Managed Estate Sales: 

Tips & Questions to Ask Before Liquidating

Clearing a home for downsizing, liquidating an estate, or relocation?  Hosting an estate sale can be an arduous task.  A managed estate sale can be a more efficient method for repurposing your family’s treasures.  But there are some things you need to know and questions you should ask prior to signing on the dotted line.  Below are some tips when considering engaging in an estate sale for your household goods or those of a loved one to help you achieve the desired outcome.

Professional estate liquidators market, stage and organize the sale.  While managed estate sales can relieve you from expending your time finding buyers, pricing, and selling, estate sales are not for everyone and the profit margins may not be as high as you think.  Take some time to peruse some of the online auction sites to familiarize yourself with their offerings and the valuations of similar items in your estate.

Estate sales are not solely for high end, high value items.  Everyday items sell; however, be mindful of quality.  Stained, ripped, dirty, broken items are not appropriate nor are those with missing pieces.

Professionally staged sales could create a higher perceived value for your items vs. what some may view as a garage sale.

Many companies operate on a commission basis, while others offer a flat fee.  Obtaining more than one opinion on the value of the estate is recommended especially if a company offers a flat fee. The American Society of Estate Liquidators advises that:

“The national average for an estate liquidator is 35% to 40%, however, it depends on the geographical region, and it depends on what is included in that percentage. If they offer services other than, or in addition to liquidation, they may charge an additional hourly rate, or include the additional service in the overall percentage. Some regions areas have higher/lower rates than others.”

Be wary of liquidators purchasing your items directly.  According to marketwatch.com1

“Some estate liquidators will buy items from an estate they’re selling. While this practice might seem harmless—even beneficial, since it helps to clear things out—it presents a potential conflict of interest, some experts say. Some feel a professional should not buy items that she prices, since her motivation to buy might motivate her to set the price low so she’ll pay less—or unreasonably high to drive off other potential buyers. She also shouldn’t hide desirable items during the sale so she can underpay for them when it’s over. Another no-no, according to some experts: paying workers with items from the sale.”

 Caveat Emptor—Aka Buyer Beware.  Read the contract’s fine print before you engage any services.  And be sure to sign a contract.  While a contract doesn’t guarantee that the situation will flow perfectly or that the company is honorable, it does provide you with more avenues for recourse.

Need assistance in finding a Liquidator?

Need assistance getting organized prior to the sale?

Contact The Practical Sort Eco-Organizing Solutions and we will get you sorted. 

For lots of additional information and tips regarding engaging managed estate sales, download Managed Estate Sales: Tips & Questions to Ask Before Liquidating by completing the form below. 

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Note:  This guide is intended to provide a list of practical tips. The Practical Sort Eco-Organizing Solutions is not responsible for any loss or damage as a result of any of the tips provided, nor is the company making any express guarantees about sale prices, etc.  So please exercise due diligence when preparing for your estate sale.  Seek legal or financial assistance if necessary.  Do your research prior to engaging in any service contracts.