Costs – What to Consider When Selecting An Estate Sale Company

**Updated Jan 2023**

Selecting an estate sale company can be overwhelming. With so many to choose from, how can you determine which are reputable and which you should avoid? Below we explain the two largest costs in the estate sale industry and why going with the cheapest option may not be the best choice.

Owner Allison meeting and shaking hands with female client at their front door

Low Cost: How The Percentage Makes a Difference

What is the difference between the company that tells you they will take 25% versus the company that tells you they will take 40%? It breaks down as follows:

The company that offers you a 25% rate will most likely be less developed than the company that offers you a 40% rate. What does this mean exactly? Factoring in hours spent organizing and cleaning the home in preparation for the sale, the cost to advertise, the cost of supplies such as bags and wrapping used for customers at that sale, credit card fees associated with item sales, staffing for open sale days to watch over your home and your items, and lastly but not limited to the labor cost to get your home ready for the public, the cost to the company can be high.

Odds are, the company that offered you the 25% rate does not have the resources mentioned above to extract the most value out of your sale. This can mean the following for you:

  • With low percentage they cannot afford to spend time in your home. This means they will ignore staging and pricing entire areas of your home resulting in missed value and a low grossing sale.
  • They likely have low paid and untrained staff or not enough employees. This could mean you will have unattended areas of your home.
  • Hidden fees that include you covering the cost of their labor.
  • They may be cash only limiting the amount of customers that buy from your sale.

This low percentage will most likely leave you with many leftover items which is expensive to remove and could prolong the listing of your home for sale.

How to avoid this pitfall? Visit their sales. The proof is in the pudding. If they tell you the low commission does not effect the ability to host a well run and fully staffed sale, you should be able to see it at each sale they run.

Free Clean-out

A Clean-out is a service offered to clear the property of leftover items after the estate sale has been completed. This service should be quoted once the sale is over for accuracy. The company should not provide a price until they can see the amount of items they will be removing. This service can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands based on the amount of items that need to be cleared, the weight of the items, the cleanliness of the home etc.

With that being said, a free clean-out sounds nice, right? All of the leftover items miraculously disappear after the sale is over leaving you free and clear to move on. You just need to ask, how is the company able to afford doing this for free?

More often than not a free clean-out means the following:

  • You do not have access to the items after the sale is over and no option of keeping items that remain.
  • The company will keep the leftover items and sell them for 100% profit elsewhere.
  • You will have no record of what was left and will not be able to benefit from a donation write off.
  • The company is not motivated to sell high ticket items during your estate sale as they can keep the item and sell it for full profit elsewhere after they have removed it for free during the Clean-out.

In summary, it is important to gain as much information as possible about each company you interview and truly understand their costs. The age old saying goes “you get what you pay for”.