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What is an estate sale?

An estate sale is a way of liquidating the belongings of a family or estate. A person may have an estate sale due to a family member passing, but most decide to hold estate sales due to downsizing, moving or other big life events. Items are sold to the public, who tour the home, with a twofold goal of selling household contents in as short a time as possible and emptying the house by the end of the sale. 

There is a lot of "junk" in the home, should I throw it away?

Everything in your home has value. As a general rule, please DO NOT throw anything away. Items you may be tempted to discard will actually sell. Half-used cleaning products, shampoo, toiletries already opened, and partial bags of grass seed are just a few examples customers can save on by not going to buy in a store. We want to save as many items from landfill as possible while also making you as much money as possible and every dollar adds up. However, dispose of items with expiration dates that have passed. Personal papers and documents could be removed from the home or stored in a bathroom or room that will not be available to the public during the sale. Shoppers expect to find a variety of items in the home. The more you have, the better the turn out. 

What's the first step in
having an estate sale?

Contact us via this website or call us and we will schedule an in-home assessment and consultation. The most important thing is documentation that you have the right to act on behalf of the estate. We ask you to focus on removing personal items, financial documents, family photos and things you’d like to keep, and then leave the rest for us to handle. We encourage family members to take those items that have sentimental value prior to having the sale, before we access the home. Once we have a signed agreement with you for the estate sale, we ask that nothing be removed since our contract is based on the contents of the sale when the first assessment is made. If any personal items are left, such as family photos or financial documents, our team will collect these items and box them up for you before the sale. We ask you not to pack or organize items that are to be sold – our staff will stage the sale, and empty cabinets and drawers. It is also best not to donate items before the sale. If needed, we will help with additional donation resources after the conclusion of the sale. If you are struggling with what to keep and what to sell, we ask you to think about the item and if it brings you joy. If it has sentimental value take a photo of it so you’ll always be able to remember it. 

What items can you sell? Then, how do you decide on pricing?

3plus1 can sell anything located in a private residence, inside and outside, as long as it is legal to sell. Please note that we cannot sell alcohol, prescription medication or firearms. We have three equal owners at 3plus1: Michael, Key and Jacqui. We each have our own interests and areas of expertise as well as general knowledge about all sorts of items. It is impossible to know how every item should be priced. Therefore, we will use other resources to price some items. We have exclusive membership to some of the largest data resources for identifying, researching, and valuing antiques, arts, vintage artifacts and collectibles. Items are priced based upon our resell experience and current market value.

Will this cost me anything?

Estate sales are the most direct and profitable way to sell personal property to the general public, and they’re an incredibly efficient way to make a house ready for sale.  

We work on a commission – based system. We charge a percentage of the total sale proceeds. Our fee is very competitive and is stated at the time we visit with you during the consultation. We’ll inspect the home’s content, determine the scope of work, and arrive at a fair rate that includes everything. 

What areas do you cover?

We are based in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Some areas we service include New Lenox, Minooka, Lockport, Lemont, Burr Ridge, Hickory Hills, Palos Hills, Orland Park, Tinley Park, Mokena, Frankfort, Crestwood, Oak Forest, Matteson, Homewood, Flossmoor, Lansing, Munster, Dyer, Hammond, Schererville and Highland. If you live in a town/suburb not mentioned here please contact us and we will gladly try to accommodate you. 

May I attend the sale?

The estate sale process is an emotional one for our clients. Past sales have proven this to be extremely true on sale days. It is generally uncomfortable for patrons to attend estate sales when the homeowner is present. When patrons are uncomfortable they don't stay as long nor do they spend as much. More importantly, you are likely to have an emotional attachment with your belongings that patrons just don't have. For these reasons, you will need to be absent from the house between 8:00am – 4pm on sale days. You are of course welcome to stay in touch with us via email or phone during the sale.

I live out of state; can I still do this?

Yes. You do not need to be here. If you can get us access to the home and ensure the utilities are working (heat, water, electric) then we can take care of everything. Access to the home is usually a lockbox with a key or a garage code.

How soon can you
hold my sale?

This depends on the size of the estate. To ensure a successful sale, its best to allow at least two weeks for pricing, set up, advertising, etc. Larger estates may require more time. Our goal is a quality sale in a timely fashion. If the situation is urgent, there are ways to expedite the time frame. Please keep in mind sales can be booked several months in advance. 

Can I be living in the home during this process?

Ideally, the client has already moved out of the home before preparation begins. This is best for both the client and the staff. We will be moving items around in the home and staging them like a store. This process becomes too invasive if the client is still living there. However, if that is not possible, we will coordinate with you to make the process as easy as possible.


We start by determining if any items are unsellable and removing them. Then we organize everything in the home. We display, clean, research and price everything for the sale, and market the sale through multiple channels. Please have an idea of what items you will keep. A proper assessment of the estate sale can’t be done if we don’t know what is available to sell.

Can I set prices on my own items?

We cannot allow our clients to set pricing on items as this is the company’s area of expertise. If there is an item that has special significance, however we can honor a reserve price, meaning you set a price at which you would rather keep the item than sell any lower.

How will my sale be advertised?

When it comes to advertising your estate sale, we cover all the bases. We begin with our propriety email list of customer contacts. We also contract with professional estate sale marketing companies that do a fantastic job of promoting our sales. We have a very modern approach to social media and we use that avenue extensively in our marketing. Professional signs are strategically posted around your neighborhood during the sale to direct traffic and passersby to your location. We have a very large and loyal following among estate sale shoppers, and your sale will benefit from that history. By the time we are ready for sale days, we have created an ambiance that is worthy of your merchandise, and a comfortable environment for the customer. Each estate sale will have a dedicated email and social media campaign designed by our on-staff marketing professional.  When our customers see the estate displayed online, they can feel confident that your estate sale is worth coming to.

Do you have a contract agreement?

Yes, we have a contract which puts in writing the particulars of the sale. Once on site for a consultation, we can assess and determine the feasibility of a sale. It is during this time that we review the contract with you, discuss availability and answer all questions you may have. Once we have contracted with you for the estate sale, we ask that nothing be removed since our contract is based on the contents of the sale when the first assessment is made

Do I have to have antiques & collectibles
to have an estate sale?

Absolutely not. A variety of items, including household and commercial items help make for a well-rounded sale and are always in demand.

Can I list the home during the estate sale?

Absolutely. We encourage having flyers at the sale, as we get many people who essentially treat this as an open house. We collect all potential buyers’ information and hand it over to the agent at the end of the sale.

Do you provide trash removal services?

If there is an excessive amount of trash, we can order a dumpster to be placed in the driveway for the duration of the set up. This will be at the client’s expense. Dumpster costs are usually $400 for a week and will need to be paid when we order the dumpster. If you don’t quite have enough to warrant a dumpster but you have more than regular garbage pick-up will allow, most towns in our area will allow a special pick up. The town’s garbage company will come and pick up trash from the curb for a smaller fee than a dumpster.

After the sale

While you can expect to have some items left over, we do everything in our power to try to completely empty the home. Depending on how many items you have for sale we sometimes offer a ‘grab a bag’ hour. Customers can fill a bag we give them with small items for a specified price. We have found this to be a very effective way of removing knick knacks and everyday smaller items. Also, at the end of the sale we offer the remainder of the items to anyone who is in the business of buying “the rest” of the estate. If this happens, the purchaser must take everything that is left and cannot leave anything behind. If the remaining items do not sell, we recommend that our clients give them to worthy charitable organizations, which we can help facilitate. This puts your remaining items to good use and can help the owner a little more in the form of a tax write-off. We leave the house broom swept and ready for its next step.

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