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From an A+ BBB rated business.
There are many reasons why someone would be looking to sell a fully furnished house. Whether planning an international move, dealing with an inherited estate or illness of a loved one, finding a new home for beds and couches, one by one, is not an easy task.
Fortunately, selling a house full of furniture is not nearly as intimidating as it might sound. We’re here to share what you need to know when planning what is referred to as an estate sale.
The basics of estate sales
In theory, it’s possible to organize your estate sale the same way you would hold a standard yard sale. However, it’s not worth the headache when you already have plenty on your mind. Monitoring everything you sell is a significant task for just one or two people. Therefore, it’s much easier to hire an estate sale company with trained staff who can take care of it for you.
Of course, it’s essential to carefully tread when choosing the company you want to work with to liquidate the estate. In Texas, there are no regulatory bodies monitoring estate sale companies, and anybody can own one. It is best to look for a company that has auctioneers licensed by the National Auctioneers Association.
Auctioneers have regulations to follow and risk losing their licenses or damaging their reputation if they don’t put the promised effort into the sale. This oversight can help you trust that they have your best interests in mind.
What happens during an estate sale
Once you have hired an estate sale company, their first step will be to create a list itemizing all items you are looking to sell. This inventory process is known as cataloging within the industry. Cataloging creates a list of everything to be sold in the estate. The list can include everything from a fancy antique cabinet to the used garden hose in the backyard. Auctioneers can sell just about anything, even if it seems like it might be considered junk.
Different types of estate sales can be conducted, and these sales are not just for people who have many valuables. In a standard estate sale, the company will assign values that they think each of your items will sell for, advertise the sale, and clean up after the sale finishes. You also have the option of a live estate auction where customers can bid on the items offered onsite, or an online estate auction using a website like eBay.
What to look for in an estate sale company
As previously stated, there are plenty of unreliable estate sale companies in business, so we recommend that you find a licensed auctioneer to carry out the auction or sale. It is also good to follow the standard practices you would for hiring any professional, like lawyers, realtors, accountants, etc. Research how much experience they have and what their previous clients have to say in reviews.
Furthermore, when speaking to a company, it’s essential to ask questions about how they operate. You’ll want to know what kind of profit you’ll be making from the sale. In most cases, the estate sale company will receive about 40%, and the seller will receive 60% of the proceeds from the sale. You might be able to negotiate to pocket a more significant portion for yourself if you are selling a lot of valuable items.
Also, ask about the company’s buyer lists, so they can bring your items to people who want them, instead of waiting around for customers who may never come. Additionally, following a standard estate sale, it is expected that the company helps clear out any furniture or other contents that do not sell, at no additional cost. Make sure that is included as part of their services.
The pros and cons of hiring an estate sale company
The choice to hire an estate sale company rather than doing it yourself means you will have to sacrifice some of the net profits from the sale. But, we’ve found the positives of working with experienced professionals far outweigh this one setback.
For one thing, estate sales are a time-consuming process. Estate sales take about a month if you can devote all of your time to it, and longer if you have to work or have children to care for simultaneously. You should also take into account the hard labor of moving bulky, heavy furniture out of the house, which can be overwhelming and potentially dangerous.
Selling your items also requires a good sense of how to advertise and display them in a way that catches the eyes of customers. These nuances are complicated for the average person to execute even if you do have tables, display cases, and racks at your disposal.
Estate sale companies save you the hassle of hosting an estate sale during a stressful time, and their expertise might even net you more money in the long run.
A good company knows the going rates for your possessions and can make sure you don’t sell them for less than they are worth or throw out things customers may be willing to buy. To an untrained eye, certain items might appear worthless. An expert can see a potential sale in what may initially seem like garbage, such as a used garden hose attached to a spigot on the side of the house.
Estate sale companies can also process credit and debit cards, which will attract buyers who don’t have cash or checkbooks on hand. The estate sale company will also be who deals with any potential chargebacks, fulfillment issues, or customer service issues.
Websites for estate sales
While it is generally easier to sell items in person, online estate sales are becoming an increasingly popular option. The first site many think of for carrying out an online estate sale is Craigslist. Advertising your sale on Craigslist functions similarly to an old-fashioned newspaper classified ad.
You’ll need to write a brief description and upload some images of the items you have for sale. Interested buyers will then contact you via email or phone to inquire about purchasing whatever you are selling. While this may not sound particularly complicated, Craigslist is a somewhat outdated website, and sometimes people who have used it for estate sales report dissatisfaction.
If you carry out your estate sale this way, you will likely find yourself inundated with calls and emails from people asking the same questions over and over. And most of them won’t express further interest after their initial contact.
eBay is a popular venue for sellers who prefer an auction format. While eBay often increases the odds of selling items for a higher price, the amount of work required is usually not worth it in the long run. By using this method, you will need to list each item individually, complete with descriptions and pictures, and figure out how to ship everything. Single item listings with long listing processes are often the most time-consuming way to hold an estate sale.
Our most recommended website for an online estate sale, if you’re determined to do it yourself, is Facebook Marketplace. As with eBay, you will need to list each item individually. But, advertising in local groups allows you to sell to people in your area who can pick up items in person, saving you the trouble of shipping.
Plus, communicating with people through private messages is more straightforward than dealing with phone calls or emails. The widespread use of Facebook also makes people more likely to stumble upon your items even if they aren’t necessarily online to shop. And it’s easy for users to tag friends who might be interested.
Of course, regardless of which website you choose to use, conducting an estate sale yourself will always be more complicated than hiring a company to help you. This aspect can make these methods a non-ideal choice for most sellers.
Selling your furnished house – including the house
Another way to sell a house full of furniture fast is to sell the house and its contents as a package deal. If the house and furniture are in good condition, you can market the home as a turnkey rental. Marketing to landlords may be even easier to do if local codes allow for short term rentals. You can advertise the sale to both standard landlords and Airbnb investors, owners, and hosts. If choosing to sell a house this way, you’d want to work with a real estate agent who has their finger on the pulse of the investment community.
Our top recommendations
Our number one local recommendation in the greater Houston area for selling a fully furnished house is to go through Texas Auction House for your estate sale and to use Roots & Wings Realty Group for your selling your home. We’ve partnered with both over the years, and both are fantastic at their craft.
You can also contact AMI – we buy homes “as is” – in any price range and any condition. We can make you a cash offer and purchase your home fully furnished. We also cover all closing costs, and there are no fees. You can request a free, no-obligation, cash offer for your home here.