Estate Sale: PART 4 – Making Money

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We had cars lined up as early as 2 hours before our Estate Sale opening. I will suggest the following that worked very well for us....
Estate Sale PART 4 Making Money

In Part 1 we went over 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 you were provided with 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.

Estate Sale Prep

A few days before the Estate Sale is when you will need to gather everything you may need on that day.  Here is a small list of items to have ready:

  • Cash – if your sale is cash only, you will want to have small bills ready to make change for people.
  • Internet – make sure you still have internet on the Estate Sale day so you can keep up with questions on social media.  We also needed it to research an item a person said was worth $5000 that we labeled $20 (see Part 2).
  • Boxes and Bags – people will often buy more items if you have a box or bag ready for them. Shoppers often forget to bring their own packing supplies.  So we had some tissue paper at the ready for large purchases of breakable items.
  • Tape, Marker, and Posterboard – Of course, you will hang signs the morning of to direct vehicle traffic to you. Extras signs may be needed when unexpected events arise, like a rainstorm.
  • Pen and Paper – Some shoppers will want to have you ‘hold’ their items so they can continue to look around. We found by placing the items in boxes/bags with their name on it helped in the chaos. Also when a large item sold, placing a sign on it with their name came in handy as well.
  • Close Doors – All the items not part of the Estate Sale should be in a separate room. Then place a sign on the door indicated the room is off limits.

Estate Sale Sign Day

Estate Sale PART 4 Making Money
Snow piles did not stop people from coming to our sale

As you know we did our Estate Sale in mid-March, in Montana. Little did we know that the regular packing tape would not stick to the metal lamp posts. So we needed some heavy duty tape to get our signs to adhere. We would have attached the signs to boxes with rocks in them, but the snow banks were too tall and jagged. Later, the high winds came and we needed to put up more signs the next day.  The takeaway is that you should have an extra poster board for any occasion that pops up.

Driving Sales

Now that you have put in a ton of work in getting the Estate Sale items: researched, priced, displayed, and hosted pre-sales, the work is not over yet. Yes, you could just stand around, take the money and call it good.

However, for a more successful Estate Sale, I will suggest the following that worked very well for us.

  • A smile and friendly greeting to welcome them are underrated. People are more receptive to a friendly atmosphere.
  • You will have two types of shoppers: those that will want to talk to you and others that simply want to be left alone. Those that want to chat, even if small talk is not your ‘thing,’ remember interaction can drive sales.
  • Post pictures of the ongoing Estate Sale to your advertising platforms. When people start asking questions about items, be quick to respond. The goal is to get them to come to the sale to look at the item, and in the meantime other stuff.

Chat With The Shoppers

You will have two types of shoppers: those that will want to talk to you and others that want to be left alone. Those that want to chat, even if small talk is not your ‘thing,’ remember interaction can drive sales. Post pictures of the ongoing Estate Sale to your advertising platforms. When people start asking questions about items, be quick to respond. The goal is to get them to come to the sale to look at the item. See our TIPS for more, like a BOGO sale on the last day

A Lineup On Opening Day

In reading Part 2 you know that we tried to list everything for one price, to get it sold quickly. That would have allowed us to skip doing the Estate Sale ourselves. But, we did not luck out on that. The total price for the buy it all deal was our overall target income for the Estate Sale.

Despite doing the Estate Sale at the end of an epic Montana winter, with snow piles all around, we had a very good turnout. Cars were lined up as early as 2 hours before our opening.  There was a large group of people that told us we were the very first Estate Sale of the season. They were eager to do some much-needed treasure hunting.

The Results

Estate Sale PART 4 Making Money
This was all that was left of the Estate Sale

We added up the pre-sales of our larger items and the Estate Sale income. It was a great moment when we found out that we made a little over what we listed our buy it all deal for.  And that figure did not include the car that we also sold.

It was a lot of hard work, and we still had about 1-truckload of items that did not sell. We donated those treasures to a local thrift shop, who came to pick them up the next day.  The business helps local families in need by giving items. A recent apartment fire put a dent in their store supplies, so they were very happy for our contribution.

Thank you for reading our 4-part Estate Sale adventure.  Be sure to check out the Downsizing Prep and Estate Sale TIPS.  We will see you on the next Adventure!


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Melissa McElfresh

Melissa McElfresh

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), which made me realize life is too short and not to take simple things for granted. As an avid indoor-girl with allergies, I did not go on hikes of any sort. But, one day my Marine husband, Don, asked if I would go on a 'nature walk' with him. It was on the paved Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I went and was hooked, eager for our next adventure! The desire to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, has aided me to share with you my new adventure.

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