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Having an estate sale or a tag sale or a garage sale or yard sale is a great way to quickly clear out your house of unwanted things and to get some money from willing buyers.  If you can't run the sale yourself, you might consider hiring a professional to run your sale for you.  Here are some tips and ideas about having a sale at your home and what questions you should ask the person or company your might hire to run your estate sale, tag sale or garage sale.


Update April 17, 2012  Having an estate sale or a tag sale or a garage sale is like selling your house because it takes a lot of planning and preparation and work.  Except a house sale can take weeks or months, but an estate sale or tag sale must be completed in one or two days in most cases.  Some of us do not want to do the work ourselves -- or maybe we just can't do it ourselves -- or we know that a professional can do it better.  So, here are some basic tips about finding a company to run your estate sale or tag sale.

1.  Get a recommendation.  It's just like finding a doctor or a lawyer or a realtor -- a recommendation from a friend or coworker about a good estate sale planner is worth a lot.  So ask around and when you find someone check their references or check online ratings.  It seems that everything is rated online these days.

2.  Talk to the candidate companies for your sale early so you can carefully ask them about their services, their knowledge about the things you are selling, their experience selling such things, and their prices for their work.  Also ask them about support after the sale.  All of these are crucial questions.

3.  What services will they offer?  Will they advertise your sale and where?  Will there be signs, advertisements in newspapers or on Internet message boards?  Do they have a mailing list because they've been in business for years and have a following?  Do they advertise on TV and does their company name and brand carry some weight?  Using a well known company might help you attract buyers.  Sotheby is likely to attract a certain level of buyer that Joe's Auction Sales won't.  Will they help get your property ready for the sale and provide traffic control, help with parking, security for people coming into your home?  Will they help the buyers remove their purchased items from your home?  Will the company have bags and wrapping paper, and will they deal with movers who have to come later to remove furniture?

4.  Check out their knowledge of what you are selling.  If you are selling a large collection of Joan Miro limited edition prints you don't want to hire someone who things those pictures were made by your grandchildren with crayola crayons.  (If you don't know who Joan Miro is, check Google.)  And if you are selling grandpa's stamp collection or A Gauge model trains you want to be sure your company will know how to price them, market them, display them and can answer questions from buyers.  The company that you hire might want to obtain proof of the authenticity of the collectibles you are selling.

5.  Has this company had experience selling items such as those in your sale?  If the company does have experience they might also have a list of collectors or buyers who would be the best customers for your property.  On the other hand if you are selling a collection of Alexander Calder stabiles and mobiles and the only mobiles this company has ever seen were made out of paper in elementary school, you might have a problem.  If you are selling a collection of antique autos find a company that has sold autos before or could bring in a specialist.

6.  What are they going to charge you?  Is there a flat fee or a commission?  If your sale disappoints you is there a reduced commission?  Are you going to pay for the advertising or is this something that is included in your fee?  How much do you have to pay them before the sale and how much after the sale?  Do they have a contract or are you just shaking hands on the deal?

7.  And after the sale what will they do for you?  Will they clean up, contact buyers who expressed interest but did not pull the trigger at the day of the sale?  Can they take some of your unsold items and put them in another sale or do they have a store or website where they can offer the items for sale?  Can they help you arrange for making donations of your unsold items to a charity?  Can they put some of your items on eBay where they might bring even better prices?

These are all important questions to ask because it will help you sort out the professionals from those who think anybody can run a sale.  In fact, a lot of people have set up estate sale and tag sale companies thinking that anybody can do it.  But not everybody can do it the right way.

Here on our new media website "Moneyman" Alan Mendelson who is the original Best Deals TV Show reporter on KCAL9 and consumer advocate, shows you the best deals on TV, and the best buys, bargains and where savvy shoppers go to save, and how to get the most for "your money" with the best of Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.  Our Best Buys TV Show has the best TV deals and is the only regularly scheduled weekly best deals TV show in Southern California.  We show you the best buys and best deals on TV and more deals and bargains on and and watch for our Las Vegas TV show Vegas Best Buys.  Some of the content can come from paid advertising and from our advertiser paid TV infomercial programs.  The Best Buys TV Show is a paid infomercial program which may also include news and information which is not sponsored or paid for by advertisers. has the highest ranking among competitive sites in Southern California according to the independent website ranking companies and and our Best Buys TV Show is the most watched shopping and consumer information show in Southern California.

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