How long have you been doing estate sales? I’ve been running Estate Sales through S&H Estate Sales & Service since April 2015. Before that I worked for an Estate Sale Company in the Madison area. All my life I’ve been attending auctions, estate sales, flea markets, & garage sales. It is my PASSION and my DREAM come true!
Are you insured? Yes. S&H is insured, however, we require proof of current homeowners insurance, as well.
Do you have the proper permits to sell legally in WI? Yes
Do you collect tax? Yes, we are required to by State law. Technically, any one who makes more than $1,000 at a Garage Sale is required to collect and pay the government sales tax.
How many estate sales have you conducted? In 2015, we held 7 Sales. In 2016, we held 24 Sales. In 2017, we ran 30 sales. In 2018 we held 21 sales (and I had 3 major surgeries and my husband had 2....it was a busy year!) We had 26 sales in 2019. We've had 30 Sales in 2020. (3 months we were shut down due to Covid 19.) In 2021 we had 34 Sales. 2022: 41 sales!
Can you provide contact information for your clients? I have referrals and you can read testimonies on the web site.
How extensive is your customer network? I advertise on Estatesales.org, Estatesales.net, Estatesale.com, Craigslist, my Facebook page, buy/sell groups on Facebook, my web site, and my own email list which is over 1600 customers. We have a lot of repeat buyers.
How long does it take to set up a sale for a 3,000 square foot house and extended 2 car garage? It depends on the state of the organization in the house currently and the amount of stuff. Typically a sale of this size could be set up within three weeks.
Would you be available to meet at the house? This is what we prefer. We allow for one free 30-minute consultation at the house so we can see everything and make sure it will be a good fit for both of us.
Can family members be at the sale? We prefer not, only because we tend to believe it will decrease sales and is very stressful and emotional for all involved.
What date would you be available to begin setting up the estate sale? We would discuss this during the consultation. We would like to be able to have access to the house between the hours of 6 a.m. and 12 a.m.
How long would the estate sale last? The sale is typically a two day sale. If there are enough items after the two day sale, a third day sale can be discussed at a higher rate of commission. We have done multiple weekends as well, depending on the situation. Typically this requires two contracts.
How far in advance would you begin to advertise the estate sale? The sale is typically advertised 4-5 days in advance on the estate sale websites. The day before for Craigslist, Facebook, and by email, since we like to only advertise the address one day in advance on the Internet for safety reasons. (This is only if we have enough time to get it staged (displayed) in advance of the advertising.) If the client pays for newspaper advertising, this typically comes out the Wednesday before the sale.
Who pays for advertising and what type of advertising is included? Any newspaper advertising is paid for out of the net-to-client receipts. We highly recommend the local shopper. Also, clients are able to BOOST internet advertising per the contract. All other advertising is S&H responsibility. Estatesales.org, Estatesales.net, Social Media, Craigslist, Yard Signs, etc.
Do you ever change the locks on the house after the homeowner gives you a key? Typically no. If we find out neighbors, family members, etc. have keys and we have found them using them during sale set-up and possibly taking items, then we will be forced to change locks, the cost goes to the client.
Do you provide an inventory of goods and estimated value based on initial pricing before the estate sale? No
Will you bring items to the house for sale that are not part of the estate? How do you keep the proceeds from the sale separate? If a sale is small, then S&H reserves the right to bring in other sale items. Each item is color coated and logged separately. However, this is not a typical situation and only at the discretion of S&H.
How many photos would you post for a 1,250 square foot house and detached two-car garage? Please refer to shestatesales.com to see past sale pictures. Some have more than 400 photos, typically all sales will have over 100.
Do you have portable racks to display clothing? Usually clothes will be displayed in the closets. If there are exceptional items those would be displayed separately. If there are more clothes than closet space, yes we will bring in portable racks.
How do you control shoppers between the house and detached garage? Each sale has it’s own interesting anomalies. This one can be addressed by staffing the garage and having the staff person write down what people want to purchase. They take the receipt to the cashier station to pay, then return to the garage to collect their item with a sold receipt.
How do you display items in a garage? In the garage and in the house, items will be displayed on any available furniture, as well as on tables that S&H provides.
What percentage of items do you put a price tag on? 90% of iems are priced individually, the rest may fall into categories such as records, linens, cds, dvds, clothes, towels, etc. which are placed on a pricing sheet that is hung all around the house.
How many check-outs would be provided? Typically just 1.
What is your pricing philosophy? Day 1 is priced as is (with some negotiation) and day 2 at 50% off everything over $1, typically. If there is a 3rd day, items may go as low as 75% off. All pricing is based on fair market value. We use Facebook Marketplace and Ebay sold prices for base values.
In your experience, what % of items sell in an estate sale? This varies greatly depending on the merchandise. Not everything sells. Maybe 40-60%.
Can we set a minimum sale price for specific items? Yes. Up to 5 items (NOT CATEGORIES OF ITEMS), however, if these items go unsold, S&H receives a small commission on those items. If S&H would have priced it, it may have sold for full commission.
What forms of payment do you accept? If you accept checks, how do you verify that the checks will not bounce? We take cash and local checks. We also allow credit card transactions over $10, the client pays the small credit card fee. S&H can not verify that a check will not bounce, but will take proper action with the police if this does occur.
Who pays for staffing? S&H Estate Sales & Service will provide ample staffing for how they see fit. If you require more than what S&H is willing to provide, that will come out of your net-to-Client receipts at a $40 per hour, per person rate.
Is there security and who pays for it? Unfortunately, S&H realizes that some minor theft by customers is inevitable. We will, however, take reasonable steps to guard against theft, for example, having small, high-value items near the check-out station. We will supply an adequate number of employees to work the sale. If you request it, or if we deem it prudent for the sale, we will also hire one or more security officers from an outside source to provide security at the sale, the cost (TBD) of which will be deducted from the net-to-Client receipts.
When and how are you paid? S&H takes their commission, or minimum, out of the total sales and the Client gets the rest (less expenses) by check within 15 business days.
What happens to the items after the estate sale is over? The Client has a choice of two options that are laid out in the contract and will be discussed during a consultation. You can either hire S&H to do the clear out for a cost, or you can do it on your own.
What is your commission? Typically it is 35%, or a $3,500 minimum, (whichever is greater) but this can go up based on location, number of items, hoarding situations, etc.