Last updated on July 6th, 2023 at 10:05 pm

Like many people, you may be in a position where you need to liquidate a property or sell a lot of your possessions. While you could theoretically try to sell everything yourself on eBay or Facebook, you probably don’t want to spend endless hours figuring out how much your things are worth and shipping them off to buyers. You’ve probably heard of estate sales, also known as “tag sales,” and you may be wondering if it is the right option for your situation.

Here at Fruitcocktail, we have answers to all your estate sale questions.

What Are Estate Sales?

An estate sale is a sale that happens after you or your loved one has moved out of a home, often done in cases of death, divorce, or moving. It allows you to liquidate many things located within a property. The process is designed not only to help you get rid of your belongings quickly, but to also get your money’s worth for them, although there needs to be enough value to warrant an estate sale.

How Do Estate Sales Work?

Once you pick the estate sale company that best fits your needs, an agent will appraise and photograph your goods, tag them, and publicize the sale.

On the first day of the sale, there will likely be a line of people willing to buy your goods. By the end of the sale, the goal is for most of your items to be liquidated, although it depends on what you are selling, if those things are popular, and whether they are priced right. Not everything will be liquidated, although in most cases, a majority of the items (or at least the most popular ones) will be sold.

What’s the Difference Between Estate Sales and Garage Sales?

At a garage sale, the goal is to sell just a few items you no longer want. This usually takes place either outside your house or in your garage. An estate sale, on the other hand, takes place inside the home, and the goal is usually to sell everything that is left behind on a property.

What Items Sell Best At Estate Sales?

There are many items that sell well at estate sales, including jewelry, antiques, art pieces, designer midcentury modern furniture, vintage clothes, collectibles, home decor, and more. Do research or talk to an estate sales specialist to see what sorts of items are selling well in your area.

Can You Have an Estate Sale in an Apartment?

If you live in a large apartment, you may be able to hold an estate sale if your unit is easily accessible, there is sufficient parking nearby for customers, and you have enough things to sell.  You will still need to ask the property manager if you can have the sale within the unit.

If you don’t have enough parking, accessibility, or permission to use your apartment for an estate sale, you will likely be better off getting rid of your things another way. Most apartment dwellers may be better off selling their items through consignment, an online estate sale, or other options.

Are There Any Estate Sale Rules or Etiquette I Should Know?

  • Many estate sales operate on either a number system or a signup sheet to enter. These systems ensure that there aren’t too many people in the home at the same time. At Fruitcocktail, we use a signup sheet so people can arrive early, sign up, leave to get coffee, and come back to shop if they want.
  • You are allowed to carry items to the checkout, but don’t hoard items and then decide not to purchase them. Come prepared to buy.
  • While the pandemic is going on, estate sale shoppers are generally expected to follow basic COVID safety protocols so everyone feels safe. Many estate sale hosts ask shoppers to wear a mask and remain 6 feet apart from each other or at least avoid crowding.
  • Last but not least, be respectful. You are in someone else’s house browsing through their or their loved ones’ belongings, so refrain from making insensitive comments and treading into spaces where you aren’t supposed to be.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire Someone to Do Estate Sales?

The cost to hire an expert to organize an estate sale can vary depending on certain factors, such as the level of setup is involved, quality and value of the items, regional area, size of the estate, and how experienced the estate sale company is. Many estate sale companies will take a percentage of the total sales, but others may expect different compensation depending on the specific circumstances.

At Fruitcocktail, we take a percentage of what is sold at our clients’ estate sales. The percentage depends on the price of the items and may range from 20-50%. We only charge 20% for selling silver, cars, expensive listed art, and unique high-value items.

Is having an Estate Sale Worth It?

In a word, yes. Estate sales are an efficient way to empty a property of belongings in a quick manner and to get a fair price for the items that are sold.

Are Estate Sale Prices Negotiable?

No, estate sale prices are generally firm. Many estate sales have discounts on the final day of the sale, such as ½ off most items, but the most popular goods will generally be gone at this point. Ultimately, it depends on the estate sale and the client’s wishes.

How Do I Find Local Estate Sales?

You can find local estate sales online through local estate sale companies’ websites such as Fruitcocktail or on websites such as,,, and Craig’s List. You can also find out about new sales through social media such as our Facebook page.

Still Unsure If an Estate Sale Is Right for You? Fruitcocktail Can Help. Contact Us For All Your Questions and Seattle-Area Estate Sale Needs.