Resources for executors and Estate Administrators


Time is Money – Calculating the Time to Sell One Estate Item

April 25, 2023

Your time is not free.

There are many ways to sell an item, and convert the item to cash for deposit in the Estate Bank account.  Often Executors bristle at the cost or commission of Auctions or Estate Sales companies, but the value is not often obvious until you look at the time it takes to move one item.  Multiply those ‘manhours’ that times the number of items in the undistributed personalty designated for liquidation, and the value becomes clear.



Spend time looking at comp items to get an idea of the price to list the item.  EBay, Google, Facebook Groups all provide good information to help determine price and desirability. There are appraisal sites, and Worthpoint, to help you get a more market-comparable price point on your item, but consider the costs involved.



To give your item the best chance of selling, for the best possible price, prepare the item by cleaning it in order to present it in the best possible light.

Selling Estate Personalty


Note: there may be some seller’s fees associated with listing an item for sale online.

  1. Photograph item for listing.
  2. Provide details for a listing, including any research not discovered during the research phase above. Post photos from above.
  3. New? If you are listing on an auction site such as EBay or another similar site for the first time, there is some time to register and get set up, this should be included in the calculation of time to budget for a sale.  There may also be some time to learn how the process works.
  4. Checking-in: Depending on the dynamics of the sale, some monitoring of the item through sale, including Q&A with potential buyers, should be considered.



Once your item is sold, consider time for packaging the item as necessary considering its fragility.  Consider the time and expense of the post office visit.  Do you have the proper packaging, or will that require additional time and money to acquire?  Packing and addressing time varies depending on the item.  If professional shipping prep is necessary, consider the cost of the professional work and travel to and from the professional pack and ship location.


Payment Collection

Payment collection is normally straightforward on e-mail and other online selling platforms; however, the collection and conclusion of the transaction ought to be be considered in your time calculation.


The incremental time of each stage in the selling process might seem like “not much”, but when you put it all together, the full amount of time can put a serious dent in your monetary “take-away”.

Your time is not free.

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