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Factors that go into Pricing a Household Sale
by John Sullivan

Renaissance Household Sales

Every household sale company has its own method of putting value on the production of a sale. From percentage of sales to flat fees to hourly rates, it is important that these companies make an amount of money that covers their costs and yields a reasonable profit. It is also important for clients to understand the factors that determine the cost of a sale.

Pre-sale preparation varies from sale to sale. I have conducted sales that required two of us working twenty hours each to one that demanded over 150 hours of prep time. What makes the difference? The size of the house, the amount of personal property, the cleanliness of the home, and the existing organization of personal property that needs to be made ready for the sale are all factors that go into determining pre-sale prep time.

Most homes are fairly well organized and require little cleaning. However, property needs to be brought out of closets, china cabinets, drawers, suitcases, and various nooks and crannies to be organized, priced, and displayed so that it’s easily seen and obtainable to customers. While a “picker’s paradise” is fun in theory, the liability that comes with having customers stumble through chaos is just too high. Even the most organized homes require many hours of bringing property out on display, cleaning things, as necessary, and pricing.

There are homes that belonged to people who could never part with anything they ever owned, to people who were avid QVC shoppers, or to people who spent their lives collecting. Think Norman Rockwell, Avon, records, books, leaded glassware, or Christmas paraphernalia. These homes usually require more than the average number of hours to prepare.

Whatever amount of time it take to prepare for a sale, you need to keep in mind that people are spending time on that preparation, and they need to be paid for their time.

The marketing of a sale also requires money. In the household sale industry, we are fortunate to have a highly renowned website, estatesales.net that is most people’s go-to when it comes to finding sales. Household sales companies advertise their upcoming sales on this site and pay a monthly fee based on how visible they want their company to be and on how many pictures of personal property they want to upload onto ads.  Additionally, companies use other social media, websites, and local media to promote upcoming sales. Perhaps the most useful marketing tool is the company’s lawn sign, many of which are scattered within a certain radius of the sale and direct traffic to the sale location. These signs attract many, many local people to sales.

During the sale itself, which can last from one to three days, companies hire people to do such things as monitor traffic flow through the house, offer customer service, work the check-out area, prevent theft, consolidate goods as things are sold, and answer questions. Payment to all of these people comes out of the fee charged by the company.

Renaissance Household Sales
Renaissance Household Sales

Post sale hours are devoted to packing up property that has not sold and putting the house in order. When hiring a household sale company, it is important that expectations are clear about who is responsible for unsold goods.  Sales records are also put in order after the sale, and time is spent depositing cash and checks in the bank so that a final check can be cut for the client.

Finally, there are many incidentals required for a household sale that add up over time. Pricing stickers, tags, and safety pins (for pricing clothing and some furniture), Plastic bags, newspaper, writing tools, signage, receipt books, cash register, cash register tape, and credit card machine, expense of credit card sales, folding tables, clothes racks, tablecloths (and their maintenance) are all costs that need to be calculated into the price of the sale.

A household sale company spends more time and energy prepping for and conducting sales than most people imagine. It is worth the price you pay to a company to relieve yourself of the hours and hours of time and effort you would spend doing it yourself.  Having a company do the sale also frees you from the stress of parting with personal property with which you may have an emotional attachment.

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