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Estate sale: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An estate sale or estate liquidation is a type of garage sale, yard sale or auction to dispose of a substantial portion of the materials owned by a person who is recently deceased, or who must dispose of his personal property to facilitate a move.


Reasons for an estate sale

The most common reason for an estate sale is the death of the property owner, and the consequent need to quickly liquidate the deceased's belongings. The survivors may have no interest in the bulk of the personal belongings left by the deceased, or may simply lack space to keep the belongings. In situations in which the survivors cannot agree to the disposition of tangible property, a court may order the goods to be sold in an estate sale with the proceeds to be divided among the survivors. Such a sale and division may also be mandated in the will of the decedent.

An estate sale may also occur because the property owner will be moving into a situation where he will be unable to keep his property—for example, a move to an assisted living facility, a retirement community, a rest home, or other living quarters.


Estate sales are usually conducted by a professional, for a percentage of the revenues. The liquidator may also charge the estate for the costs to give the sale, including advertising, marketing, research, labor, security, refreshments and other fees incurred in giving a successful sale. The presence of a professional liquidator may be necessary because the scope of the process is likely to be overwhelming to the survivors. The liquidator often has a loyal following, consisting of dealers, collectors and the general public. The liquidator may be familiar to buyers who have been attending the liquidator's sales for decades, and trust that the liquidator will price wisely and fairly and steer them toward finding their niches within each collector's realm, and for the specialist's knowledge and experience with pricing items, and general value knowledge of all types of household goods and personal property value, and the specialist's experience in disposing of unsold goods in an unsentimental manner after the sale. These professionals often take a percentage of the net proceeds, anywhere from 20% to 50%.

Estate liquidators, when professional, honest, hard working and diligent, can make the families or executors and heirs extra monies in giving a successful sale. Antique and collectible dealers use estate sales as one of their more important wholesale sources. Estate sales are typically 1 to 3 days long, often with a price reduction toward the end. It is becoming more and more of a trend on the west coast that on the final day, with the family's or executor's permission, all leftover items are advertised and given away free to limit the amount of waste. Sometimes this can result in an empty house and less burdened landfill. Moreover, estate sales are being used to redistribute households where families have lost their ability to pay mortgages and are losing their homes to foreclosures.

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