Frequently asked questions

FAQ estate sales

Please contact us for additional details. We’d be thrilled to hear from you! 

What exactly is an estate sale?

An estate sale is held in order to liquidate all or most of the personal property or the entire contents of a home. Everything in the home can be sold–from furniture, jewelry, antiques and artwork to basic home décor, housewares, clothing and tools. Buyers view the entire home including the basement, attic and garage when appropriate. An estate sale differs from a garage sale in that garage sales are typically held when a family is only looking to downsize or resell a small quantity of possessions. Buyers only have access to the garage and driveway. Garage sale customers are usually looking for great bargains on everyday items. Estate sale customers are usually on the hunt for unique, antique and vintage treasures as well as functional and new items for themselves or their home.

Do I need an estate sale contract?

Yes. After we assess the home and you agree that an estate sale is the best choice, a contract is signed by both parties.

Will you meet with others involved with the estate such as attorneys, accountants, realtors and family members?

We would be happy to meet with anyone involved with the decision-making process. Our initial meeting is at no cost and no obligation. If you decide to sign a contract with us, any additional meetings are also at no cost.

What about all the junk? Should I throw anything away?

Please, we ask that you DO NOT throw anything away until you have met with us! Virtually everything in a home can be sold at your estate sale—even common household goods, cosmetics, half empty toiletries and cleaning products, old papers and on and on. This is especially true given the current state of the economy. People gladly buy things from an estate sale if it costs less than at a retail store. Please do not be embarrassed if the home is cluttered or untidy. This is our job, this is what we do. We will organize and tidy up, artfully arranging the merchandise on tables and display stands or cases that we provide in order to create an aesthetically pleasing environment for the sale.

What about the items the family wishes to keep?

Items that the family wishes to keep should be removed from the home prior to the sale, if possible. If this is not possible, we will designate a room to hold these items and it will be kept secured and off limits to customers. We will also clearly mark any larger items “Not For Sale” before set up begins. Additionally, as we are going through boxes, closets, drawers, etc., we may happen upon personal items that might be valuable to the family. We will always notify you of these found items and consult with you before selling them. If you have any doubt as to whether you should keep an item, we advise that you keep it, it can always be sold at a later date.

How long does it take to set up an estate sale?

For effective advertising and set-up, we prefer a three week lead-time. The actual set up usually lasts 4 days depending on the size of the home. Estate sales take time, are a lot of hard work and are sometimes messy.

What fees and/or costs are involved with having an estate sale?

Bassetts’ Estate Sales works for you on a commission basis and pays all of the expenses related to the sale, including, research, pricing, staffing, advertising, signage, packing materials and credit card processing. There is a small set-up fee that will be deducted from the settlement. You are NOT required to pay any deposit or upfront fees. Contracted outside clean-out services are an optional service that we provide which can be deducted from the proceeds of sale. We provide a detailed accounting for the sale within 10 days. Any additional costs will be discussed prior to the sale and will be included in the contract.

What happens to the unsold items?

After the sale, what to do with any unsold items is completely up to you. You may decide to keep the items, or we suggest using one of our preferred charities that will come and remove these items in which case the estate will receive a tax donation letter.

Do you remove hazardous material?

We do not dispose of any item if it contains chemical, toxic, medical, radioactive, or hazardous materials, i.e., paints, solvents, etc. We also do not dispose of pressurized containers of any kind or anything that we suspect to be related to unlawful activity.

Do you have security?

We have someone keeping a watchful eye at all times. We WILL call police for theft or disruptive behavior. 

May I attend the sale?

We do not recommend that the client be present during a sale. The estate sale process can be very emotional for clients and seeing buyers rummaging through family treasures can be quite unsettling. Buyers do not have the same emotional attachment to articles in the home and feel more comfortable negotiating prices when the client is not on-site and/or participating in the sale. Bassetts’ Estate Sales is happy to keep you updated with the daily progress of the sale by telephone and/or e-mail, if desired. We handle the complete process so that you can relax.

How and when is the payment made?

After the sale, we provide you with a final accounting, an itemized list of everything and a check for the proceeds minus our commission and any additional services that were requested. We provide these as a comprehensive package within 10 days of the conclusion of the sale, ensuring that the estate sale was conducted in an ethical manner.

Why should I hire you? Why shouldn't I just do my own estate sale?

We believe that hiring a professional is MORE than worth it, it ensures that you receive a greater total value for the estate. Additionally, holding an estate sale can be a challenging, stressful and daunting task, especially after losing a loved one. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort just to do the research alone, even for an experienced estate sale company. We are here to help accomplish the goal of liquidating your estate professionally and honestly. We handle all the little details such as sorting, organizing, researching, accurate pricing, displaying and highlighting items in a beautiful manner which adds to their value, advertising and security so that you don’t have to. We understand negotiation–the balance between making the most money possible and satisfying our customer base in order to liquidate all items in the estate quickly and efficiently. We strive to be the best and always maintain a lively, fun and friendly environment to attract a large customer following. Let our knowledge, dedication and hard-working attitude serve you!