How to Find and Hire a Reputable Estate Sale Company

Laura Hennigan
Written by Laura Hennigan
Updated February 11, 2022
A home office with desks and houseplants
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Trustworthy estate sale companies help take the guesswork out of emptying a house of its possessions

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After living in a home for many years, you inevitably collect a lot of sentimental and practical possessions. Eventually, there comes a time when you have to clear out a large amount of household items that are no longer needed. 

Hiring an experienced estate sale professional can help alleviate the burden and stress of trying to organize an estate sale on your own. It’s important to find someone with the right experience and knowledge, and a company you can trust to spend many hours inside your home.Estate sale companies are not a regulated industry, so you will need to do your homework before making a final decision. Let’s take a look at how to hire a trustworthy estate sale company.

How to Find an Estate Sale Pro

If you search online for “estate sale companies,” the results will be plentiful and may feel overwhelming. Instead, start by asking family, friends, and trusted neighbors for recommendations. They may know someone who had a positive experience with an estate sale, which will provide you with a good starting point. 

You can also use the The American Society of Estate Liquidators website to search for registered pros in your area. Be sure to search the company’s history with the Better Business Bureau for any potential red flags. Another option is to attend a few local estate sales to observe how they are run, making note of any companies to consider or avoid.

Before Hiring an Estate Sale Company

It’s a good idea to interview at least three estate sale pros before making a final decision. They may run sales differently, so taking the time to chat with a few will give you a better sense of the services each company offers.

Plan Out Your Estate Sale for Accurate Quotes

Before interviewing any pros, you’ll want to consider some estate sale factors. Having a general idea about the following variables will make it easier to plan the estate sale

  • How much of the home will be accessible during the sale?

  • How long will the sale last?

  • Do you want to be present during the sale?

  • How many high-ticket or valuable items will be included?

Check Your Estate Sale Pros Qualifications and References

Since there is no regulation of estate sale companies, you’ll need to thoroughly check each potential company’s qualifications and references. 

Don't be afraid to talk to people the pro has worked with in the past and ask about their experience. You can even request customer references directly from the estate sale company. You can also visit local estate sales to compare how different companies organize and manage sales. 

Request Insurance Information

While estate sale pros are not required to carry insurance, most reputable companies will have coverage. Ask about the type insurance they have, as well as what and who it covers. Since an estate sale is likely occurring on private property, you may want to check that the homeowner’s insurance is still paid and active. 

Questions to Ask Your Estate Sale Pro

Consider asking potential estate sale pros the following questions to help you pick which one to hire.

  • How many estate sales have you organized?

  • Will you be on-site during the sale, or will it be a team member?

  • How does the pricing and payout work?

  • What is your fee structure?

  • How is security handled?

  • What happens to items that don’t sell?

  • How is clean-up handled?

Tips for Hiring Your Estate Sale Pro

A woman interviewing an estate sale pro in her living room
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Since you’ll be trusting an estate sale company to go inside your home and handle valuable items, be sure to properly vet them before making a final decision. 

Ask for a Background Check 

Unfortunately some individuals advertise themselves as professional home liquidators who don’t have professional experience. A reputable pro should have no problem submitting to a background check. They may already have one on file to show you, or you can offer to pay the fee for the pro to complete one. 

Sign a Contract and Arrange Payments 

Most estate sale companies take anywhere from 25% to 50% of the total proceeds as their fee. You’ll want to sign a contract that clearly outlines the payment process and details such as sorting, tagging, staging, and clean-up. Double check that every step of the estate sale process lists who is responsible for what task. 

Keep Records of the For-Sale Items 

While it likely won’t be possible to account for every single item in an estate sale, be sure to record any items that are valuable. Jotting down a description and taking a photo will help you keep track of everything, and will come in handy should anything go missing.

After Your Estate Sale Is Complete

Your contract should include details about what happens after the sale is complete. While the estate sale pro often handles clean-up, there are instances where this responsibility falls on the homeowner. Since items that don’t sell are often donated, designate who will take care of that step. 

Check for any signs of damage in the house that occurred during the sale, and reach out to your pro if you discover any issues. If the sale was a success and you are satisfied with the services of the estate sale company, take the time to leave them a positive review and offer to recommend them in the future.

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