be hard to sell. If it is stained, ripped or has pet or smoke odors it can also be hard to sell.
  • Older electronics – cabinet TV’s and stereos, some are considered collectible and vintage, others are just considered outdated.
  • Encyclopedia sets.
  • Curio or wardrobe cabinets.
  • Items that are chipped, cracked or damaged.

However, if you have any of these items in your estate we ask that you leave them in place until we have had the opportunity to assess them.

q What if you find personal items (money, paperwork, photographs etc) while preparing the house for the sale?

Actually this is quite common and even normal. Even in cases where the family has thoroughly gone through the house, by the time we clean out every drawer, closet cabinet, etc. it is inevitable that we will find something. No worries though, we box all of these items up for you and either make arrangements for you to pick them up or ship them to you if you are not in the area.

q How long does the estate sale last?

The average estate sale is a 2 day event (Friday and Saturday), in some cases we may plan a 3 day sale. Prior to the sale we need on average 2-3 weeks to prepare the house, price all the items, market the sale etc. This all of course depends upon the size of the home and contents.

q Is Big Bend Estate Services licensed and insured?

Yes, we are a licensed and insured business.

q How much does the average estate sale make?

Because each house is different this is a hard question to answer. Upon our initial consultation we will try and provide you with a baseline ball park figure. Please keep in mind though this could change if we discover new items while preparing the sale or if items are removed from the sale.

q How successful is the average estate sale?

Most of the time we are able to sell 75 – 80% of the estates sellable items. The remaining items are items that usually should go to donation or possibly the trash. If anything of value is left after the sale we can call in a dealer/consignment company, or make a donation in your name.

q Do you clean the house after the sale?

No. Our job is to liquidate the house of its assets. We can retain cleaning services at your request. For any large/excessive trash removal we get estimates and order outside service.

q When is the best time to hold an estate sale?

Anytime is a good time.

q How is Big Bend Estate Services paid / what is your fee?

We are paid on commission only. It is in our best interest to insure that you have a successful sale! At the end of the sale our commission is deducted from the proceeds of the sale. No upfront fee’s, no minimum guarantees. The commission rate is based on the scope of the project as well as the final sale amount.