If you’re holding an estate sale, it’s important to know how to price items fairly and accurately. While this means doing a bit of research, it can pay off in the long run when you know that your Aunt Bertha’s hideous ashtray is actually a valuable collectible and those “rare” comics Uncle Ray collected are actually not worth much after all. If the estate you’re handling has a lot of luxury items, such as jewelry, heavy silver or crystal, obvious antiques, musical instruments or rugs, you might want to hire an estate appraiser, but for most estates, you can do the job yourself.
Catalog the items by type and condition so that looking up current sale values is easier. You can do this using a spreadsheet or even just a set of index cards.
Go to the library and check out books on antiques, furniture, collectibles and other items to use as a guide in pricing. MarkDownMom.com, who runs an online resource for managing estate sales, suggests also discussing prices with family members who may have collections of items similar to those being sold at the estate sale.
Check the going prices on eBay and other auction sites for items similar to those you’re selling. If your grandmother’s Horsehead Fiddle china is going for $50 a piece on eBay and other sites, you know that you can price it in the same range at your estate sale. If porcelain owls are selling for $5 each on auction sites, you can mark yours at $5 to $7, depending on what condition they are in.
Make sure that the price for each item is visible and clear. Decide your haggling strategy before the sale opens—whether you will accept offers or if prices are final. If some items aren’t moving, you may want to revise prices or group items together in a lot with a lower price than the original total for them would have been.