I get asked all of the time, “Which should I have, an estate sale, or a garage sale?”
This is a question that I can easily answer. Simply put, if you are planning to move, or if someone has passed on and you are looking to sell everything in your home, then an estate sale is it. If you are looking to unload some of your belongings rather than selling most of what is in your home, then a garage sale is a better option.
To look at it more closely, an estate sale happens in and around your home, usually includes everything in the estate, and is a very powerful tool to clean out a home in a hurry. Something to consider is how comfortable you are with strangers going through every corner of your house. Since the entire estate is for sale, people will be walking through the home in order to discover items they want to purchase. Aside from the comfort level of an estate sale, you should consider how to operate the sale. To make the most money you can simply host the estate sale yourself. If you choose to do an estate sale yourself, my best advice is for you to research all the items that you are going to sell. Utilizing the “Completed Listing” section on eBay is a great way to see how much your items go for, or you can pay an antique shop owner to come by and give you good evaluations for what it can sell for now if you have a lot of antiques. A lot of people hire a third party to come in and appraise and handle the sale of items. This is great if you do not have the time or inclination to do this for yourself but I will warn you, you will leave a lot of money on the table. The people that put on estate sales usually charge 30-35% of whatever they bring in and they may have other hard fees that they will add-on on top of that. A third party is also going to concentrate on ensuring everything is priced to sell fast. This can lead to undervaluing certain items so they have a stronger chance of selling them.
I recommend that estate sales should run for 3 days, Friday through Sunday, and begin advertising way in advance. Utilizing Tag Sell It, Facebook, street signs and Craigslist are great ways to promote your event. Unlike garage sales, estate sales should have a lot of promoting at least two weeks in advance. If you follow all of these directions, you literally can double the amount of money you make by simply doing an estate sale yourself.
Now, let’s talk about garage sales! These are typically one day Saturday events, but if you would like to extend it to two days, I recommended having the extra day on a Friday. Friday is the new Saturday! With garage sales you are only selling the items you have brought out and are typically on display in your garage or front lawn. In no way whatsoever should you let people into your house. These events make good money if done correctly, and have enough promoting. Garage sales will not always bring in the same amount of traffic as an estate sale; therefore the earnings potential is lower. FYI, garage sales can be dependent on the weather, whereas an estate sale can occur year round even in areas with cold winters.
Best Wishes & Happy Hunting!