Why Can't I Be At The Sale?

It is common for estate sale companies to ask clients not to come to the sale being held at their home.  This can often come across as suspicious, but there are several very good reasons for this request.  In the end, you need to do what makes you comfortable.

It is an Emotional Time

The need to have an estate sale often involves many delicate life transition circumstances.  You may be liquidating items that you have an emotional attachment to (grandma's china dishes or that special chair).  When buyers come to your estate sale, the more it feels like a store, the better.  There are certainly items that have a history and that history is great to have.  If you would like to pass on the history of an item, it is best to do it with a note instead of an in-person story.  (This should only be done for antique pieces where the history would increase the value or help with the origins.)

Items Sell Fast

Estate sale companies rely on items selling fast in the first few hours of a sale.  If a client is in the home speaking with customers, it slows the process down and costs sales (costing you money). You’ve hired the company to do their best to liquidate an estate, but your presence could hinder the company’s ability to conduct the sale.

Some Examples of Past Problems

Here are some examples of what has happened with past clients.  This is not to say that you would do any of these things, but this is why companies are very reluctant to have clients attend the sale:

  • Crying as items are sold
  • Negotiating with customers (that's the company's job)
  • Making the environment uncomfortable for buyers (causes buyers to leave before going through everything)
  • Telling personal stories about items (usually costs the sale or slows down the process which in turn costs sales)
  • Living in the house, watching TV while people shopped around (awkward situations lose sales)
  • Taking items from customers that had already purchased them

If You Insist

If you insist on being at the sale and the estate sale company will allow that (many won't, but some will), here are some suggestions:

  • Blend In (dress like the company staff if that is alright with the company)
  • Do not speak with customers if at all possible
  • Do not interfere with price negotiations.  The things you think are worthless will sell for more than you expect, and the things you think are priceless will sell for less than you expect.  It generally works out in the end, but you need to know that most companies do this job on a weekly basis.  A good company knows what things sell for.

In The End...

If you do plan on attending the sale, you need to let the company know before signing their contract so they can decide whether or not to take your sale.  Keep in mind that one of the company's jobs is to make you the most money possible.  This in turn makes them more money.  Many companies know that having the client attend the sale will cost sales, which in turn makes the client (and the company) less money.  Hiring an estate sale company is an important decision and you should feel comfortable with the trustworthiness of the company you hire.  When in doubt, check out our Tips for Hiring a Company.