ESTATE SALE OVERVIEW……
Frequently Asked Questions and Other Info
*Some important things to know when interviewing companies
- You should NEVER have to pay an upfront fee to hire a company – they should charge a commission or fee AFTER the sale.
- We encourage you to interview other companies — you need to feel comfortable with who you work with. Trust is key. Referrals can only be EARNED.
- To find estate sale companies, go to EstateSales.net, Estatesales.org, or EstateSale.com.
What’s different about Birmingham Estate Sales from other companies?
Birmingham Estate Sales has a PASSION for this industry. We LOVE what we do and it shows. Marketing and advertising are KEY to a great sale. Birmingham Estate Sales brings an element to our sales and marketing that is unique to us as a company.
Do I have enough items to hold an estate sale?
Typically if you are looking to liquidate an entire household you will have enough items to warrant a full 2 to 3 day estate sale. Average household being a minimum of 3 / 4 bedrooms, living area, kitchen etc. However despite the size of the house, all sales are different. If we arent’ able to do a sale — we can give you different paths to handle moving the itmes. These items should be a good mix of everyday household items (small appliances, electronics, cleaning supplies, books, clothes etc), furniture, tools or yard items, decorator items (mirrors, candlesticks, artwork), table and bed linens, kitchenware, collector items or antiques. You may also set reserves on larger items, or items that have high value.
Larger estates can be anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks — once again — each sale is different.
We are able to do sales of all sizes…from large estates to smaller homes. We are here to HELP YOU.
Each estate is different – Birmingham Estate Sales markets each sale according to what is available – from antiques, to books to everyday items. There’s always something you have to sell that someone else will want to add to their collection.
Sterling — What do we do with it?
If you have Sterling Silver pieces — we suggest selling them at the sale — pass on your goodies to someone who will love them. I always get questions about lump selling gold/silver/sterling to companies who will melt it down — and that’s fine too — if you’re just looking to make the monetary gain — however I like the idea of passing pieces on to others who will cherish them again. What’s old is new again.
Why should we hire an estate sale company versus doing it ourselves?
Running a successful estate sale can quickly turn into a full-time job. For most families it is hard to juggle and find the necessary time to devote to the project. Pricing, organizing, research, set-up, marketing the event, working the event(and finding enough volunteers to help), bartering with buyers, and final clean up is not only time consuming but can also be mentally exhausting for family members trying to stage their own sale. How do you know which items are worth what? How will you guarantee a good turn out to your sale? What happens when your 2-3 week project has suddenly turned into months?
By hiring Birmingham Estate Sales it’s as easy as handing over the key and letting us do the work. We handle on average 1 to 4 sales a week and have this business down to a science. We know how to price accordingly and research items quickly. We have an extensive list of buyers and dealers and our extensive advertising and marketing always insures a good crowd. We take the stress off you and turn what would have been a few months long project into 2-3 weeks tops. Factor in how much your time (and sanity) is worth to you and we think you’ll find that our commission rate is well worth the service!
Should we clean up the house or dispose of items prior to bringing in an estate sale company?
We ask that any medications (including vitamins) be disposed of properly (i.e. taking to a pharmacy). Discard any papers, trash, etc. Personal papers and information must be gone. Whatever is left post sale — you can choose a direction of donation.
We’ve sold, hauled off or cleared the home of all the “small” stuff, would you still be interested in selling the furniture only?
Yes still call Birmingham Estate Sales. Depending on what is left, we can help market it for at least a one day sell.
What items sell well at an Estate sale? Do we need to have lots of antiques?
Antiques & Collections are fabulous! They always help a sale, however they are not required to have a successful sale. Some of our most successful sales have been in homes where there was not a single antique or collectible. In these cases having good clean furniture, lots of small items, decor pieces etc helped the sale tremendously. In todays economy most buyers attending estate sales are looking for good bargains on every day use items. Here is a short list of items that are selling really well at our estate sales right now:
Tools of any type
- Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, yard equipment etc
- Patio Furniture & Grills
- Vintage items
- Costume jewelry
- Gold, silver & coins
- Guns & Hunting equipment
- WW2 memorabilia
- Nice home décor items
- Furniture (if in good , clean condition)
- And don’t worry if you do have antiques or collectibles, we always have that market for those items as well!
Are there any items that traditionally don’t do well at a sale?
Right now there are a few items that see at almost every other sale that typically are still remaining after the sale:
- Pianos & Organs – unless it is a Steinway or baby grand , pianos and organs can be very hard to find a new home for. Sometimes they sell , sometimes they don’t.
- Older Furniture- if furniture is outdated (and not considered antique or vintage) it can sometimes be hard to sell. If it is stained, ripped or has pet or smoke odors it can also be hard to sell.
- Older electronics – cabinet TV’s and stereos, some are considered collectible and vintage, others are just considered outdated.
- Encyclopedia sets
- Wall unit style desk – we price them to sell.
Regardless, if you have any of these items in your estate we ask that you leave them in place until we have had the opportunity to assess them.
What if you find personal items (money, paperwork, photographs etc) while preparing the house for the sale?
Actually this is quite common. Even in cases where the family has thoroughly gone through the house, by the time we clean out every drawer, closet cabinet etc it is inevitable that we will find something. No worries though, we box all of these items up for you and either make arrangements for you to pick them up or ship them to you if you are out of area.
How long does the estate sale last?
The average estate sale is a 2 to 3 day event. Usually a Thursday / Friday / Saturday sale. We will extend into Sunday if need be. Prior to the sale we need on average 1 to 3 weeks to prepare the house, price all the items, market the sale etc.
Is Birmingham Estate Sales licensed?
Yes. Although the State of Alabama does not have any special requirements for estate sale companies, we are a licensed business. We have been working with state legislators to get our industry into a guideline, education based path.
How much does the average estate sale make?
Because each house is different this is a hard question to answer. It’s really not fair to give you a ball park figure. If you make money we make money. We are not going to give anything away.
How successful is the average estate sale?
99% of the time we are able to sell 90% of the estates salable items. The remaining items are items that usually should go to donation or possible trash. If anything of value is left after the sale we can either send to auction or offer an estate buy-out for remaining items.
People sometimes misunderstand how an estate sale works. An estate sale is a liquidation — it’s not a storefront where things might sit for a year or two before selling. The same principle applies to things that are sent to consignment shops — which may think it will sell at a higher price — not necessarily — it may or may not — and may take a year or so before it does. Prices are adjusted daily so that you are not left with half or more of what you started with. Some estate sale companies ‘over price’ to begin with and turn people away with such tactics. Things are only worth what someone else is willing to pay for them.
Do you clean the house after the sale?
No. Our job is to liquidate the house of its assets and provide you with as close to an empty house as possible. We are not a cleaning service. We will be happy to refer several to you. Anything left over after the sale is your choice on donations or other options.
When is the best time to hold an estate sale?
Estate sales are YEAR ROUND. Time or weather is NOT a factor (Unless it’s snowing — and well — we are in the SOUTH remember — we don’t do snow. If snow occurs, I’ll invite you over for cocktails – how’s that! )
An appraisal is a different service than an estate sale. Birmingham Estate Sales LLC WILL do an appraisal for a fee — however this is not generally something that is done when you hire an estate sale company. We are there to liquidate/sell all items you have deemed go for the sale. Appraised values are for insurance purposes only.
How is Birmingam Estate Sales paid/ what is your fee?
We are paid on commission only. It is in our best interest to insure you have a successful sale! At the end of the sale our commission is deducted from the proceeds of the sale. No upfront fee’s, no minimum guarantees. We work hard and know that referrals can only be earned.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
Kimy Stewart 205-249-5400 – Owner
Birmingahm Estate Sales llc