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Estate Sales Policy Changes as Covid-19 Response

 Posted by Krista Hughes on April 30, 2020 at 2:45 PM

Thanks to our shoppers who completed a recent online survey about estate sales and what, if any, changes would be needed as we resume business.  143 people completed the survey – this is an awesome participation level.  The feedback will be used in our decision process for policy and protocols.

While we are all eager to “resume” business, we are not naïve enough to think we can “resume business as usual” in any stretch of the imagination.  As a business owner, decisions have to be made to protect the health and welfare of our team members and shopping public as restrictions start lifting in various phases.  Not all decisions will be embraced, but my hope is that a reasonable balance will be reached and that everyone will at least appreciate our challenges and work together with us as we resume live estate sales.  Below are results of the survey.  


While 78.3% of responders are very, or somewhat, concerned about personal safety, only 33% think that estate sales should make changes to how sales are conducted. 


Note:  Responses were scored as 1 = not important at all up to 5 = as very important


The graph below shows that 77% of responders would agree to “schedule” an appointment to attend a live sale, if necessary. 


Other Findings were:

  • ·       84.6 % people feel Estate Sale Companies should supply hand sanitizing stations at the sale
  • ·       76.9 % people feel Companies should require attendees to wear face masks when inside the home

One of my questions focused on if, as a result of all things Covid-19, people were shifting over to online auctions, and if so, would this be a growing trend in the industry?

  • ·       14.7 % responded that they have signed up as new user for online auctions
  • ·       37.1 % responded they have purchased items through online auction in the last 3 months
  • ·       78.3 % responders prefer Live Estate Sales over online auctions
  • ·       Almost 40% (39.2%) would prefer to shop a live estate sale via electronic technology (such as Face Book Live).  

We provided three (3) estate sale features and asked which were the most important to possibly tweak.  We heard comments that we should have offered a “None of the Above” as response – which we didn’t… So, while these questions (and responses) might be questionable, it clearly shows that discounts taken over the course of the sale days is more important than trying to compress days or having a remote shopping option (such as “buy now”).   In other words:  Discounts are King!

We received so many comments.  When asked to list ONE thing that should NOT be changed, responses varied but the following were the most frequently cited (random order):

  • ü  Seeing and touching the items in person
  • ü  The “hunt”
  • ü  Better able to inspect the merchandise
  • ü  Digging through the junk trays in garage
  • ü  Checking out the house
  • ü  Engaging with the people and staff

When asked what is the ONE thing that should be changed, the following were the most frequently cited (random order):

  • ü  Limiting the number of people inside (#1 answer hands down)
  • ü  Face masks (#2 answer)
  • ü  Sanitizer/disinfectant
  • ü  Nothing
  • ü  Condense sale
  • ü  Crowd control
  • ü  Add evening sale option
  • ü  Move tables outside to a more open area


In response to CDC guidelines and consumer feedback, Caring Transitions will be making the following changes.  These will be posted at our sale locations, and will be modified over time in reflection to the CDC and State governing guidance.  We appreciate your cooperation. 

v  Admittance into the home will be limited, either through advance schedules, or physical restrictions at the door, and will be based on square footage and density of merchandise. 

v  Estate Sale Shoppers will be required to wear a mask while inside the home.  Gloves, while discretionary, are highly encouraged.  Everyone will be expected to provide their own Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).  CT will have masks for purchase for those who forget to bring their own. 

v  Social distancing will be reinforced while in the home.  Signage and coaching by CT Staff will address this as needed.

v  Check-out process will likely be moved to an outside station, to avoid clustering of people.

v  Just as each shopper has the right to not shop our sales, we reserve the right to ask people to leave our sales who choose to not accept these changes. 

Everyone has a choice of where to shop.  That said, we take our community health, and commercial/business responsibilities very seriously and will implement reasonable social health practices until no longer necessary.

We received some great comments that addressed other possible considerations that were non-Covid-19 related.  We are all about finding ways to make shopping more accessible, and some comments referenced making things more accessible for persons with disabilities, persons with transportation difficulties, and for those who consistently are unavailable (working) during the typical ES days/times.  So, we’ll be addressing these and other great suggestions in the future.

“If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”, is a mindset best replaced by “Things Work Great Now, but Can We DO Better?”  We are thrilled to hear how much everyone LOVES the ES experience, but can we make it even better?  If the answer is yes, then let’s get crackin’! 

Thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you all again very soon!