Q:  What exactly is an estate sale?

An estate sale is an in house, on-site sale of personal property. Estate Sale Professionals define the term "estate sale," broadly to mean:
   ~ The sale of the personal property of someone who has passed away
   ~ An on-site sale of the personal property of someone who, for whatever reason, is downsizing or liquidating

Q:  Who attends estate sales?

Buyers at estate sales include local collectors, antique dealers, interior designers, residents of the area and people who enjoy hunting for treasures and unique items.

Q:  Who needs estate sale and estate liquidation information?

Heirs, executors, realtors, attorneys and families. Any person or family member who finds themselves needing to sell or liquidate inherited personal property, as well as those who are in the position of having to liquidate their own personal property to downsize or move, can benefit from the services of a Professional Estate Liquidator. Estate sales are no longer only thought of as the sale of the personal property of someone who has passed away.

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Q:  Why have an estate sale?

   ~To clear the home of its contents in order to make it ready
    for sale or rent
   ~To raise income to benefit the estate
   ~To reduce the amount of personal property in the process of
    downsizing or simplifying.

After your family has identified and removed belongings from the house and all the things you wish to keep, THE CLEARING HOUSE will begin to evaluate the remaining items. The items to be sold are then organized, cleaned, appraised, priced and attractively displayed.


We are a local small business based in Santa Barbara. We understand the local market and have established strong ties throughout the community to insure that we are able to provide knowledgeable, competitive, timely and cost effective solutions for all your estate liquidation needs. 

Q:  What items sell at estate sales?  Must I have antiques?

In general, all household items will sell well at an estate sale, including antiques and collectibles. Collectors, interior designers and buyers are looking for almost everything that is in good condition. Some of the popular purchases are:
    ~sterling silver
   ~framed art
   ~fine and costume jewelry
   ~kitchen items
   ~books, albums, CD's and DVD's
   ~military and scouting items
   ~sporting equipment
   ~clothing, handbags, belts, scarves, shoes
   ~garden statuary / outdoor decor
   ~potted plants

There are many other desireable items which may not seem so obvious, such as postcards and other paper items, mid-century decor from the 1930's to 1970's, dolls and old toys.

Q:  Once I've decided to have a sale, what do I do to prepare for it?

To prepare for your sale, identify the items you want to keep and remove them from the house or into a designated area, apart from the sale site. Leave everything else behind. We will handle it all for you, including the trash. It is very important that you do not begin the donation process before the sale. Please leave these decisions to our professional judgement. We've often had people mistakenly donate items that have value and are saleable.  

Q:  How long will it take to give an estate sale?

It usually takes two weeks from start to finish to sort, clean, tag, merchandise, stage, price, market and sell all items. The property is cleared of it's contents and left empty - ready to sell or rent.

Q:  How will I know what sold and for how much?

We provide you with a spreadsheet inventory of the asking and selling prices of major items.

Q:  How and where do you advertise the estate sales?

We advertise online, in local newspapers and with directional street signs in the neighborhood. We also send e-mail notices, complete with descriptions and photos, to our extensive private database of potential buyers who regularly attend our sales.

Q:  Who decides how much to sell my items for?

We determine the asking price by researching current fair market values and draw on our years of retail experience and familiarity with the local Santa Barbara market. We love to have input from our clients about an item's history or special significance. The provenance of an item can add real or perceived value. Often our buyers are simply curious about the background of an item and appreciate when we have information to share.

On sale days, our policy is to price everything and to hold firm to those prices on the first day of the sale. On the second day, we assess the situation to determine whether, and by what amount, we should reduce or negotiate the prices. 

Q:  What happens to the items that remain after the sale?

We have an established donation process in place and provide you with a donation receipt for tax purposes. However, we will accommodate a client's individual circumstances and personal preferences.

Q:  I didn't know that was in here!

Occasionally, we uncover or clean something you later decide you want to keep. We prefer you remove any items you wish to keep BEFORE we do the work to clear or repair them. Should you decide, after the fact, that you want something from the sale, we will deduct the commissions on that item from the end total.

Q:  I've changed my mind ...

If you decide to cancel your sale, we will charge an hourly rate for the time spent preparing for your sale, as well as any fees or advertising costs incurred in the cancelling of the sale.