Downsizing & Selling Your Stuff? Minimize Your Expectations & Maximize Your Planning!



To Boomers and Seniors or Estates considering downsizing and why and how to sell their stuff by any method- Auction, Online Auction or Onsite Estate Sale, consider these points when forming your expectations for sale results: 

  • You have lived with the items for a while. How long-doesn’t really matter when selling your “stuff”. It is all “used merchandise” to the buying public. These Items have served their purpose for you and made your life better somehow, over the days past. Now the time has come when you don’t need them, for whatever reason- they don’t serve your purpose, they are worn out, the style is no longer what you like, etc. You are moving on…
  • What your think about your stuff doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is what the potential buyer thinks.
  • We are talking here about used furniture and personal property of all types. It’s intrinsic market value is from 10 cents to 25 cents of the original dollar you spent for it. Yes, there are exceptions but only with rare, hard to find, specialty collectibles, coins, precious metals, certain antiques, antiquities, certain vehicles, machinery etc. In 21 years of conducting estate sales I have only run into such rarities a few times. Most people’s homes are duplicates of one another, with differences in color, pattern, furniture style, perhaps, but still- what people have been living with for 30 to 40 years has been dictated by furniture manufacturers and designers of the era. Cookie cutter environments, for the most part.
  • Stuff is expensive to move. From Maryland to Florida, for instance- figure a 26 foot truck load is from $5600- up. It’s based on weight and distance and that does not include packing fees, boxes, paper and saran wrap used to cover furniture. It’s a small fortune.
  • Maybe better to disburse of the stuff locally, and buy good, used or new in Florida. You can buy it there for 35 to 50 cents on the dollar. Used stuff is cheap, even the good stuff! Hire a reputable estate sales company, make a small investment in service and reap the financial benefits of the stuff you no longer want or need. But be REAL about it.
  • What you think is pretty, useful, cool, valuable, special or handy, is subjective. Estate sale shoppers  might not be as awestruck by it. (Your custom, large floral print valances and Ethan Allen brass and glass coffee table with the Ionic column pilaster legs and the French Provincial armoire were your taste, in the 90’s. Sure they look like new and have barely been used, but it takes a special someone to walk in the door of your estate sale who will have that similar sense of style and a place to use them.
  • The world is inundated with used brand name and older furniture. Yours isn’t so special. That says it all.
  • Baby Boomers are multiplying by the thousands daily and moving out of their homes, leaving the stuff behind they don’t want. The smart ones “get it” that it’s all used, out of style, worn out or somewhat worn out, stuff.
  • Expect a sell through of 60% to 75%, higher if your style is impeccable and the quality is great, and your house is full of small, useful objects and affordable pieces.
  • Be prepared. Get packed up with the stuff you are keeping (30% of a household is typical when downsizing ) and allow your seller enough time to advertise effectively, saturate the market with information, and set up and conduct the sale.
  • A month minimum before your move is when you should contract with an estate sale company. We need two weeks prior to your sale for initial pictures and ten days for proper setup, sale and clean up,- that’s a smaller home. Larger homes should have 5 to 7 sale days to maximize results and minimize unsold merchandise. Be realistic in the beginning, when “letting go” of your stuff. 

Expect the best of your estate sale professional. EstateMAX team are problem-solvers, not miracle workers! Ready to step in and handle personal property disbursements resulting from divorce, old age, suicide, death of elderly, and downsizing transitions.

If you hire only the experienced, vetted, insured and licensed companies, using a signed agreement, they should have a positive reputation by a vetted organization like Angie’s List. 

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations” 

― Jodi Picoult

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