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Selling the Estate

Due to her health, my mother had to leave her home and move in with my family and I. That left her with a three bedroom home empty, yet full of furniture and the evidence of her life. My brothers and I decided we would have an estate sale company come in and give us a "one price takes it all" offer on it.

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In preparation for this, I took my mother to her home and we went through every single closet, drawer, cupboard, and looked in every nook and cranny. My mother was not a pack rat, and after having to empty her mother-in-law's house a few years ago, she had worked hard to reduce her possessions. Still, there were an amazing number of things we had to look at and make a decision on. We were lucky to have two family friends help, ones who loved my mom and I, but didn't have sentimental attachment to any of the household contents.

My mother decided to take only as much as could be carried back to my house in a small SUV. She chose the most important and sentimental, as she looked through things.

A week after we left, the estate sale company came in. We were mostly prepared for what he offered, but it was still a shock. For everything in my mother's neat, middle-class house, he offered $1,000. That included hauling it out, and leaving the house "broom clean".

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We agonized, and then accepted the offer. The house was in another state, and no one lived within 700 miles of it, we (my brothers and I) simply didn't have the time off work to organize an estate sale ourselves. We could have had the company sell things in a sale, and the profit probably would have been higher. The trade-off would have been waiting 6-8 weeks for the sale, and delaying the rental of the house as an income-producer for my mom.

In the end, it was a relief to have the emptying of my mother's house over and done with. We console ourselves knowing someone else will be able to buy my mother's nice things at a good price, and she doesn't ever have to worry about the things in her house again.

By Katie from Arizona

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August 30, 20110 found this helpful

Thank you for the caveat. I'm sure you've helped a lot of people today. Estate-sale companies make huge profits from others' hardships. However, I'm sure it was worth it for your family. Best to you and your dear mother... and God will bless you for honoring her - not only in your heart, but in a very practical way.

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May 3, 20140 found this helpful

A friend of mine had a similar experience. After her mother's deather, her father had a estate auction sale. All the household contents went for $2,000. It's so sad...

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May 4, 20141 found this helpful

If anyone reads this, keep this in mind. That was one end of the estate sellers spectrum. The other is having someone come in, appraise and price, then actually have the sale. They keep about 40-50% but you would have received a lot more than 1,000.00 and not had to do any work.

Please look into this, and consult others who have used them. Most reputable ones are on lists like Angies list, or have references on their websites. This seems to make a good deal of sense for when "that time comes" than saving the work and losing the money.

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I am happy your mom got to keep what was important and has kids who will take good care of her. She is a truly blessed lady. Good job.

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