In Part 1 you were provided with the different item categories for sorting the Estate Sale items. We also covered why it is important to research prices to avoid costly errors, like our almost $500 blunder. In Part 2 we will present to you the idea of listing the whole Estate Sale as a ‘bundle.’ As well as why creating a website can help you reach more people and save you time. Part 3 we will cover: how to get people in the door, the setup process, and the small things that are often forgotten. Part 4 is all about the day of prep and driving more sales.
Set A Date
In January, we set the Estate Sale date for early March, after an epic Montana Winter. Obviously the timing and location is not ideal. But, our plan was to be able to load the 5th wheel “Bailey” before the Estate Sale. That way we would be certain to not sell something we needed. However, that did not happen and if you are wondering why, click HERE for our Camping World story.
Ideally, you should give yourself a good 2-4 months to adequately perform the Downsizing Prep. Of course, it will depend on how many items you plan on selling. For us, we had: 2 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, office, kitchen, dining, garage, and a car to sell. We worked endlessly for 2 months to sell everything within 1 weekend. This was due to a full calendar, limiting our Estate Sale dates.
Over the years we have listed items on Craigslist, online bulletin boards, and even Facebook. Every time, people ask for more pictures. So now, I take multiple pictures of each item and make a specific folder on the computer. This way they are easy to access and reply to messages. But it can still get overwhelming to remember where what item was posted and who wanted more pictures. To make it easier, I build a website to showcase all the Estate Sale items.
Make An Estate Sale Website
By building a website for the Estate Sale you can have all the information for the potential buyer in one place. Ours had 3 sections:
- First Page: Showed the date and general city, state. Then a few weeks before the Estate Sale I posted the exact location with a map. By doing so, you will prevent people from coming to your house wanting to look or pre-buy. The first page also had a scrolling banner of our items.
- Second Page: The ‘Photo’ tab housed each picture. In the picture description, you can write the name of the item and a price, if you choose to do so. We talk more in depth about the pros/cons of pricing in Part 3.
- Third Page: The “Q&A” section. This is where I did all the disclaimer mumbo-jumbo, such as no holds, cash only, and no early sales. This is where you would address people’s most common questions (i.e., do you deliver).
The pros of a website are you can customize it to your Estate Sale needs and change it as you go. It also allows customers to be able to get in contact with you if you choose to use an email. Then there is the fact that posting or commenting with a web link is super quick.
Listing – The Whole Estate Sale
On the website, I had an option to buy the entire Estate Sale for one price. I took photos of each room and the high dollar items. On a tab labeled ‘Bundle’ I posted a list (like in the Downsizing Prep) of each piece over $100 and wrote the estimated price next to it. At the bottom of the list was the final price.
We calculated that all our items under $100 would be close to an additional 30%. Those items were not included in our total price. Because we considered that 30% to be the buyer’s overall ‘profit.’ We assumed a buyer would want to see at least a 50% profit, so we anticipated lower bids. We were prepared for 20-30% off our total Estate Sale list price. However, the proposals were coming in at over 50% off, making them a good 80% profit. So we opted to continue with the Estate Sale.
Selling – The Whole Estate Sale
We understood having a person buy the entire contents we were selling, was a long shot. Only because we were in a very small town in Montana and it was the end of Winter. You may be in a market that is in need of your items, so it is worth a try. Also, if you live in a large town or city this option is worth looking into.
If you are interested in selling everything, then you will want to contact local auction houses. And of course do not underestimate the power of social media advertising, as well as word of mouth from your friends and family.
Advertising Made Easy
The biggest factor that can make or break your Estate Sale comes down to how many people show up. Advertising is more than just writing words in black marker on poster board. The more time and effort you put into this step, the better the chance of a successful event.
We will have a lot of TIPS regarding advertising, but here are some ideas:
- Post on your Social Media sites
- Hang fliers inside businesses you frequent.
- Think ‘old school’ by taking out an ad in a newspaper
Of course, you will still make signs to guide traffic to your house the day of (see Part 4). But advertising 2-weeks in advance helps people plan for your event. We will talk more about this later in Part 3.
Click HERE to continue onto PART 3 where we will provide ideas on how to get more people in the door, a good set up flow, pricing, and bundle deals.
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