Here are some commonly asked questions about the estate sale process.

What is an estate sale?  The most common reason for an estate sale is the death of the property owner and the need to quickly liquidate the deceased’s belongings.  The survivors may have no interest in the bulk of the personal belongings left by the deceased or may simply lack space to keep the belongings.  In situations where survivors cannot agree to the disposition of the tangible property, a court order may order the goods to be sold in an estate sale with the proceeds to be divided among the survivors.  Such a sale and division may also be mandated in the will of the decedent.  An estate sale may also occur because the property owner will be moving into a situation where he/she will be unable to keep his or her property; for example, a move to an assisted living facility, a retirement community,  a rest home or other living quarters.

Why should I hire an estate liquidator?  The presence of a professional estate liquidator may be necessary because the scope of the process is likely to be overwhelming for the survivors.  The liquidator often has a loyal following consisting of dealers, collectors and the general public.  The liquidator may be familiar to buyers who have been attending the liquidator’s sales for decades, and those buyers trust that the liquidator will price wisely and fairly, steering them toward finding their niches within each collector’s realm.  They value the specialist’s knowledge and experience with pricing items and general value of all types of household goods and personal property value.  The liquidator also can dispose unsold goods in an unsentimental manner after the sale.  The end result is an empty house and less burdened landfills.

What does an estate liquidation entail?  Most estate liquidations, in our case, include us coming into your home and assessing the project.  After you hire us, we sort, clean. organize, research, price, market and sell your collection and furnishings from your home.  At the end of the estate sale we will haul off or remove any items that did not sell if you specify so.  We even clean the house, garage and yard if you choose so that you can market the house and not worry about any more work.

How do I know if I need to have an estate sale?  When your home or the home of your loved one has enough items in it to house a small apartment or home, you have enough.  We need to have a full or nearly full home to have a sale in order to bring in lots of clients to give you the best price on your more expensive and collectible pieces.  If you have only a few things, a consignment or buyout might be more appropriate.

In which areas do you conduct sales?  Copper Star Estate Sales conducts sales ANYWHERE IN THE U.S.A–WE ARE NATIONWIDE.  We will go anywhere you need us!

What advertising to you do?  We utilize the latest in internet marketing/advertising, including photos, maps, social media and emails.  We write and place all newspaper advertisements, in addition to sending an email notification to our large database of subscribers.  Additionally, we post highly visible signs directing traffic to the sales.

How long before a sale is conducted would I need to contact you?  Generally, estate sales are scheduled four to six weeks out from the hire date.

What do I need to do before I hire you for an estate sale?  Absolutely nothing!  Just leave everything where it is.  Don’t clean, sort or throw anything away.  Merely remove any family heirlooms or photos that you would like to keep for you or your loved ones.  Let us decide what to throw away and what to sell–you’d be amazed at what we will be able to market.

Should I donate the general household items and/or throw away the junk in the garage, etc. before I have the liquidator in?  No–do not dispose of anything.  We can and do sell nearly all that you have, no matter how bad it looks to you.   Here is a brief list of items that often end up in the trash, but these are often good, saleable items:

  • Paper items–old letters, postcards, newspapers, magazines, instruction booklets
  • Clothing, purses, shoes, hats, belts, etc.
  • Old luggage
  • Sports equipment
  • Advertising items, such as, tins, bottles, labels, signs, store giveaways, etc.
  • Broken or chipped dishes or art glass
  • Cigar boxes or smoking paraphernalia
  • Bedding–towels, sheets, linens, etc.
  • Usable food items and cleaning supplies
  • Jewelry (even if it’s broken!)
  • Makeup
  • Fabric, buttons and anything sewing-related
  • Damaged furniture
  • Old toys, even those that are scratched, missing pieces, etc.
  • Rugs of any description
  • All miscellaneous garage items
  • Empty bags–we can even use these at the sale

How long will it take to give an estate sale?  With Copper Star Estate Sales, it normally takes a full seven days from start to finish to sort, clean, tag, stage, price, market and sell all items.  The sale is usually conducted over a weekend, starting Friday through Sunday.

What work am I responsible for during the sale?  In most cases, absolutely nothing.  It is nice if you give us a contact phone number so we can call you from time to time to check on any issues that arise, such as, “Should we sell a stamp collection we found, or would you care to keep it?”

What happens during and after the sale?  Generally, people begin lining up at our sales about 30  minutes before the start of the sale.  We allow 20-25 customers in at a time to ensure an orderly and secure sale.  We have staff members posted throughout the home assisting customers with their purchases. Our cashier checks the customers out at the door, handling all necessary transactions.  We have a professionally trained sales staff for all of our sales.

Do you have security at the sales?  If the sale is large with very expensive items, we do have trained security personnel stationed throughout the sale.

Do you sell EVERYTHING at a sale?  Although no estate sale service can claim to sell 100% of the household contents, throughout the sale we typically sell between 80-85% of the items for sale between the actual sale itself and our “after sale procedures.”  Items of value that do not sell at the sale can be kept or donated to a charitable organization, all at the discretion of the owner.

Do you accept bids during the sale?  Yes.  Any higher valued item can be considered a bid item.  Throughout the sale, we make available slips of paper on which interested customers are asked to enter a description of an item and the price they are willing to pay.  The customer will then give this to the cashier.  After the second day of the sale, we will look at the bids and accept the highest reasonable bid.

How will I know what I sold and for how much?  Copper Star Estate Sales gives you a complete computerized inventory of the sale, as well as a list of the items gone at the end of the liquidation. 

What happens if a family member has hidden items, such as money,  jewelry, photos, love letters, personal papers,  inside the house and they are found by the liquidator?  We simply set these things aside, along with anything else that seems too personal to sell without permission, and have the family come and retrieve the items; or we will mail them to you upon request.

What if I decide I want to keep something out of the sale?  Simply ask, and we will set the item aside for you.

How do you appraise art?  We can appraise certain art and do so by researching it.  If we feel we need someone more knowledgeable, we hire a local appraiser we trust that charges the same fee as we do and we split the cost. 

How do you evaluate appraisals on items that have already been done, such as, furs or jewelry?  We generally take a percentage of set value, but it also would depend on the age of the appraisal and who did the appraisal.

How does the liquidator get paid from my sale?  Copper Star Estate Sales works on a commission from the net proceeds of the estate sale itself, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.  You do not pay us out of pocket–ever!

Who pays the sales tax from the purchases made by the general public who do not hold resale numbers?  We do, off the entire sale, not just our end.

What if I should decide that I want to cancel the sale after you have worked on it for a while?  What happens?  We would charge you for our time worked and the money spent on advertising.  This is not preferred, but we understand when people change their minds and hearts.

How do I contact you and get a contract sent to me?  You may email copperstar@earthlink.net  or call us at 901-827-8893.