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Keep This, Sell That: Making the Most of a Winter Estate Sale

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, downsizing and maybe even moving into a senior living community (like Melrose Meadows, hint, hint), the one thing that might be holding you back is that overwhelming task of getting rid of items you’ve accumulated over the years. You have some really great stuff! Now is the time to work on it. Wintery days when you’re stuck inside are perfect for going through your home (room by room) and designating items to keep, donate, and gift to family members. But what do you do with all that other stuff that won’t fit into your new lifestyle, and are too awesome to give away?

Cha-ching!!! Turn those leftovers into cash!

Hosting an estate sale (yes, even in the dead of winter and during a pandemic) can totally be worth your time and effort.


We all know spring is associated with cleaning out attics, garages, and basements--which is why there is never a shortage of garage and estate sales when the weather is warm. But winter estate sales… now THAT’S a clever move. Think about it… no competition means your estate sale can draw all the interest and attract all the serious bargain hunters. Cha-ching! Cha! CHING!


If you think an estate sale is just a garage sale on steroids, think again. Estate sales traditionally feature higher volume and lots of big-ticket items. Additionally, they require more time, planning, research, and advertising to be successful. And just because you’ve watched every episode of Antiques Roadshow does NOT mean you’re ready to price and plan one on your own. Estate Sales Specialists are experienced professionals who can assist you with everything from sorting your items and securing appraisals, to staffing the sale and arranging a final clean-up of the property.


If you know a friend who has had an estate sale, ask them about their experience and who they used because recommendations are priceless. If you don’t have a referral, search sites like EstateSales.net or EstateSales.org to find companies in your area. Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to vet the professional you are considering. Scour the internet for the individual’s name or company to read reviews and whether any serious complaints have been filed against them.


When you’ve narrowed down your search and are ready to speak with an estate sales specialist, ask them the following questions:

· What services do you provide?

· What and how do you charge? (In addition to various fees, the typical estate sale professional will keep anywhere from 25-40 percent of the sale proceeds)

· How do you determine prices on the merchandise?

· Are you bonded and/or insured?

· Who will be responsible for staging and transforming my living space into a retail marketplace?

· How will you keep the property secure?

· Do you plan to discount the merchandise? When and how will you do so?

· How will you advertise my sale? (Along with good old-fashioned neighborhood signage, the most successful estate sales are advertised through email, websites and social media.)

· What COVID-19 safety protocols do you have in place? (It is not far-fetched to ask if there will be an online offering for buyers who don’t feel comfortable with the traditional estate sale experience.)


Once you’ve decided on a reputable estate sale professional, have them put EVERYTHING in writing. The important dates, fees, assessment of your property, marketing details, deposit information and post-sale disposal plan should be included in a contract to protect you both. Once you’ve agreed to the terms of the contract, step aside and let the professionals go to work. Before you know it, you’ll need a smaller moving truck and a bigger wallet!



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