1. Start talking with and interview Estate Sale Professionals now, you need to know your options, call references, and make decisions. You really need to talk to at least 2, if possible three that have been in the business for at least two years.
2. Do NOT Throw ANYTHING away, I have had clients throw thousands of dollars of merchandise away unknowingly. You would not believe what people will buy, so don't discard anything until after we meet and discuss it. There are some exceptions: Common household trash, perishable items that will mold or mildew, and of course personal documents with information that could be used for fraud; this all need to be removed and or thrown away.
3. Don't turn off the electricity, gas or Internet if currently available. Furthermore, these utilities will be needed to properly do your sale. If you have a timer, put a lamp, TV in a couple rooms and have them go on and off, the appearance of someone living there will detour criminals.
4. The family needs to pick a "spokesperson" to make the decisions, and be "in charge" of the negotiations, handling, etc. of the sale and process, if there is a executor, that would legally be the person we would need to deal with. To many "Chiefs" will make it a living nightmare for everyone involved, trust me on this one! We are respectful of all involved but will not get in the middle of family squabbles or greed that sprouts up way too often.
5. Change the locks or re-key the house, only the person "in charge" and your Estate Sale Service will need to have access. This is to ensure it remains secure for you, your Estate Sale Service and the others that may have a vested interest in the Estate. Again, trust me, you will be glad you did.
5. Keep up the appearance of the home, both in and out, to a the normal standard it was, this will help the sale, as well as keep people from knowing it's not occupied.
6. Make sure all involved remove what they are taking from the estate, and all "issues" have been resolved prior to hiring a Estate Sale Service. Don't sell items to anyone outside of Family prior to contacting a estate sale service, this can hurt the sale in more ways that you can imagine, and will likely result in a reputable company not taking the sale. We can help you with this process of valuing what other family members are taking if needed to settle the estate between heirs for a nominal fee.
There are many Estate Liquidators that will NOT, under any circumstance work directly with the family, or people wanting to do the Estate Sale. Eagerly Sought will work with, or without our clients present or involved. We will, together, set ground rules from the beginning so everyone is always on the same page and rarely ever any problems with assumptions, expectations, theft, or lack of respect for all involved.