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What is an Estate Sale and How Do They Work?

An estate sale is a type of sale that is held to liquidate a large portion or all of the possessions of an estate. Not to be mistaken with a garage sale which takes place in the driveway and/or yard of the home, an estate sales takes place within the home and is coordinated by an expert in the field of estate sales.

An estate sale can be used for a variety of reasons, including the death of the estate owner, downsizing, moving, or simply wanting to get rid of unwanted items. Estate sales can be a great way to sell personal property and make some money, while also helping to clear out a home.

How Does an Estate Sale Work?

Typically, an estate sale is organized by a professional estate sale company or individual who specializes in estate sales who will work with the family or executor of the estate to sort through the belongings to decide what items are going to be sold. The estate sale company will make great efforts to ensure that the estate sale is well attended to generate the most sales including:

  • Organize the items for sale
  • Price all of the items
  • Take photographs of each item
  • Handle all marketing of the estate sale
  • Provide a list of items with prices to attendees

On the day of the sale, people will arrive at the home and browse the items. They can make offers on the items that peak their interest, and negotiate directly with the estate sale company. Once a price is agreed upon, the buyer can purchase the item and take it with them.

Estate sales can be a great way to find unique and valuable items at a lower price than you would find them elsewhere, and yet, buyers should remember that the items are often used and may not be in perfect condition. Additionally, estate sales can be emotional for the family of the estate owner, so it is important to be respectful and sensitive when attending an estate sale.

When is an Estate Sale Likely To Be Used?

Death of the Estate Owner

Estate sales can be used for a number of reasons with one of the most common being death of the estate owner. When someone passes away, their possessions are often left behind and need to be sorted through and sold. Estate sales can be a way to help the family liquidate the estate easily without having to take on the task themselves.

Downsizing or New Living Situation

Another reason an estate sale may be used is when the estate owner is downsizing or moving to a new living situation. If someone is moving to a smaller home or retiring to a different location, they may not be able to take all of their possessions with them. In this case, an estate sale can be a way to sell unwanted items and make the moving process much easier.

Saying Goodbye to Unwanted Items

Some people simply just want to get rid of unwanted items that are no longer used while making some money in the process. An estate sale can be a great way to do this. Rather than trying to sell items themselves, an estate sale allows someone to sell a large number of items at once and attract a larger pool of potential buyers.

How Much Does an Estate Sale Company Cost?

Typically there is no up-front cost for hiring an estate sale company. Typically, the estate sale company collects a commission based on a percentage of the sale of items from the estate sale. Be sure to determine the percentage split in writing prior to committing to any particular estate sale company.

If you are interested in attending an estate sale, be sure to do your research and be respectful of the family and their belongings. Most estate sale companies advertise the sale on

Estate Sale Companies in Ponte Vedra Beach

China Cat Estate Sales

Blue Moon Estate Sales

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About the Author

Jenn Heller is the Operations Manager for The Volen Group, Keller Williams Luxury International, a top real estate team in Ponte Vedra Beach. Jenn has over 18 years experience in Real Estate all in Ponte Vedra Beach, she is an Atlantic Beach resident via Long Island, NY since 1991, a book worm, and loves sports, dogs and the beach.

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3 Responses to “What is an Estate Sale and How Do They Work?”

  • Thank you for letting us know that an estate sale is organized by a professional company that will work with the family or executor of the estate to ensure that the sale will be well-attended and will generate profit. My grandma passed away recently, and since she has a lot of antique vases, furniture, and jewelry she left behind, I am planning to get them sold soon. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for services to hire for help with our deceased estate clearance soon.

    • Gwinn Volen
      Written on

      Hi Clare- We’re so sorry for your loss. For sure an estate sale company can help and make the process super easy. If you are local to Ponte Vedra Beach we are happy to give you some recommendations.

  • Estate sales are a fascinating way to acquire unique items and sometimes even pieces of history. This article provides a clear explanation of what estate sales are and how they operate, making it easier for newcomers to understand the process. It’s amazing how these sales can offer a glimpse into someone’s life and legacy through their belongings. Thanks for demystifying estate sales! ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ›๏ธ๐Ÿ“œ๐Ÿ‘

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