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RESOURCES FOR EXECUTORS AND ESTATES

DIY Garage Sale/Yard Sale Advice HERE

DIY Estate Sale

DIY Garage Sale/Yard Sale Advice HERE

DIY Estate Liquidation | 7-minute read
Estate Sale| Garage Sale | Yard Sale

 

Throughout this site, we state, “Every Estate is Different“.  So while some estates may be inclined toward an auction or estate sale for liquidation of “The Stuff”, AKA Personal Property, some estates may be inclined toward a more DIY solution.  In the context of an estate, we’re going to state up front that if you’re selling the Rembrandt on the front lawn, there may be a better option for getting market value.  We’ll leave that to the fancy appraisers and art folks.  But for the rest of us, particularly those with a smaller estate, a garage sale/yard sale might be a good option.

Below we’ll list a few sites we think have good advice for making the most of a good garage sale/yard sale.  But first, a few words on this as it relates to estate liquidation.

First of all, the proceeds from any such liquidation are assets of the estate.  We suggest a discussion with your estate attorney or accountant is warranted.

Please consider that garage sales and yard sales are quite a bit of work.  Assuming they take place over a weekend, there’s the set-up and breakdown each day with considerable effort.  One might consider the estimated “take-away” first.  What is the predicted dollar value of this endeavor and is it worth it? Your time isn’t free.

Planning

The goal is to turn stuff into cash, right?  Well, waking up on Saturday morning and throwing stuff on folding tables and blankets is likely not going to get you the best results.  Think ahead.  Think about it like a little business.  Research, manpower, location, marketing, timing, management, etc. all contribute to the outcome of a Garage Sale/Yard Sale.

Start with the end in mind.  Is the goal an empty house and a lighter load for the dump?  If yes. price and sell aggressively.

Do you have tables? Can you rent or borrow?

Please Do Your Research

Are you out of your depth? Seriously don’t put stuff out in your sale that you don’t know the value of.  For every, “John Smith bought a priceless painting at a Yard Sale for $5!” story there’s a “I can’t believe I sold a priceless painting at a Yard Sale for $5!” story.  Are the services of a professional appraiser necessary?
See Executorium’s Estate Service Provider Directory for local appraisers:
Estate Service Providers Directory

A visit to local thrift stores will provide an education on what pricing the local market will bear.

Also Ebay of course may help, but ebay will provide asking prices for certain items.  Bear in mind asking prices are not selling prices, so use them as a guideline.  Again the objective is to walk back into the house at the end of the sale lighter.  Cash is lighter than stuff.

Research is key.

For every, “John Smith bought a priceless painting at a Yard Sale for $5!” story there’s an, “Someone sold a priceless painting at a Yard Sale for $5!” story.
Are the services of a professional appraiser necessary?

How much help do you have?

Garage sales/yard sales can be a bit of fun under the right circumstances.  If you have lots of help and can get friends and family involved, it’s probably not a bad way to spend a weekend.  But if you’re depending on your unreliable brother and a reluctant friend to support you with this, you might save yourself the trouble.

Evaluate honestly.

Is your location favorable or unfavorable to a garage sale/yard sale?

Again, evaluate honestly.  With the work you’re putting into this, if the area where the sale will be is low-traffic and sparsely populated, you might as well just set up a folding chair in the front yard and sit out front with an iced tea.  Leave your stuff inside cause that’s where it’s going to be come Sunday night.

However, if you live in a place where you can get and draw traffic, go for it.

Unless it’s the corner of Park Ave. and 42nd Street in Manhattan.  That probably won’t work.

Marketing Your Garage Sale/Yard Sale

Estate Sale DIY
Estate yard sale
  1. Have a rain date.  Start there so it’s in your marketing.
  2. Are you calling it a “Garage Sale“, “Yard Sale” or an “Estate Sale“?
    Frankly, I’d call it an “Estate Sale.” But you know what you’re putting out – name accordingly.
  3. Know your market segments…
    1. The Estate Sale Hunters.  They’re out there.  Get ’em in!
      There are a few Estate Sale marketing sites that offer individuals a one-time event listing.
      Listing a one-time estate sale is inexpensive, usually $100-$50.

      1. estatesales.org
      2. estatesales.net
      3. estatesale.com
    2. The Yard-Salers.
      It’s a thing.  People look for yard sales, especially groups of yard sales.  Be aware of a few tools this segment uses to locate sales near them.
      Listing sales is free for several of these sites.

    3. Local Traffic
      Signage at intersections helps people find you.

      • Work from your location outward.
      • Identify main traffic points.  (Subject to local laws and ordinances)
      • At Main traffic Points:  Pop multiple signs ahead of and at these points with arrows.
        Planning might be necessary so you have signs with appropriate arrows.
      • Signage tip: Simple and Clear.  People have to see these from a distance at 25+ MPH.
        Garage Sale 6/1/24 →” is sufficient. Or day of, “Garage Sale 9 – 5 →”
      • See also: wikiHow: “How to Make Yard Sale Signs
        NOTE!
        Telephone poles and street signs may be a no-no for “posting bills”.  Be aware of local ordinances regarding posting bills.
    4. Locals
      Reach locals by finding local open posting opportunities with traffic.

      • Supermarkets
      • Churches
      • Community Centers
      • Newspapers
    5. Don’t forget Social Media!
      • Create a Facebook event
      • Facebook Marketplace
      • Facebook often has local “Post your Garage Sale” groups/pages.
      • Create an attractive post and ask local friends to share across platforms.

Timing

Does your town or community have a town-wide Garage Sale/Yard Sale weekend?  Do adjacent towns?  These opportunities allow you to benefit from the draw of yard-salers into the area and enjoy specific traffic of people looking for a good Garge Sale/Yard Sale.

Also, you might communicate with neighbors.  The more the merrier.  People who love Garage Sales/Yard Sales really love multiple Garage Sales/Yard Sales.   So multiple sales have more pull with people looking for a good yard sale or sales.  In addition, there’s potential for a wider marketing effort with partners.

Insurance

I wouldn’t overlook it.  After all, you do have strangers on your property (rather, the estate’s property) so better check and see what the estate insurance situation is. If the decedent had homeowners, you should check in with the insurance company.

Most sites advise to not let any shoppers inside the house during a Garage Sale/Yard Sale.

Read More from American Family Mutual Insurance Company, “How to Host a Safe Yard Sale

Read More from Executorium: On-site Estate Sale Slip. Liable?

Rain

From experience, have a rain plan…

  • Who’s grabbing what, and running for cover?
  • A few really large plastic tarps are a good investment.
  • Who’s got the money?

Essentials

  1. Have change ready.
  2. Venmo and Zelle capabilities are recommended.
  3. Do you need a permit from the municipality?
  4. Most people are honest shoppers.  However the more friendly eyes on a sale, the better.  Also, remember you don’t need to divulge the story of the estate. the property or the decedent.  No one needs to know that the property is likely going to be empty going forward.
  5. If you’re selling a car in the estate, don’t miss the opportunity to have the vehicle prominently located with a “For Sale” sign visible.

What’s the ‘What’s Left‘ Plan?

Cleanout to follow…

If the goal is an empty house, it may be logical and save all the trouble of humping unsold items back into the house, to schedule a dumpster or cleanout company visit the next day.  If everything’s out on the lawn or in the garage, you might be able to negotiate a better cleanout rate.  After all – less work for them.

Not to mention, post-sale, cash is lighter than stuff headed to a dump.

Less stuff to dump – less dump fees.

So, price and sell accordingly.

Read More from ExecutoriumEstate Talks: Insider Tips from Executor/Estate Cleanout Professional

Read More from ExecutoriumEstate Cleanout 101: Understanding Dumpsters

Donation and Upcycling options…

Keep Stuff Out of Landfills” is Executorium’s B-Mission.  So after the sale, look for what can be donated.

Read More: Executorium Guide to Donation

Read More: Find a local donation facility or organization in Executorium’s Estate Service Provider Directory.

Donating Estate Items

Suggested Further Reading on Garage Sales and Yard Sales

  1. Must Read: Ramsey – Best Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale by George Kamel
    • Tips for Getting Garage-Sale Ready
    • How to Price Garage Sale Items
    • How to Advertise Your Garage Sale
    • Garage Sale Tips for the Big Day
    • Make a Plan for Your Garage Sale Profits
  2. The Dollar Stretcher – How To Price Garage Sale Items 2024: A Quick Guide + Tips
    • How To Price Garage Sale Items Based on Retail Pricing
    • 5 Tips To Make a Garage Sale Easier
    • Set-Up
    • Some Do’s and Don’ts of Garage Sale Pricing
  3. wikiHow – How to Have a Garage Sale by Marty Stevens-Heebner
    • Inventory
    • Prep and Promotion
    • Setup
    • Running the Sale
    • Security Tips
  4. RiseBlog – 23 Savvy Garage Sale Tips by Matthew Gordon

 

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