What is an Estate Sale?

Estate Sale FAQs for Sellers

What is the best way to liquidate an estate?

Many people choose to use an estate sale company to sell the items in an estate. It is usually the fastest way to sell higher-end items for the most amount of money. With our expertise in the market, we will be able to help you determine if this is the best route for you.

Do I need art or antiques to do an estate sale?

No, most people who come to estate sales don’t look for art or antiques. They look for furniture, tools, collectibles, kitchen items, and the like.

Should I throw stuff out before the sale?

We recommend having us come out before you throw anything away. Sometimes items estate owners think are garbage can actually sell for quite a lot of money.

Why should I hire the Great Estate?

There are numerous estate sale companies to consider. Our team is incredibly kind, caring, respectful, and ethical. Our company policies forbid sales to team members before the sale or setting aside items they are interested in. Our crew has been vetted and has worked with us for years.

What payment methods are accepted at the sale?

Cash, Zelle, and Credit Carts are accepted at the sale.

What do you do with the items left after the sale?

After the sale, our team will pack up our property. Any remaining items that haven’t been sold will be left to be dealt with at the owner’s discretion. We can advise and help arrange for a donation pick-up or professional clean-out.

Are credit cards accepted at the sale?

Yes, all credit cards, debit cards, and Zelle are accepted.

When is the best time to do an estate sale?

Estate sales happen year-round. The best time is when you are ready for a transition.

What happens when you come to the property?

Our consultant will meet with you at the property. We will discuss which items you are interested in selling and which items, if any, will be excluded. We will review our service agreement, answer any questions, and schedule a date if you are prepared to move forward.

Is there a fee to have you come out for a consultation?

No, our consultations are free.

Do I need an estate sale contract/agreement?

Yes, you will want to sign an agreement after you have decided an estate sale is a path you want to take, so you have, in writing, what is expected of you and the company you choose to hire.

How do you determine the prices for my items?

Our team has extensive knowledge and numerous resources we use to help determine what a buyer will pay for an item today. We call experts, research online sources, have an extensive library, and study valuation sites in order to determine a fair market value.

How do I choose an estate sale company?

When you are selling family heirlooms and items of value, it is important that you feel you can trust the people and the company you are working with. They should be responsive, open to your questions and concerns, and have been around for a while. You need someone you can trust to be in your home.

Can I live in the house while you set up and hold the estate sale?

Yes. However, we do prefer you leave during the sale as it can be emotional for the owner.

My house is a mess and I am embarrassed.

We often hear this. We are not here to judge, but to handle your case with compassion and empathy, and to get you the best value for your items.

Is there an upfront fee for the estate sale?

There are no upfront fees.

Are all estate sale companies insured?

Estate sale companies come in different shapes and sizes, from mom and pop to full scale businesses. We want to protect your interests, so we are fully insured and our employees are covered by worker’s compensation. We are happy to provide proof.

How far in advance should I call for an estate sale?

The more advance notice the better, so feel free to call months in advance.

What does the setup process entail?

On the first day, The Great Estate truck will show up with tables and locking display/jewelry cases needed for the sale. We will then start photographing and researching items, setting prices, and preparing the house for people to walk around safely. We will consider flow and traffic patterns as we create the best environment for shoppers.

How many days will the estate sale last?

Typically sales are run from Saturday until Sunday. In some circumstances, we may alter the days or add additional days.

I live out of state; can we still do an estate sale?

Absolutely. We are happy to assist people who have a property in the Chicagoland area and southern WI. We have had people mail keys to us, or have a friend or family member let us in. We will then provide a consultation over the phone via Zoom.

Should I throw things away?

Have you heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Don’t assume it’s trash. People will buy many things at an estate sale, including used bottles of perfume, old newspapers, cleaning supplies, etc. There will be time to throw things away after the sale.

What should I do to help with the estate sale?

We ask that anything you don’t want sold be pointed out and moved out of the area the sale will be held in so it doesn’t cause confusion on the part of buyers during the sale.

Why should I hire an estate sale company?

An estate sales company has the expertise, time, connections, marketing, and lack of emotional attachment to your items needed to ensure you get the best value. We know the market value of items and what buyers will pay for them. We have connections to people who are interested in genre of items that will pay top dollar. We market the sale to new and past clients, as well as people across the U.S. who would have interest in your items. We are not emotionally attached to the items, which helps us set a fair price for them

Are all estate sales companies the same?

No. They run from small mom and pop operations to large corporations. Some are business, others are run more like hobbies. Some protect you by having insurance, others leave you liable for accidents.

Should I help with, or be present for, the sale?

In our experience, estate sales are very emotional for many people and buyers don’t have the same emotional attachment to the items you do. This can leave owners very upset and buyers put off to the point they leave without buying anything. This is the same reason Realtors ask you not to be home for showings when you are selling your house. Hire a company you can trust and spend your time at ease.

How long does it take to set up an estate sale?

Each property is unique. Typically, our crew can have a home prepared for sale on 2-3 days.

When should I expect proceeds from the sale?

A check will be mailed within 7-10 business days after the sale.

I want to sell my house. Can I market it at the sale?

Yes, feel free to leave flyers out. We do ask that no showings take place during the hours of the sale. This is for your safety, as rooms may be locked to protect items you don’t want to sell.

How do you market the sale?

We use EstateSales.net, Facebook, OfferUp, social media channels, and our large mailing list. We also market to our network of frequent followers that attend our sales.

What about items we don’t want sold?

We don’t want any confusion during the sale, so we prefer items you don’t want sold be removed from the house or put in a separate room that is locked or taped so people don’t enter. If some items are too large to move, we can put “NOT FOR SALE” stickers or signs on them.

Do you offer other services?

We can help arrange for donations and clean-outs if necessary, as well as connecting you to some of the best real estate agents in the community.

Estate Sale FAQs for Buyers

Will you sell items before the sale?

Select items may be offered on a case-by-case basis. Please call if you see something you are interested in. (847-805-8878).

When should I come to an estate sale?

Estate sales are held on a first come, first served basis, unless otherwise posted.

How do I reach you if I am interested in buying something?

You can call us at 847-805-8878, or email Alan@TheGreatEstateLLC.com

Do you load items into my car?

No, unfortunately, we can’t due to insurance regulations. Please bring all necessary equipment and people to help you transport your purchases safely.

Is there a limit to the number of people that can be in a property at one time

Yes. Our experienced crew will determine how many people can be in the property safely at one time, and will limit the amount when it is met. As people leave, others will be allowed to enter.

Where will your upcoming sales be?

Sales are posted on EstateSales.net, our website, and our Facebook page.

Why don’t you post addresses in advance?

Sales are posted on EstateSales.net, our website, and our Facebook page.

What areas do you cover?

We cover Cook and the collar counties of Chicago, as well as southern Wisconsin.

Can I negotiate at an estate sale?

Yes, you can make offers on items. They may not be accepted, but you can always ask.

How did you determine the price of an item?

Our experienced team has years of pricing experience. Anything out of the ordinary will be researched.

Are there refunds or exchanges?

No. Please inspect all items prior to purchasing.

When are sales held?

Usually sales are held Saturday and Sunday. Some sales may require different days, so please check our website or EstateSales.net to confirm prior to making the drive.

Can I use the bathroom at an estate sale?

Unfortunately, it is not our house, so we aren’t allowed to open the bathrooms up to the public. Homeowners will make certain areas of the home off limits, including bathrooms.

Will there be a sign up sheet for the sale?

Yes. They are posted at the front door prior to the sale.

Where do you post your sales?

We post our sales on EstateSales.Net, Facebook, FB MarketPlace, OfferUp, and other social media channels.