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-
The Reality of Stuff
All estate sale companies do the same thing. We all sell as much as we can over the period of the estate sale for the highest possible return. The key word here is “possible”. The more we sell, the more income we have. EstateMAX’s goal is to clear the house, but that rarely happens. Realistically we sell between 70% to 85% of contents. The balance goes to charity or auction, IF the auctioneer wants it.
EstateMAX uses progressive social media cross marketing techniques, bringing in hundreds of potential buyers over a 3 day sale. We produce You Tube videos and ongoing live videos on Facebook during the sale. We use every ticket in the book to market your sale.
On any weekend you can count on 30 to 60 estate sales in the DC Metro area. We set realistic starting prices and discount over the course of the sale, and negotiate ongoing on larger purchases. We take bids on the big stuff and the highest prices offered at the end of the day Sunday. We run 24 hour sales, typically over 3 days.
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. If you are the lucky owner of rare, hard to find, specialty collectibles, coins, precious metals, certain antiques, antiquities, certain vehicles, machinery it can be a seller’s market on those items. ( 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 25 to 50 cents on the dollar. Used stuff is cheap to replace, 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. Be realistic in the beginning, when “letting go” of your stuff.
- 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, and a few thousand dollars to dole out the weekend of the sale.
- The world is inundated with used brand name and older furniture.
- Baby Boomers are retiring 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 70% to 85%, or higher if your style is “in-style” or vintage, collectible, and the quality is great, and your house is full of small, useful objects and affordable pieces. Highly stylized furniture takes a specific buyer.
- 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.