Frequently Asked Questions


This section contains questions we are often asked; we hope we can answer your questions here. You can see a list of the questions immediately below, where you can click on a question and be taken directly to the answer for that question.


If you prefer, you can simply scroll down the page and browse all of our questions and answers. Browsing the questions is an excellent way to learn how we can serve you. You'll probably find the answers to questions you wouldn't have thought to ask, but are very glad to know.


If your question is not answered here, please feel free to ask your question on our CONTACT page.


List of Frequently Asked Questions

(Click on a question to go directly to the answer)


List of Questions With Answers

Why should I have a professionally conducted estate sale rather than a garage sale?

First, it’s an incredibly difficult task for non-professionals to get things together, let alone run a sale as it should be run. Not only is the work itself grueling, but you also have to factor in sentimentality, time, difficult family dynamics etc. Clark Estate Sales’ professional staff, on the other hand, comes into your home or place of business and prices merchandise for sale at a fair market value. We market the the items via our website, email, newspaper ads, word of mouth and online ads, and we display everything in a way to net you the most money possible.

But I don’t live in Mississippi or Louisiana. Can you help me?

Without a doubt! We travel all over the state as needed. To date, we’ve conducted sales in over 100 cities.

How exactly does an estate sale work? How does it differ from an auction?

Estate sales (also known as “tag sales” in some parts of the United States) are orderly liquidations run much as a retail shop would be. That is to say, every item has a price tag. Estate sales are different from auctions in that customers need not wait hours for one item or another to “come up on the block.” Also, with an estate sale, the estate itself is not at the mercy of an often uncom- fortable customer base that dwindles down as the day goes by. Our sales are beautifully staged, professionally organized and well advertised. The public is invited into the home and allowed to shop at leisure. Clerks are available to write customers’ tickets and answer their questions. Cashiers are stationed (usually near the entrance/exit) to “cash out” customers.

Do I even have enough for you to conduct an estate sale? I don’t really have fine art, great antiques or lots of expensive things.

You’d be amazed at just how well even an average estate can and does sell when offered to the public in one of our orderly liquidation sales. We liquidate entire estates of all kinds, not just those that are filled to overflowing with antiques, period silver, vintage clothing, rare automobiles, fine jewelry and the like. (For example, at a recent sale we conducted, we sold over two thousand dollars’ worth of tools in the garage alone!) We sell furniture of all types, clothing, general residential contents, portable buildings, cars, stereo equipment, tools, guns, motorcycles, farm equipment, boats, 4 wheelers, golf carts, musical instruments . . . well, actually, a little bit of everything! Call or e-mail us to schedule a complimentary consultation in which we can advise you how to best liquidate your estate.

What should I do to get ready for a sale?

First, get all your legal “ducks in a row.” If there has been a death in the family, make sure that you have legal title and full authority to sell. Make certain, too, that all disbursements have been made to any and all heirs before you call us for a consultation. If there’s a divorce or bankruptcy liquidation afoot, make sure that you talk to legal counsel before calling us. Remember, by the way, that any liens or encumbrances are solely your responsibility. Second, please step away from the dumpster and the thrift shop box — PLEASE. (You’d be horrified to learn what some former clients have, in their zeal, thrown or given away before talking to us.) Hundreds, even Thousands of dollars. Third, show us any and all items you do not want us to sell before we sign a contract, as (a) we base our commissions upon what we estimate the gross sales to be and (b) items taken after the signing of the contract are subject to full commission.

How much do you charge to look at an estate?

Our initial consultations are always free of charge. Should we determine that an estate sale is not your best option, we’ll be glad to provide you with a set of alternatives during this complimentary consultation.

How is your company paid for its services?

We operate on a flat, all inclusive commission that’s based upon what we initially estimate the gross sales will be — there are no out-of-pocket expenses to you. Bear in mind that, because we operate on a percentage-based commission, we are doubly motivated to get you the most money possible for your household possessions. We never have “up front” fees, nor do we have any hidden costs.

Do you have any special requirements of the estate itself before taking a sale?

Actually, yes, but only a few. If you are the representative of an estate, we will need to have a photocopy of the necessary legal documents which authorize you to dispose of the contents. We also require that the homeowner’s insurance on the home itself be current and in place throughout the sale process. The estate itself is responsible for disconnecting from gas or water any appliances which are to be sold. The furnace and air conditioner must be in working order before we begin work, and the water, gas and electricity must be turned on and kept on throughout the sale process.

Shouldn’t I wait until my home has sold before I have you conduct my sale?

Some real estate agents will disagree with us on this issue, but we answer this question with a resounding “No!” You see, selling a home and then contracting with an estate liquidator can — and most often does — paint the liquidator into a corner, so to speak. We want to do your sale justice, and we need adequate time in which to do this. Please try to coordinate the sale of your real estate with the sale of your household possessions, as (again) an estate sale can bring hundreds of potential buyers into your home.

The executor/executrix lives out of state. Can we still proceed with a liquidation?

Absolutely. We often work for out of state heirs, executors/executrixes, trustees etc. All necessary arrangements can, if necessary, be handled via telephone calls, faxes and e-mails.

How long will it take you to coordinate my sale?

The average estate requires two to four weeks’ worth of “lead time.” Occasionally we may coordinate a sale in less time.

May we place reserves on items in the sale?

Generally, yes — within reason. In our contract, we allow the client to place reserves on a few items. For example, all of the clocks in a recent south Mississippi sale had reserves on them. Naturally, we don’t like reserves too much (like you, we want items to sell!), but we also understand that, sometimes, the family may not want an item to sell for less than a given price.

How long should I expect my sale to run?

Each sale is unique; however, 90% of our sales are two-day sales. From time to time (perhaps once a year), we may encounter a small sale that only merits one long day, or (even more rarely) an extremely full sale that merits three days. For all intents and purposes, though, you can probably count on a two-day sale.

What do you do with items that don’t sell?

Naturally, we strive to sell the contents of an estate “wall to wall”, but there are always some things left over in each estate. On the off chance that items of appreciable value are left unsold, we can and will gladly broker your items for you. (Sometimes we consign items into future estate sales; sometimes we help you sell them through an auction house. Please note: under no circumstances do we buy “remainders,” nor do we buy full or partial estates. To do so, we believe, constitutes a conflict of interest at best, or even a serious ethical violation at worst.

What do you do to deter theft during the sale?

We limit access to one entrance/exit. If there’s an attached garage or breezeway, it’s kept separate from the main house itself and manned by one or two employees. Furthermore, our staff is well trained in watching for “sticky fingers.” We do not allow drink cups in the house, and we strongly discourage baby strollers in our sales. (These are often used as ploys by professional shoplifters, believe it or not.) Should someone buy handbags or luggage, we’re careful to check each piece before it leaves the door. Gold, some sterling, platinum, palladium, firearms, better ivories, valuable art objects, gemstones etc. are kept in locked, lighted showcases.

Do you sell automobiles and motorcycles?

Absolutely! We find that cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles all draw large numbers of new and different customers. (By the way, as a general rule, we charge a reduced commission on automobiles and motorcycles.)

May I be present for the sale itself?

Sorry, but the answer is an unequivocal “no.” We don’t allow the family on site during public sale hours as it has long been our experience that family members inadvertently get underfoot, or become emotional, or get distracted by the public’s sometimes bad behavior in the family home.

What about sales taxes?

We’re responsible for the collecting and remission of all applicable sales taxes. All sales taxes collected are remitted under our tax number to the Mississippi or Louisiana Tax Commission, as appropriate. All sales tax exemption permits are collected at the cash register, stapled to their respective tickets, and kept in perpetuity.

Do you clean the home after a sale?

We pick up large debris and leave the home “broom clean.” Bear in mind that ours is a professional estate liquidation firm, though, not a housekeeping service. If you’d like the home to be immaculate and ready to put on the market, we’ll be happy to refer you to a professional housekeeper whom we highly recommend.


If your question was not answered above, please use our Contact page to ask your question.



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