Hiring an Estate Service vs. Selling the Items Yourself

Have you inherited an estate? If you’re like most people who have inherited a home filled with items, you likely have little idea of what you have, what it’s worth, and what to do next.

Most likely, you’ll want to sell at least some of the estate. Two options are available. You can sell the items yourself or work with an estate service. Which is the best choice? Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of each:

An Overview of Estate Services and Self-Selling

An estate service is a company that handles every aspect of the sale. Professionals from the company will arrive at your house, office, or other location. They’ll inspect, photograph, and appraise the items in your house. Then, they’ll advertise and run the estate sale, which typically takes place over three days. Their fee is based on a percentage of the profits.

Selling items yourself requires more effort on your part. You’ll need to research the items, promote, and run the sale. On the plus side, you can potentially make more money, because you’re not splitting the profits with anyone else.

Which Option is Better?

Generally, when liquidating large estates, most people get better results overall by hiring an estate company instead of doing everything independently. The main benefits of an estate sale company include:

Professional Appraisals

Determining the fair market value of the items in an estate is difficult for a non-expert. A standard internet search doesn’t provide enough information. You risk either undervaluing your items, which means you’re not making as much money as you could, or overvaluing them, which makes them hard to sell.

Most estate companies also offer professional appraisal services. They’ll examine the items in person and give you a digitally bound document that lists each item’s value plus other relevant information such as its dimensions and history.

Note: Only hire appraisers who follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). These appraisal standards are accepted by courts, insurance companies, and other professional organizations.    

Easier and Faster

Professional estate sale services have the staff and experience necessary to execute a sale quickly. A whole house appraisal usually takes one day, while the sale is held over the weekend.

An established, local company will also have an existing network of potential buyers interested in upcoming sales. With just a quick email or social media post, an estate sale company can attract the attention of thousands of people.

More Money

Many people who decide to run their own estate sale believe they’ll end up making more money than if they hire a service. However, that’s not always what happens. Using an estate service can end up more profitable than a self-run sale for several reasons:

  • Priced to Sell – Accurate appraisals allow the company to price your items for maximum profit
  • Built-In Audience – Local appraisal companies have access to local networks of motivated buyers.
  • Proven Sale Plan – Professional estate sale companies use a specific method to boost sales

The typical estate sale takes place over three days. On the first day, all prices are firm, with no negotiation allowed. On the second day, all prices are reduced by a set value, usually 50%. Finally, on the third day, negotiations are accepted. The process encourages buyers to act quickly if they want something while also reducing the total volume of items as much as possible. (Specifics will differ between companies, but the basic process is usually similar.)

How to Select an Estate Sale Company

If you’ve decided that you want to hire an estate service, how do you know which company is the best choice for your needs?

First, how long has the company been in business? You want to hire a team with extensive experience evaluating all types of items typically sold at estate sales, including antiques, heirlooms, and collectibles.

Next, does the company have a strong local presence? A local company not only has a built-in network of buyers, but they also understand the best advertising methods for the area.  

Finally, is their pricing transparent? Most estate services charge a percentage based on the total money earned from the sale. For appraisals and other services, you’ll likely pay a flat rate.

Final Thoughts

While an estate sale is possible to run on your own, most people end up with better results by hiring a professional, local estate sale service. It’s a fast, easy way to liquidate the bulk of an estate quickly – and wind up with more money in your pocket!

To learn more about how a professional estate sale or appraisal can help you profit from unwanted items, or to schedule a free consultation, contact Prestige Estate Services today.