Clearing a house full of stuff is a daunting task. Here’s a guide to help you sell and remove the items of an estate.

First, contact your realtor to make sure both of you are on the same page about selling furniture. You may want to have a buyer pick up a piece of furniture after your realtor takes pictures of the house to market it.

Second, define your goal for clearing the house by determining if you want to:
a.Clear the contents of the house quickly?
b.Maximize your earnings?

In order to keep the message simple, we are going to split this post into two separate posts. This week we will discuss option a. “Clearing the Contents of a House Quickly.” In two weeks, you can count on us discussing option b. “Clearing the Contents of a House to Maximize Value.”

In our opinion, the best way to clear the contents of a house quickly is to host an estate sale. An estate sale is when a seller turns their home into a store – effectively becoming a large-scale yard sale. There are businesses that will organize, promote, and operate an estate sale for the seller. Families can also host one themselves, but estate sales can be tough to organize and emotional, as families find it difficult to see sentimental items sell at bargain prices.

Firms that run estate sales will have an appraiser value the items for sale. Most firms require a minimum value of total goods before accepting a job, but not all firms require the same minimum. Once a job is accepted, the firm’s organizers will organize all the contents of the house on tables and other areas around the house so that guests can easily see what’s for sale. The marketers of the firm may take pictures of rare items and post them to social media or other advertising avenues to generate interest in the estate sale but are careful to never release the location of the estate sale until 24 hours before the sale commences.

A good estate seller will have a large network and know the right channels to promote an estate sale. It’s usually the case that if an estate seller has a large network, then it is able to attract more buyers to the sale. A typical sale lasts two days; however, depending on the size and the quality of the items for sale, the firm may recommend hosting a sale for more than two days. Each day the sale starts and stops at the same time, and the operator of the sale will lower the prices of the remaining goods. Operators typically choose Sundays as the last day of the sale.

Estate sales are a great way to clear the contents of a house because (1) it’s a relatively quick process; (2) there’s likely a monetary benefit to the seller; (3) the seller doesn’t have to transport any of the items, such as driving them to a consignment store or shipping them to a buyer; and (4) anything can be sold, such as furniture, used kitchen cleaners, and frozen meats. The buyers that come know that just about everything must go. Many will come looking for that one “gem,” and leave with things that you were sure that you were going to have to take to the dump later. Because it takes knowhow and work to run a sale effectively, hiring a firm will typically cost between 40%-50% of the sale proceeds.

Once the sale is complete, hire a junk removal service. A junk removal service will send people with trucks to your house who can clear the remnants and all unsold items. Usually, junk removal services charge by volume, but some may have different pricing models.

After a junk removal service hauls away your unwanted items, it would be a good idea to touch base with your realtor. He or she will consult with you about the next steps that you should take to sell your house.

In two weeks, we will release another post about a strategy we would use to clear a house and maximize earnings. 

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