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Determining Fair Market Value

The prices at an estate sale aren't set on a whim. Learn how estate sales professionals determine the value of the goods they sell.

Visited an estate sale lately and wondered how the price on the tag came to be? Some may think the price is subjective but the professionals at Can't Take It With You Estate Sales have a lot of expertise in researching the true value of an item. Here's how we do it....

Condition of the Item

The first thing to consider when selling a used item is, what kind of condition is it in? Obviously, the better the condition, the higher the price tag. But don't think that only excellent condition items have value. The truth is, there's a sliding scale of value in that item. The reason? Many buyers at an estate sale are looking for items they can refurbish or restore. For example, a pocket watch that has missing parts (poor condition) will cost the buyer a great expense to replace the missing parts to get the pocket watch in working condition again. However, a pocket watch that isn't keeping time only needs to be oiled to get it ticking again. An estate sales professional knows the difference and can price the item accordingly.

Comparable Items

Secondly, goods are only as valuable as a buyer is willing to spend. Comparing your items to similar items is always a good idea. Comparisons are twofold: What did it sell for? Where did it sell for that price? Estate sales professionals network and rely on other resources to research how comparable items are selling in the same locale. It is most important that your estate sales professional carefully consider where these comparables are being sold. Just because a comparable item sold for $3,500 in California, doesn't mean it will sell for that price in Texas.


Thirdly, desirability can also effect the price of an estate sale item. There are many things that drive desirability in buyers but the key to knowing the value of something is keeping up with trends. Estate sales professionals always keep a keen eye on the latest fashion and decorating trends to know what buyers are looking for and collecting. The ever increasing collectibility of vintage suitcases is only one example of how desirability can change the price tag. It only takes one social media influencer to spark a trend. Our team at Can't Take It With You is always following these trends to ensure that your items get top dollar.

Room to Negotiate

Finally, buyers want to know they got the best bargain and will often want to negotiate the price at an estate sale. An estate sales professional will know how to how to strike the perfect balance between getting top price for the client but creating enough negotiation space to keep their buyers coming back to every sale. Setting a range for items and knowing the bottom of the range is key to successful negotiations when striking that perfect balance between happy clients and satisfied buyers.

The team at Can't Take It With You Estate Sales takes the guess work out of setting prices. We use every resource available to set the fair market value of every item for both our clients as well as our buyers.

Central Texas

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