How do you price items for an estate sale?

Are you thinking of holding an estate sale yourself, or curious how experienced professionals like us price items for estate liquidation? Unfortunately, there is no single guide for estate sale pricing, and the way that your items are priced is so important that it can make or break your estate sale.

Estate Sale Price Tags

The first thing to remember when holding a normal estate sale, is you should not price items at the price you may find them for in a retail store, antique shop, or an asking price online. Instead, the prices that should be assigned to items during general estate liquidation, is the Liquidation Value. If an item is scarce, of good quality, highly collectible, or signed by a desirable artist or maker, then you may be able to start the price higher than normal (or be better off selling it elsewhere).

As defined by the ISA Core Course in Appraisal Studies, pp. 2-8,9:

Liquidation Value is a type of market value. In market value, buyer and seller are typically motivated. There are two very different types of liquidation.

Forced Liquidation Value is the most probable price at which property would change hands if sold within a very short period of time without considering the marketplace. A forced liquidation would involve the need for a seller to dispose of property quickly, under a compulsion to exchange the property for cash. An example of this would be a court ordered sale “within ten days.”