Estate Sale Tips

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Are there estate sales available online?

Online Estate Auctions

There are a myriad of estate sales available online. Usually the entire estate is not for sale online. Instead, the next of kin or the executor of the estate will put portions of the estate up for auction online. In this way, they hope to maximize profits, avoiding the fees of the auction house and receiving the maximum price for each individual item. In addition, an auction house may offer portions of an estate sale online in order to generate more bidding (and hopefully more profit) for the auction. In order to find estate sales online, you should first begin by searching through the major online auction sites. Look, also, on websites of individual auction houses for estate sale listings.

How can I find estate sales in my area?

Finding Estate Sales

So you're looking to pick up some heirloom items and want to find an estate sale? Well, with a little simple research, you find many estate sales in your area. Obviously, the more densely populated the area in which you live, the more estate sales you will be able to find. A quick perusal of classified ads and obituaries in your local paper can help to point you in the right direction. After that, you should either go online or begin making phone calls to auction houses in your area to see if they are hosting any estate sales. Lastly, you can search major online auctions sites, such as eBay, which occasionally have estate sale listings.

How are estate sales usually conducted?

The Conduct Of Estate Auctions

Estate Auctions are usually conducted either by or at the request of the executor of the estate. In most cases, the executor, usually an attorney or next of kin, contracts an auction house to auction off the estate. If no executor has been named and there is no next of kin, the state may contract an auction house to auction off the estate in order to recoup outstanding debts. The auction itself may take place at any number of places, including auctions houses or on the property to be auctioned. During the course of the auction, all of the assets of the estate are put up for bidding, including both real property and the personal items of the deceased.

What is an estate sale?

Estate Sale

An estate sale is the sale of a person's or family's property after their death. The sale usually consists of, but is not limited to, real property and personal property. In terms of real property, items such as land and homes owned by the deceased are sold. Personal property offered usually includes cars, furniture, clothes, antiques, flatware, electronics, collectibles and any other items that were owned by the estate holder. Additionally, an estate sale may occasionally include other portions of the deceased's assets, such as stocks and bonds. These auctions are usually conducted by the executor of the deceased's estate.

What should I look for at an estate auction?

Items Offered At Estate Sales

Estate sales have a way of offering interesting items. After all, all of the goods that have been collected over a person's entire life are being sold off at the same time. Estate sales are great ways to acquire items that are usually passed down in families. Sets of silver, quilts, heirloom jewelry, and men's watches can all be acquired at estate auctions. Estate auctions are occasionally also good places to find real property that has been in a single family for a long period of time. Land such as farms, or choice residential and commercial real estate is often available at estate sales. Lastly, estate sales are a good way of acquiring antiques at reasonable prices. The very nature of an estate auction guarantees that some of the goods being sold will be older, increasing the likelihood of finding antique furniture and other items.

I want to have an estate sale, how should I go about doing it?

Creating An Estate Sale

There are two primary ways in which you can create an estate sale. If you wish for your estate to be liquidated through auction after your death, you should stipulate that in your will. You will need to name who you wish to oversee your estate auction and who you wish to have the proceeds. If you are the executor of an estate and wish to hold an auction, you will need to consult a lawyer to make sure that you have legal purview to do so. After receiving legal clearance, you will need to contact an auction house in the area of the estate to oversee the sale. Alternatively, you can seek to sell the estate yourself online through an online auction site, though such an action is very labor intensive for a large estate.

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.