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Below, you'll find a list of frequently asked questions regarding estate sales. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it best to go to an antique buyer, estate sale company, or an antique auction house?
You can sell your antiques or estate items a number of ways. Each one has pros and cons.

An antique buyer is the best place to sell your most valuable antiques, whether you’re selling a single piece to an entire collection. Antique buyers help you research your item and have the knowledge and expertise to know precisely what your items are worth.

Estate sales are a great way to sell personal and household items, but are not the best option for your silver, gold, or other high-priced valuables. Estate sale professionals can help you to appropriately price your items.

Auction houses provide you with the opportunity to sell any type of item, including medium-range, high-end, or rare items. Auction houses typically have a large buyer base and provide well-marketed sales. At this type of sale, you’re able to set a reserve price to ensure your items are selling for what they’re worth.
 
What should I ask an estate sale company before hiring them?
While a professional estate sale company can ensure you get the most for your belongings, it can be daunting to find a genuine antique silver dealer near you. Since there are so many estate sale companies based in Florida, make sure you do your research before signing with any of them. It’s a good idea to visit other estate sales they conduct to find out how the sale will be run and see what kind of crowd they attract. 

Keep in mind, your most valuable items like gold and silver pieces are better suited for sale at an auction house or through an antique dealer. You’ll get the best price for your most valuable items with one of these options instead of an estate sale company.

Some important questions to ask an estate sale company include: 
  • How will you determine the value of my items?
  • What are your fees, and do you charge a commission?
  • How will my sale be advertised? Will I be charged for any marketing efforts?
  • Should I sell my antiques or just my household goods?
  • How is the sale staffed? Do you provide security, and if not, how will you ensure my property is safe during the sale?
  • What happens on the last day of the sale? Will you discount my items to help them sell, and if so, by how much?
  • Will you put reserves on my most valuable items?
  • After the estate sale has ended, what happens to my items that aren’t sold?
  • Do you charge for item pick-up or drop-off?
  • How will you leave my property after the sale?
What are good questions to ask an antique auction house before signing up?
It’s best to go to some auction houses in your area before choosing one for the sale of your antiques. This way, you’ll see what type of turnout there is at each house as well as what types of antiques they specialize in. A good auction house will also give you an idea of how much your antiques will sell for during an auction.

Some important questions to ask before making a decision include:
  • How can I get my items to your auction house? Do you offer pick-up?
  • How are your auctions marketed and advertised?
  • What is your commission?
  • Do you charge a listing fee?
  • Do you put reserve prices on the items that you sell?
  • What is your sell-through rate?
  • What happens to my items if they don’t sell?
  • Are my items insured against theft or damage while at your auction house?
  • Are your auctions on-site or online?
  • How long will it take to get my money after a sale?
When is the best time to sell my estate outright to an antique dealer or estate purchasing company?
It depends on how quickly you need to liquidate your estate. First, do research to make sure that you’re getting a fair price. Researching items online before taking them in to an antique dealer or estate company is a good way to do this. 

At Bentley Crest Estate Buyers, we examine your collection before providing a value analysis, which is the amount your items are expected to sell for at an auction. We will then place a bid just under that amount when you are ready to sell.

What do I do if I have specialized collections to sell? Where is the best place to sell these items?
If you have a specialized collection to sell (silver, bronzes, post-war paintings, jewelry, etc.), you must do your homework about each piece before attempting to sell them. It’s best to use online resources and the help of an antique dealer to find out your items’ history and estimated values of what they might be worth. 

Specialty items are best sold at auction houses or outright to an antique dealer. Estate sales are not the best places for these items since most customers aren’t searching for high-valued items at these types of sales. If you haven’t properly researched your items, they could be sold for much less than they’re worth.

Collections are most valuable when kept together. Don’t break them apart to sell individual pieces because collectors and antique dealers are usually interested in purchasing entire collections.

Is Florida the best place to sell my antiques and collectibles?
While there are many places in Florida to sell a lot of your antiques and collectibles, some items might do better in a different location. For instance, a collection of Asian bronze sculptures or antiques may be better suited for a New York auction venue that specializes in those types of items. If you’re unsure of where to sell your antiques and collectibles, reach out to an antique dealer for some helpful insight.

When is the best time to sell my estate?
The best time to conduct an estate sale is during the warmer seasons, since potential customers will be more willing to travel to your sale. Sales can be conducted year-round, though, so if you don’t have time to wait, you can conduct your sale at any time during the year. Remember, your house does not have to be sold before you hold an estate sale. Your home can even be on the market and you can still host a successful estate sale with the assistance of a reputable, experienced company.

What is the 80/20 rule when working with an antique estate or collection?
The 80/20 rule is pulled from the Pareto principle of business. It means that 80% of the value will be amassed in only 20% of your items. Not all items in your collection will carry significant value, so it’s critical to put the most effort into this 20% of your collection. Do extensive research into these items and speak with an antique dealer or buyer for assistance in determining worth before valuing your collection.


What is the best way to research my antiques and collections?
Begin by looking at some online resources, as there are many free websites available that are dedicated to antiques. You can search for your particular collectibles, or search by designer or manufacturer. You can also do a photo search to find items that look similar to items in your collection. 

Keep in mind, not all online resources are free. You may have to sign up for subscription-based sites to get more accurate information regarding the value of your items. This is especially true for paintings, silver pieces, jewelry, antique furniture, or bronze statues. 

Luckily, many antique buyers in Florida provide a free verbal evaluation of your antiques. Experts in the area can also help you to learn more about the history and value of your collections. 

Where is the best place to advertise if I want to hold my own estate sale?
If you’re looking to hold an estate sale on your own without the help of a professional estate sale company, you’ll need to be sure to market your sale appropriately. Physical signs are important in directing customers to your home, but you should also advertise your sale online ahead of time. 

Some sites to use include:
  • Estatesales.net
  • Estatesales.org
  • Craigslist
The local newspaper is also helpful in attracting potential customers who are not computer savvy.
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