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  • Writer's pictureNunneley Estates and Appraisals

What Does it Cost to Hire an Estate Sale Company?

What should you expect when it comes to hiring a professional to run an estate sale for you or a loved one? This article explains the services that companies may offer, and the commission structures you may find. Becoming familiar with these details before you sign a contract will help you choose an estate liquidator you can feel good about.

How estate sale companies get paid

There are typically zero upfront costs to you. Most estate liquidators earn a percentage (commission) of the total sales made during your estate sale. The commission can be a flat percentage (average between 35%-50%) of total sales, a sliding scale commission based on the selling price of each item, or a commission amount that is reduced when gross sales reach a certain threshold.

Example: You hire a company to liquidate your house at a predetermined flat percentage of 45%. After setting up, advertising, and holding a 3-day estate sale, the sales total $12,400. The estate sale company deducts 45% commission ($5,580). You do not require any additional services. You receive a check for your portion of the sale proceeds, $6,820.

Additional Service Fees/Reimbursements You can expect most estate sale companies to charge additional fees or reimbursements for extra services needed to stage or empty the house. These are normally deducted from your portion of the sale proceeds. Expenses may include the cost of:

  • an on-site trash container (for major jobs where there is a lot of sorting/debris)

  • pest control

  • post-sale item removal (completely emptying the home)

  • an hourly rate to professionally package or box items

  • shredding confidential documents

  • hauling items to a trash facility

Our clients usually want the home emptied after the sale and have at least one or two donation or trash loads remaining. We charge a fee per load (depending on the location of the sale).

What our estate sale commission covers:

Our company absorbs the operational costs incurred in staging, advertising and staffing your estate sale. Not all companies operate this way, so be aware of the fees that may charged by the liquidator you interview. For example, Nunneley Estates & Appraisals will never charge you a fee for:

  • merchandise cleaning supplies

  • set-up materials, tables, locking display cases

  • price tags

  • research databases, expert opinions of value

  • advertising, signage

  • estate sale accounting software

  • payment for our staff during the sale, snacks for staff or shoppers

  • packing materials for purchases

  • general liability and theft insurance policies

  • fees for accepting credit cards.

We consider all of the above expenses the cost of running an estate sale company, but some companies may pass these costs on to you. We also benefit from having a co-owner who is an accredited appraiser.

Be aware of extra estate sale fees There are estate liquidators who charge for all sorts of expenses that they get away with because the client is uninformed. This can quickly add up to thousands of dollars subsequently deducted from your portion of the sale after its’ completion. Read over your proposal carefully, and don't hire a liquidator without a signed agreement.

Bottom Line Hiring a pro can help to relieve a lot of stress during a challenging time and increase the sale's overall success. The quantity and quality of your items, the work involved in setting up your sale, and any sale constraints like location or time frame for liquidating will affect the proposals you receive from various companies.

Don’t choose solely based on commission. Find an experienced company who can deliver the services that you need, has knowledge of how to price items, can scout valuable items, and bring in more shoppers. An increase in total sales will often offset a “cheap” proposal offered by a fledgling estate sale company. We wish you success on your estate sale!


Nunneley Estate & Appraisals specializes in onsite estate liquidation and serves:

  • Sacramento & surrounding (Elk grove, Arden-Arcade, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Citrus Heights, Orangevale)

  • Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Del Webb & Sun City Communities

  • Auburn, Folsom, Granite Bay, El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Placerville

  • Rancho Murieta, Meadow Vista, Lake of the Pines

  • Davis, Vacaville, Fairfield, Green Valley

  • Also Monterey, Sonoma, and Napa Counties with appraisal services

We also offer:

Price Tagging Services - so that you can hold an estate sale yourself with peace of mind that items are priced appropriately. Contact me for a copy of my appraisal fee schedule.

Estate Sale Services - Hire a pro so you can relax and pocket the profits while we do all the work!


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