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Seattle Estate Sales

After you lose a loved one, you are in mourning and probably not ready to face going through his or her belongings. It is very tough and stressful for families to handle selling and getting rid of unwanted items.

In a 2014 article, the LA Times stated the average person possesses nearly 300,000 separate things. If your loved one was a collector or did not get rid of things regularly, there may be more items to go through. An estate sales company will help you sort and sell unwanted items. All you have to do is take the things you and your family want, and the company does the rest from evaluations of what is sellable to donating to charity.

How the estate sale process works

Most estate companies will tell you not to get rid of anything before calling. Hannah’s Attic Company lists some items that sell. There may be some valuable items that you may think are not worth much. An estate sales professional will help maximize your sale with their contacts, advertising, organization, and set procedures. They will get through the process of cleaning out and selling much more quickly than you and your family could.

Donnelly & Donnelly highlights the process on their website. First, you will meet with the estate sales company for a consultation to review items. The company will then sort, set-up, display, and price items for the sale. It typically takes around 5-10 days to prepare for a sale, which should last around three days.  

During your sale, the estate sale staff will assist shoppers, collect payment, provide security, and may auction larger items. Most estate sales companies take credit card payments, which can increase your sales. You can attend the sale if you like, but for some people, they find it too hard and stressful.

The company will then recommend charities for the remaining items. They can also assist you with clean up after the sale to bag these items. They will then give you receipts for taxes.

The company will then give you a check and a written statement for the proceeds of the sale (minus commissions), typically few days after the sale.

The cost of this service

Some companies will charge for the initial evaluation while others provide a set amount of time like a free hour consultation. Sale fees vary by company, but most average 35-40 percent of the sale proceeds. If your loved one’s home needs more advanced cleaning because of extreme clutter, the costs may be more. Some companies charge for bagging and cleaning up of other items.

Selecting an estate sales company

The best place to start is to ask your family attorney. You can also ask friends who have been through this procedure. Make sure they hired the service and were not just shoppers. Online reviews are also helpful. lists various companies for you along with websites and contact information. When you are searching, look for a company that has either the American Society of Appraisers or International Society of Appraisers Certification. It’s always wise to interview a couple of companies for the best fit. You should receive a written contract that has all the fees outlined and the timeframe and process of the sale.

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