Frequently Asked Questions

What is an estate sale?  How does it differ from a garage sale?

Garage sales are generally small-scale attempts by homeowners to clear out the clutter and get rid of unwanted household items. They are typically held over the weekends, in driveways and garages, and advertised on brightly colored poster boards, detailed in scribbly text. 

Estate Sales are held when all or most of the contents of an entire home are no longer wanted or needed.  Nearly everything in the home can be sold from furniture, home decor and artwork to clothing, accessories and tools.  Estate sales are widely advertised on the internet and locally on social media.  Estate sale patrons tour the entire home including the garage to view and purchase the items.  Garage sale patrons tend to look for extreme bargains while estate sale patrons seek out unique antique or vintage items as well as utilitarian and new items.  Estate sales attract far more people than a garage sale.

Why should I have an estate sale?

Dealing with the scope of an estate or a family home can be difficult. Oftentimes you have an entire house full of furniture, knick-knacks - even food!  Rather than dealing with it alone, Family Home Estate Sales can give the help you need during this emotional time.  People attending the sale will find things they love, collect or need and give them a second life.  Estate sales always result in more money to the estate than other alternatives such as a buyout or donation

Can't I just do my own estate sale? Why should I hire Family Home Estate Sales?

Conducting a successful estate sale is not easy. It takes a great deal of time and effort to pull it off.  We present the items in the home in a high-class manner, adding value to them. We know how to price items properly, balancing our desire to get the most we can while still satisfying the patrons. We know how to effectively advertise to get the right buyers to the sale, using a combination of marketing to our regular customers and reaching out to new ones by highlighting particular items of interest. During the sale, we foster a lively and fun environment - patrons love to follow us from sale to sale! Our service more than pays for itself in the manner of generating a greater total value of the estate. We are honest and hard-working and will do everything in our power to ensure your sale will be a successful one.

What should I do to get ready for an estate sale?

All you really need to do is decide what you would like to keep. We do the rest. And please DO NOT throw anything away!  We cannot stress this enough. What you may discard could potentially generate a lot of money for your estate. Things like spices in the cupboards, pots & pans, raw lumber or materials, half-empty or even empty bottles or used greeting cards are all things that sell at an estate sale.  All the little things can really add up, meaning more money in your pocket and less for the landfill!  Please do not be embarrassed if the home is in a disarray.  We are professionals and see homes at every level of organization and bring order to chaos.  

What is the process once I decide I want to have an estate sale?

The first step is to contact us by phone at 512-599-1330 or by e-mail at We will answer any questions you have and offer to e-mail our information sheet to you. The information sheet will summarize how the estate sale service works and detail the commission schedule. The next step would be to schedule a no-obligation appointment so Tiffany can meet you in person and take a tour of the home to see what is for sale.  From there, she can suggest a plan depending upon your schedule to most profitably and effectively sell the household items. Once the plan is accepted, we schedule the dates for the preparation and sale.

What should I do with the items the family wishes to keep?

If there is any doubt as to whether an item should be kept, please keep it. The item can always be sold at a later date. Ideally items that will be kept are removed from the home before the estate sale set-up begins. If this is not possible, designate a room to store smaller items which will be off limits to patrons. Clearly mark items that are not to be sold and/or cannot be moved "Not For Sale" before the estate sale preparation begins.

What should I expect from an estate sale?

You can expect a large crowd of customers to come to the house during the sale and to shop directly from the estate. If the home is for sale, you can often expect interest on the home during the course of the sale. You can also expect questions on selling just about everything in your home – light fixtures, drapery, appliances…even rocks in landscaping! We will cover all of this with you during our initial interview and evaluation of your estate sale.

How are items priced?

It is our experience that while people may feel an object is worth a certain amount, the market value is often far from the asking price. It is best to let us price the entire estate. If we ask too much for your estate items, they will not sell.  However, if there are certain items that you wish to place a reserve on, we can certainly make that happen. Reserves should only be placed on very few select items in the estate and that those items be worthy of a reserve such as silver sets, any unique pieces or expensive jewelry for example. 

How much will the estate sale cost me?

The short answer to that is nothing!  There is never a deposit or upfront fee.  All costs are deducted from the gross proceeds of the estate sale.  Each estate sale is unique and we base costs on a sliding scale taking several options and challenges into consideration. We typically charge a 40% commission. Items of a higher value (autos, RV’s, etc.) will be assessed a lower commission based on sale value.  This covers labor, staffing, advertising, credit card processing fees. 

Our commission covers the following:

      • Complete setup
        • We bring our own tables and supplies to display the estate items to sell.
        • We clean and shine everything we can to help it sell.
        • We move furniture around to display it for the sale.
      • Advertising
        • We submit ads to all online venues; Craigslist,, etc.
        • We submit emails to our own dedicated customer base.
      • Operating the Sale
        • We staff the estate sale with enough people to deter theft and damage to property and assist attendees.
      • Post-Estate Handling and Clean-up
        • The choices after an estate are left to the estate owners. We can either haul everything off (for donation or disposal) or return the house and contents to the estate after the sale.

How will the items be displayed?

Family Home Estate Sales takes a great deal of time and care displaying the items in a home. We merchandise the items of the house as if they were on sale at a store. We group like items together and place them on tables we bring in and skirt them with fabric.  We use display shelves to showcase nicer items. Everything gets priced in a nice and clear manner and displayed in an appealing way.  We use personalized price tags and attach them directly to the item when possible.  We create matching signs on card stock for furniture and items priced higher than $80. Jewelry and valuable small items are kept at the cashier table for added security. During the sale, we will continually consolidate and move items to keep things looking attractive and to promote their sale.

I see you conduct mostly 3-day sales. Why?

A 3-day sale with advertised discounting on the weekend days is the most effective way to maximize the value of the estate. Our goal is to get the most we can for your items while balancing this with your need to liquidate the contents of the home. Our sales run Friday-Saturday with an advertised discount of 25% of Saturday and 50% on Sunday.  Sundays are also wonderful days to hold estate sales. Patrons generally have more free time and enjoy attending the sales as a family.

May I attend the sale?

In our experience, we have found that the estate sale process can be an emotional one for clients and it is best not to attend the sale. Estate sale patrons do not have the same emotional attachment to the belongings in the home and it can be upsetting for the family to see patrons with items that hold memories.  It’s rather like when your realtor tells you not to be present when potential buyers are touring your home. We will keep in touch with the progress of the sale by telephone and/or e-mail. The decision to hire an estate sale company to conduct a professional sale is a very smart one so allow us to handle all of the minutia involved, relax and wait for the check to arrive!

Friends would like to buy items from the estate. Should I just sell them the items? 

We have seen all too often the value of the estate depleted by presales to family and friends for a fraction of their fair market value. The items that interest family and friends tend to also motivate estate sale patrons to come to your sale. Ask yourself - is the relationship with that person such that you would give the item to them? If so then by all means simply give it to them. Otherwise, invite them to attend the estate sale. We can then price the items properly, increasing the value of the estate. We are happy to work with you to offer a discount to family and friends if desired.

What happens to the unsold items? 

There is generally not much left of value after the sale finishes. Our goal is to sell as many items as possible onsite during the weekend. The next step after the sale is generally to either donate or dispose of unsold items.  During the contract review, we determine together if there is a specific charity or organization you would like to come into the home and remove the unsold items. We also work with professional clear-out crews for jobs small to large that will remove everything.  If a more thorough cleaning is desired, we can suggest a professional house cleaner to mop floors, clean bathrooms, etc., leaving the home totally ready for its next step!

How and when is payment made? 

We use a state-of-the art point of sale system at every location, recording EVERYTHING that has sold, even if the item is only 25 cents. Items of lesser value are categorized and items of greater value itemized. After the sale, a package is then prepared which includes the check, summary sheet and detailed report. This is a labor-intensive process and when complete you will have comprehensive information which will satisfy any executor, attorney or bank representative which may be involved in making sure the estate sale was conducted in an ethical manner.   Payment is typically made within five days of the end of the sale.

There are so many estate sale companies it's overwhelming! How can I choose the right one?

We strongly believe that you choose an estate sale company that you feel is a good fit for you. Choosing a company with a lower commission rate does not necessarily mean you will make more money. A company with better advertising and presentation skills will be more successful at selling your items. We do not believe in badmouthing other companies but please be careful with your choice. The estate sale business is not regulated and anyone can start a company as there are no requirements. We started our company as people who attend estate sales and were alarmed by the questionable business practices we saw. We knew that there was a better way and always strive to be the best!

What if I have other estate sale questions?

We tried to answer the most commonly asked questions in this section but if you still have questions, please call us at 512-599-1330 or email us at and we’ll be happy to help!