An estate sale is often a stressful period of time. Estate sales generally occur following a family member's death or due to a liquidation of assets, such as either a divorce or a bankruptcy. But though an estate sale can be stressful, it also needs to be handled correctly to acquire the most value from the goods being sold. Appraisal services from a company like Lipton Inc are always recommended -- and there are some things you can do to prepare.
Don't Clean or Repair Your Items
Your items should be cleaned, repaired, and otherwise modified before the sale itself -- and only if they aren't valuable or antiques. You should never clean or repair items before the appraisal occurs. Appraisers are expert professionals who are able to look past a little dust to see the true value of an item. More importantly, many items can be damaged by cleaning and could lose value if they are cleaned.
Find Supporting Documents for Provenance
Are your items antiques? You'll want to collect any certificates of authenticity, prior appraisals, and other information. If you don't have any of this information -- such as for an antique kept in your family -- you may want to look for any old pictures that have the item in them. This can be used to successfully date items at least to the point of the photo. Even letters discussing certain pieces (such as an expensive art piece) could potentially be important in dating and determining its origins.
Pull Heavy or Large Items Away from Walls
Usually an appraisal is done within the estate itself, i.e. within the home. If there are any large items of furniture, they should be pulled away from the wall. Furniture often has maker's marks which can be anywhere on the item itself -- and the appraiser will also need to make sure that the entire item of furniture is in good condition. You may also want to make sure that everything is well lit for the same reason.
Unbox and Unwrap Everything
Finally, if there are still items that have been packed for storage, you should take the time to unpack them and put them on "display." An appraiser will only have a certain amount of time and you'll want them to go through as much of the estate as possible.
Your estate sale company may have appraisal services that they are used to working with, but you might also want to get a second (or even third) opinion on higher cost items. These high value items may require a specialist to get a true price on.