[This article was originally published in October 2017 and has been revised and updated.]
We typically associate an estate sale with the passing of loved ones, especially in those situations where there is no family to inherit an estate.
But there are circumstances when you may need to have your own estate sale. Is that possible?
Your Own Estate Sale: When Some Things Just Have to Go
DIY estate sales.
It is a growing trend in the United States. And it's not always the result of the death of an estate owner. There are an increasing number of older Americans looking to offload much of their personal belongings through "DIY" estate sales.
Who are these people?
Baby Boomers, for the most part. That massive segment of the American population who made up the largest age group beginning in the mid-60s until just recently.
According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau,
Born after World War II, from 1946 to 1964, the oldest boomers will turn 74 next year. When the last census was taken in 2010, the oldest had not even turned 65. Since then, about 10,000 a day have crossed that age threshold and by 2030, all boomers will be at least age 65.
At an estimated 73 million, this generation is the second-largest age group after their children, the millennials, born from 1982 to 2000.
Older adults are projected to outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in U.S. history by 2034, according to Census Bureau projections.
And because the population in the U.S. is quickly aging, there are greater numbers of choosing to downsize their lifestyle. This is in addition to increased numbers that are simply passing away as the bulk of our population ages.
While not an especially new trend, the act of hosting an estate sale for one's own goods and belongings is on the rise. Dramatically so during the last five to ten years.
As one article noted a few years back,
The boomer generation is the largest group of individuals to date. The amount of “stuff” that we have collected is larger than any other generation. Many of us inherited our parents and grandparents possessions and with the monetary success that many baby boomers have enjoyed they used their money to purchase and fill their homes with furniture, art, household items, collectibles and just about anything you could think of.
The job of downsizing has become a burden. Especially when the younger generations have purchased their own belongings, want different styles and are unaware of the value of many of your possessions in your home. The minimalist movement has also had an effect.
With millennials lack of interest in their parents possessions this is the time to find and hire an estate sale company or estate liquidator.
The article mentioned the rise of the minimalist movement in the U.S. and elsewhere. This has, indeed, added fuel to the downsizing fire that seems to have lit up many couples and individuals as they seek to simplify their lives by offloading much of their "stuff."
Regardless of the reasons why, estate sales are on the rise and people are finding that they need help and guidance when navigating an often unfamiliar task.
What Is An Estate Sale?
An estate sale, also called a tag sale in some parts of the country, is a method of liquidating the belongings of a family or estate. They are usually conducted by professional firms as they far more extensive and structure than a typical garage or yard sale.
Usually the public is invited into the home and given the opportunity to purchase any item that have been marked and priced for sale. Not everything is always included as there are sometimes items not for sale because the family has decided to keep them or new owners of the house have made them part of a contract to buy the house.
The property, or estate, liquidation business is primarily driven by four unfortunate life events, which are are the death of a parent or other family member, downsizing due to major lifestyle changes, divorce, and crippling debt.
As a result, there are many people who need help cleaning out their own or someone else's property. Many times this can be couples who have decided to liquidate their assets as part of a divorce settlement. Sometimes it may simply be an individual or couple moving to take on a new job or career.
All of these events can require professional estate cleanout services.
This is because, regardless of the reasons for the estate sale, the task of clearing out furniture, large appliances, household goods and other assorted items can be especially challenging. And the longer a couple or family has lived in a home, the greater the volume of household goods and belongings that tend to accumulate.
What Happens in an Estate Sale?
Estate sales are conducted in several ways. Typically, items are marked with a selling price, and buyers usually pick up items and carry them until they are ready to check out. If an item is too large to carry, it can usually be marked as “Sold.” In addition, some companies accept bids for items.
As far as actually entering the sale, most companies use a “First Come, First Served” approach policy. Typically, a line will form at the door of the home where the sale is taking place. Depending on the location, the line may start several hours before the sale opens. This is the most common system used.
There are other approaches used for holding estate sales, as well. According to estatesales.net,
Some companies use a Number System, and they usually have some sort of policy concerning this, so be sure to check with the individual companies for their rules. There are also companies that use the Self Start Number System. This type of system is vulnerable to many abuses, and companies that use this system usually do have a strict policy on how they are handled.
Sign-up sheets are also used and are similar to self-start numbering. Again, there is a chance of abuse here too. Some companies allow everyone in line to enter the sale, while others only give limited access.
Managing Your Own Estate Sale by Yourself
This is a process that can be both stressful and complicated.
For that reason, many people choose to hire an estate sale service. However, there is no reason you cannot manage your own estate sale. In fact, with the proper planning and cleaning up beforehand, hosting and managing your own estate sale is quite feasible.
Author Teresa Mears, writing for money.usnews.com, offers these five tips for selling off an estate:
- Identify items that may be valuable. Do some research to discover what those items may sell for and where you can sell them. This could include online research, visiting antique stores and calling auction houses and vintage stores.
- Bring in a professional if you need help. If you can't value items yourself, hire an expert. An appraiser can give you a realistic view of what items might sell for and which items are worth your time to market.
- Make sure family members get a chance to take mementos. This could involve drawing lots, a family meeting or inviting family and friends to take items from those you don't plan to sell. Determining which items should be should be sold will vary according to the preferences and needs of the family. A simple discussion among family members often helps make this decision.
- Decide whether a yard sale is worth the work. People who go to yard sales expect to get rock-bottom prices. If you have enough good items, you may recoup several hundred or even several thousand dollars. But if you don't have much to sell, you might be better off donating and taking a tax deduction.
- Research before hiring a company to conduct the sale. You might decide to bring on a professional to help you with the actual "selling" portion of your estate sale. If so, be sure to get referrals from trusted professionals,. Check credentials and make sure you outline everything in a written contract, including what percentage the company will take and how much prices on the items will be lowered from what has been originally discussed.
Understand, however, that this option, while it may be easier and even faster, is likely to yield you the smallest amount of money for the sale of your items.
How to Easily Dispose of Any Unsold and Unwanted Items
Fortunately, at Junk King, we make it easy for you to get rid of any unwanted items remaining from your estate sale. We are also punctual, patient, and respectful and we treating you with care.
Whether you are handling an estate sale, are downsizing, or dealing with the daunting and formidable task of clearing a deceased relatives home, place of business or any other property left behind, we can help you through.
Our estate cleanout services are used by landlords, attorneys, banks and homeowners who need to dispose of unneeded and unwanted items, junk and clutter that might prevent or slow down the process of handing over an estate.
Our team specializes in large debris removal and furniture hauling. We can be on location in mere minutes, so call us today! Our crew is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.
And, best of all, we do all the heavy lifting!
You simply point and we haul your trash items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees.
Our professional and insured junk removal and disposal team will call 15 to 30 minutes before we arrive at your home. And, once we’re there, we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your bulk trash will take up in our truck, along with any other junk items you want to get rid of.
So, ready to get rid of all your junk with a green company? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Just make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).