Frequently Asked Questions

The estate sale process is exciting, but can also be confusing and a little scary if you are new to it. At Exceptional Estate Sales, it is our goal to make the process transparent, easy and even fun! To help with that, we've provided answers below to some of the most common questions we hear.

Hosting an Estate Sale
Is an estate sale right for me?

Estate sales are most successful when the homeowner has a wide variety of items to sell, including furniture, clothing, collectibles, kitchen items, art, lawn equipment, tools, rugs, antiques, jewelry, appliances or almost anything else you can think of. Homes should be easily accessible, ideally with on street parking or a nearby lot available for customers.

Estate sales are relatively hassle-free for homeowners, since the items are sold directly from the home and do not have to be packed or shipped. Because the sale usually happens in one day, items are sold quickly, without a drawn out consignment process.

Only you can decide if an estate sale is right for your unique situation, but we will be happy to consult with you over the phone or by email. Before scheduling an estate sale, we will also meet with you in person, at no charge, to walk through the house and help you decide if an estate sale is the best path for you.

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How much notice do you need to schedule an estate sale?

In order to secure your preferred sale date, it is best to contact us at least 30 days in advance. During our busy season (April-August) dates can fill up quickly, so we recommend contacting us as early as possible as we are sometimes booked 2-3 months out. Because of the logistical complexities of advertising, scheduling and staging a sale, we will not be able to accept a sale with less than two weeks notice.

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I live in a condo or apartment. Can you still hold a sale for me?

Often times we find that condo or apartment homes simply do not have enough volume of items to support an estate sale, however, there are always exceptions to this rule. Provided there is enough space in the home to allow free movement for 20+ people, there is ample parking available and the homeowner has received permission from their landlord or condo association, we will be happy to consider holding an estate sale for you.

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What should I look for in an estate sale company?

Before contracting with any estate sale company, we always recommend that homeowners go to one of their sales to get a feel for how they are run. Each company is different and has its own style. Above all, you should trust your instincts and go with a company you can trust and and feel comfortable communicating with. Remember, the employees of this company will be in your (or your loved one's) home, handling items with personal meaning and/or monetary value.

You should also check to see that the company is properly insured and, if desired, ask them to provide references.

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Are you insured?

Yes, Exceptional Estate Sales is fully insured.

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How do your fees work?

Our fee is based on a percentage of the gross receipts from your sale after a minimum fee is met. Our minimum commission is necessary to cover costs associated with advertising, supplies and all EES staff labor. We do not ask for a deposit.

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Do you have a store front or take items on consignment?

No. We feel that it is a conflict of interest to purchase items from our clients and re-sell them for our own profit. We also feel that taking items on consignment could make it easier for us not to sell items during an estate sale. Because this is our only opportunity to sell your items, our only goal is to sell as many of your items on the day of the sale as possible while maximizing your profit. In other words, we work for you.

If a client is interested in consigning unsold items after the sale, we have a network of vendors we will be happy to recommend.

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What should I do to prepare for my estate sale?

One of the most important things you can do before your estate sale is to sort through your items and determine what you are going to keep. If there are multiple parties involved, we ask that they remove anything they wish to keep BEFORE we do a walk-through in order to allow us to accurately gauge the value of the sale and amount of work to be done. Items that are not being removed from the premisies and are not for sale should be clearly marked and ideally moved to an off-limits "safe" room before staging.

We also recommend that homeowners unpack any boxes of items to be sold before we arrive to stage the house. This gives us more time to organize, display and research your items.

Do NOT throw anything away. Remember "One man's trash is another man's treasure." People frequently come to sales looking for things homeowners consider to have little value, like household cleaners, VHS tapes, food, paper napkins and used clothing.

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What items CAN'T you sell?

We cannot sell alcohol, tobacco, or firearms.

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How do you price items?

We work hard to determine fair market value for your items based on experience from past sales as well as research of recent sold prices at auctions and through online databases. When an item is unfamiliar to us or requires specialized knowledge, we seek out advice from our network of local experts.

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What is my role during the estate sale?

During the estate sale, you can sit back and relax. All we ask is that you be available by phone, so that the sales manager can contact you with offers. We strongly recommend homeowners not attend the sale. Seeing people discuss the value of and negotiate for items that have meaning to you can be stressful and it is often difficult to sell items to which you have an emotional attachment. In addition, it can make some buyers uncomfortable to see the homeowner there. If it makes them more comfortable, some homeowners choose to have a representative who is not emotionally involved attend the sale.

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What should I do with items left after the sale is over?

While we will tidy up areas as much as possible, we do not dispose of unsold items. However, unsold items may be suitable for consignment or donation. We will be happy to discuss your options and make suggestions to you. The house will be left in "broom clean" condition.

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Attending an Estate Sale
How do I find out about future estate sales?

Pictures and descriptions are posted on our website on the Upcoming Sales page. You can also sign up for our email list and recieve weekly emails with details for that Saturday's sale. Click the link to sign up for our email sale bulletins.

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What are the numbers for? How do I get one?

Numbers are given out to customers, beginning at 7:30 AM on the day of the sale. (Some people arrive earlier and wait for us to arrive in order to ensure they receive an early number.) The numbers determine order of entry at the beginning of the sale, in order to keep things organized and prevent people from rushing the door.

If you are coming to the sale to purchase a specific item, you will probably want to get a number and enter the house early. High-demand items often sell right at the beginning of the day. If you are just coming to browse or shop around or if you are coming later in the day you may not need a number.

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I can't come to the sale, but I saw something in a picture that I want to buy. Is it possible to purchase items ahead of time?

We NEVER sell items ahead of the sale date. While we understand that it is sometimes difficult for people to attend sales because of distance, work commitments or other reasons, we feel that it would be unfair to those who do come to the sale to sell advertised items ahead of time. If you cannot make it to the sale, consider asking a friend or family member to go on your behalf.

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Is an estate sale like an auction? How does it work?

An estate sale is not an auction. Items are thoroughly researched and priced ahead of time. If you wish to purchase something, a sales associate will write a description and price for you, which you then take to the cashier to pay. You are welcome and encouraged to bring bags, boxes and packing materials to carry your purchases.

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Do you accept credit cards? What about checks?

We accept cash and all major credit cards. Sorry, but we do not accept checks.

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Can I bring children to an estate sale?

Parents or guardians are expected to supervise their children at all times. Please keep in mind that there may be fragile, high-value items at an estate sale and that you will be held financially responsible for any damage caused by a child in your care when deciding if they will attend. Each child is different and it is up to you to decide if this is an event they will enjoy or not. Also, please note that there are no public restrooms available at the sales.

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Are items discounted at any point? Is it okay to make offers or bargain on prices?

Prices are generally firm at the beginning of the day and become more flexible in the afternoon. Bargaining is part of the fun of estate sales and is absolutely expected.

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I want to buy a large piece of furniture. Will you move it for me?

If you are buying a large item, on the day of the sale we will be happy to help you get it loaded into your vehicle. From there, you are on your own!

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What happened to the homeowner? If you're holding an estate sale, does that mean someone died?

It is very important to us to respect the confidentiality of our clients and we will never reveal the details of a specific sale. However, we find that 80% or more of the sales we organize are the result of a move, retirement or downsizing.

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What happens to items that are left unsold at the end of the day?

Unsold items remain in the custody of their original owner. Many homeowners choose to donate unsold items or sell them through a consignment shop or auction, while others will keep them, give them to family and friends or throw them away. In order to respect the confidentiality of our clients, we will not comment on specific cases.

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Exceptional Estate Sales
365 Boston Post Rd. #271, Sudbury, MA 01776
978.451.0500 / Email:

© Exceptional Estate Sales 2018