Transition Squad's Top 10 Tips For Estate Sale Success

TORONTO, April 21, 2014 /CNW/ - For many boomers, seniors and their families going through the downsizing process, spring ushers in the beginning of the busy estate sale season. Selling the house, cleaning up and clearing out household clutter and deciding the fate of used furniture, artwork and other items of value will be the biggest challenge many will face. With the prospect of shelling out thousands of dollars per month for a retirement home, the desire to maximize the value of a lifetime of memories becomes especially predominant. However, with a little selling know-how, solid marketing and a few helping hands, anyone can conduct their own successful estate sale.

"There are three main approaches taken when facing an estate sale situation" says Laura Convery, Manager of Senior Services at Transition Squad. "Often the kids have their own lives to deal with plus the emotion of the family situation. Most don't have the same tastes as their parents and don't want a lot of the things their parents had. Many will simply throw away, give away or donate everything in a belief that these items have no real value to others" adds Convery. "However you'll be surprised as to what people will actually buy. One person's trash is another person's treasure. Others will try to sell the items on their own, while still others will hire a firm to assist with the process" adds Convery.

Convery should know. Transition Squad conducted 42 estate sales in 2013, the most of any estate sale company in the Toronto area, including its Estate-Sale-In-A-BoxTM toolkit, a pre-packaged do-it-yourself training, marketing and support program for those that want to conduct their own estate sales.

Convery offers these 10 tips for DIY estate sale success to help you sell like a pro and make the most from your sale.

10 Tips For Do-It-Yourself Estate Sale Success

  1. When trying to sell something, you have to think like a buyer, as if the shoe was on the other foot, and set up your sale accordingly.
  2. The success of your sale will depend on three things - 1) marketing to get people there, 2) selection and 3) attractive prices to get people to buy.
  3. Selection - an estate sale should encompass the entire household with items of higher value and in pristine condition, sitting alongside items that may be garage sale caliber. Whether it's fine furniture, glassware, kitchen gadgets, appliances, garden tools, plants, linens or clothing, your sale should become a veritable department store at bargain prices. Everything should be staged to bring focus to the items that are most likely to catch people's eye.
  4. Pricing is all about balance, set it low enough to be attractive, but not so low that you are giving things away at far less than what people would be willing to pay. Although many items will have great sentimental value or may have cost a lot originally, they will most likely not be worth as much to potential buyers as they are to you or your parents. Take the time to research various websites like Kijiji, Craigslist, and Ebay to make comparables.
  5. An estate sale, aka contents sale, is really a full house version of a garage sale. Things are spread throughout the entire home, not just the driveway. Recruit enough family and/or friends you trust to cover the entire home as salespeople, and for security to avoid theft. Ensure they are familiar with your house, the items and prices in the areas they will be posted to work.
  6. Be prepared to negotiate. Negotiating prices is the foundation of every garage sale and estate sale. It will be expected by buyers and a lack of willingness to negotiate may cost you a lot of unsold items by frustrating buyers.
  7. Valuables like gold, precious stones or signed artwork should be tested and appraised, or left out of the sale. Estate sale buyers may not be the right buyers for true valuables. You may need to find more specialized sources to sell these.
  8. Promote! Promote! Promote! Use tools like Kijiji , Craigslist and social media and tell as many friends, family and neighbors as possible to spread the word. Set up an event page on Facebook to maximize your reach and increase your turnout. Draw as much attention to the sale as possible by using signs along public roads. 40-50% of your buyers will come from the signs, so large noticeable signs with proper messaging and strategic placement is key. Signs can be created using cardboard or Bristol board or for greater impact, professional estate sale signs can be rented for nominal amounts.
  9. Prepare a fanny pack for each staff member with a cash float and sales materials to keep the sale running efficiently and smoothly.
  10. Hand out tickets starting an hour or so prior to the sale to allow access on a first come, first serve basis. Make sure to only allow enough people in at a time to follow fire department regulations.

The Estate-Sale-In-A-BoxTM toolkit can be purchased from Transition Squad for $600 and contains everything you need to conduct a successful sale. It includes a free step-by-step guide, one-on-one training either in person or via Skype and phone, toll free support, advertising and marketing, a custom dedicated webpage to showcase sale items in advance, a sign placement map, pricing assistance and a local eblast. Sign rental is optional at $3 per sign in select markets. The client keeps 100% of their sales revenues. Estate-Sale-In-A-BoxTM is available throughout Canada and United States.

About Transition Squad
Transition Squad is a fully integrated, turnkey downsizing company working with seniors and families going through a parent transition. As a project manager, Transition Squad assists with the physical aspects of downsizing from getting organized, cleaning up and clearing out the home, selling the contents through physical estate sales, online auctions and Transition Squad's consignment store, removal of leftover items through donation and junk removal, as well as auctioning off the home online. Transition Squad supports the communities it works in and has raised money for many organizations including MukiBaum Treatment Centers, Seeds of Hope and Downsview Services for Seniors.

SOURCE: Transition Squad

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