If you read my blog, raise your hand and shake something you want to sell.
I’ve been a downsizer and transitions manager, estate and stuff seller for 22 years. I’ve written about it too much. Not much of what I write gets read by my potential clients. I think that’s too bad. Maybe I’m not great at SEO but I am great at estate selling.
We at EstateMAX have been working with real estate and moving pros with our clients through out the “pandemic” to liquidate personal property and clean out properties, and get packed and moved, without fail. No one has gotten sick and we employ required precautions.
There’s no argument to the fact that almost everyone has too much stuff. Unless you are residing in a monastery this applies to you.
Stuff is that word that defines personal property: a quagmire of objects of all qualities, shapes, sizes, textures, colors and ages. Stuff is the smorgasbord of things. No bias works in the stuff business. It all has value. At EstateMAX when conducting an on site estate sale we tag it and attempt to sell it all, other than the trash, that is put in bags and taken out before the sale setup. From the screwdriver in the junk drawer to the John Deere in the garage, or the dining room table.
When it’s time to move, it’s time to move. It’s all stuff, pretty or ugly, fine or rough, Dollar Store or Tiffany.
Let it up to EstateMAX to define the value of your personal property within the context of what it is and it’s sales environment. That includes the neighborhood, the time and date, the home itself in all of it’s peculiarities. We know what we are doing and have seen almost everything. No dead bodies so far. Well there was that canary in the Baggie inside the birdcage in the attic in NW DC that time…
We handle all the details of marketing and advertising, organization and setup, negotiating and payment, deliveries and trash out and final property clean up. EstateMAX helps get you packed and moved, your stuff sold and your home listed and sold.
We met with a woman this week, after a lengthy phone consultation, after I had qualified her and she had qualified Estatemax as the likely company to hire.
Later, upon looking at her address on Google, after agreeing to go to her home to sign an agreement and set a date for a sale, I discovered she lived in a townhome community where NO PARKING was written on every curb, meaning there was no place for estate sale shoppers to park. I called her and her phone was not taking calls so I emailed her canceling the appointment until she could work it out with the HOA to allow parking, or not.
She called me really demanding that we come because she had changed her entire day of plans to meet us. And, of course she is on the board of the HOA and they don’t pay any attention to those NO PARKING signs. Her estate sale would work. There would be ample parking. So we went.
We met her. She showed us around the house, in detail, and with great neurosis. It was normal, clean, brown furniture, nothing “valuable” and not a lot of items. Pretty but dated furniture and no kitchen or significant small items. No basement or garage or shed. It was a small inventory, mostly furniture, Waterford, Lenox. Ad nauseum.
I should have stopped it there, sat down and signed the deal. It would have saved me the next hour of B.S. (It frankly doesn’t matter what she had to sell. We sell it all, whatever is left in the home.) We have a minimum fee to cover that, in case a customer removes more than they said they would at our consultation.
I asked her if she had educated herself, as I had asked her to do by reading my website, She admitted she had not- nor read our reviews. My website is a bible of how to and how not to do a downsizing, an estate sale, etc. It is packed full of information. She could have saved herself and us a lot of grief. And she said my Angie’s List Reviews don’t matter to her. She doesn’t “believe” in Angie’s List. ( Tell Angie Hicks that who has made millions…)
I told her it matters to me and we work very hard for the clients that leave reviews of our services there. She said she “heard she could be sued for leaving a negative review there” and had hired someone off it before and he did a lousy job for her. I told her that was not me and she can’t judge everyone by one jerk. ETC. I told her she had not done her due diligence and asked her what criteria she was using to hire us? She had found me on ASEL. American Society of Estate Liquidators. EstateMAX is an accredited member. That does matter, but not as much as reviews. ASEL is a marketing venue. I am vetted through them, but I am also vetted on A.L, the State of MD, and have advertised on many sites for 10 years.
She said “Well now that you have looked around what do you think you could get for all of this?” I told her I don’t know and I don’t promise a number. We had only done a quick walk thru -but it was definitely a sale and she would make money. She pressed me. I said,” between $6000 and $8000 for a house of this size.” That is what I always say for a house of that size, regardless of contents. And the silver and crystal, etc was hidden. She shrieked ” NO! I would expect between $20,000 and $30,000! I told her there was no way the sales would get anywhere close to those numbers…( where were the 200$1000 resale items in that townhome? Or the 10) $2000 items, or the 40) $500 items. or the 20,000) $1 items? OYVEY!)
She had already talked to an auction company, she had been set straight on what she should expect from them ( $1 to $10 an item) and the cost of removal would be more than my fee. We were her best bet to get the job done.
Anyhow, we read through the contract together, in detail, which most clients don’t bother doing, they just go for it, which upsets me, so I was happy she was doing that. We made some adjustments and got to the money part and she started: Well, I’ll pay you this and not that and this much and that. I will not pay you a fee but will give you a 60/40 split of the sale. I said “No, that won’t happen, I don’t work that way, and it’s not worth my time.” You don’t have enough here to make it worth my committing myself to advertising, setup, pricing for 2 days and conducting a 3 day sale. And a 3 day sale is what you need to get this stuff out of here. I can get the people here but I can’t make them buy if they don’t want what you have”. “I am not taking a risk for you. It’s your stuff, you have used it, lived with it, and it’s your burden, not mine.”
So, we walked without a deal. The first time in my career that happened. But some deals aren’t worth the trouble and she was trouble through and through. Unrealistic, over expecting, demanding and a manipulator. Glad I have the experience to know the difference.
Planning Your Future: One Step at a Time-Do It Before You Hire Anyone!
EstateMAX is a service company specializing in transitions and downsizing, estate and downsizing sales and property clean up on all size properties.
Additionally our professional resource network in the moving, estate/legal, and real estate industries are available for our clients for consultation and hire! Just ask us!
Our aim is to handle all the details of an individual’s or family’s life transition, beginning with comprehensive planning and fulfillment of the physical transition of their personal property to its new home, living-estate and estate sales, real estate sales and property updating, as needed.
Hire us for one service, or the entire package!
Specifically, our professional team includes: transitions/downsizing specialists, moving companies, estate attorneys, real estate pros, estate/downsizing sales, property improvement contractors and last but not least, trash out and basic property improvement. All of our team are known professionals in their trades.
We can leave your property sold, clean and ready for settlement and you moved and set up in your new home!
Call Laurie Zook of EstateMAX now for your no cost phone consultation.
Let’s Plan Your Future Together, One Step at a Time. 301-332-5585
EstateMAX is a 6X Angie’s List Super Service Award Earning Company, as Reviewed by Real Clients! Since 1999-fully vetted and insured.
First of all, I’m going to go with the idea that if you are reading this you are on track to hire a professional to assist you in your downsizing process and personal property sale…So, before you trust in that someone, ask yourself this:
What is your time and energy worth? What are your expectations? What criteria are you using to determine how to make your decisions, and are your capable of doing it alone? What is “Value” to you?
Our valuable project management comes into play for full transitions, move management, downsizing and estate and downsizing sales, with follow up property clean up.
During the estate and downsizing sale, we do everything needed to promote, merchandise and sell used personal property to “minimize the stress and maximize the returns” for our clients. An EstateMAX copyrighted slogan from 2015, often copied by our competition. Before, we help you downsize, pack, move, set up in your new home and can help you sell your property through our professional relationships.
Individual or our full menu of services, can be employed on contract to meet the needs of individual projects.
Those steps include:
For Downsizing & Moving Projects:
Downsizing the Home with the Client, Packing and Organizing for Move Out
Personalized Move Management-Step by Step
Moving Services, Recommendations on Moving Companies
Property Clean Up
Organization and Merchandising the Home
For Staging and/or Sale Event
Photography, Videography for Advertising
Advertising On Line and In Print
Conducting the Estate or Downsizing Sale
Cleaning up Following the Sale
Donating to Charity
Shipping to Family or Friends, if needed
Statement of Sales/Expenses
Additional Professional Services
Full House Cleaning and Specialty Property Services
Real Estate Services
The Value of “Stuff”
I’ve had clients compare what they paid for their furniture, 10 to 40 years ago, to the prices we negotiate for it today.
Presently, we do NOT buy outright, and we do NOT take items out of your house to sell them for you. We are not a method to supplement your income. Anyone who says they can promise you a profit over your original cost on your household goods is not being honest. Turning stuff into cash can be a disappointment. Be realistic.
Estate Sellers not retailers of used goods. We provide “liquidation” services and we do it en masse, in your home, after you have removed what you want to keep, or hired us to help you do so and move into your new home.
What this means is that your $5000 typical dining room set bought 12 years ago will probably be sold for between $1500 and $500, depending on condition, style, market demand, time of year, advertising coverage and buyers inclinations. We sell everything we can possibly sell in your home the same way. It all adds up. Our job is to handle all of that so you can go forward. The overall return on the project is where the difference shows up.
So Why Have an On-site Estate Sale?
Because the buying public likes to shop in person, in the home, regardless of Covid 19. We have hundreds of shoppers at most of our sales. We take all needed precautions. (Our production fell approximately 40% in 2020 but so far in 2021 we have produced 10 sales in 4 month, yielding almost $200,000 of revenue for our clients!) Context is important. How the items look in place, were used, give the buyer an understanding of their vintage and quality and the care the original owners gave to their furnishings and decor. Selling the volume of the little stuff; the nuts and bolts, the linens, the garage and shed items, clothing, pantry items, along with the furniture and decor is possible in the context of the home, not through on line auction.
Bottom line- there is a volume of used personal property on the market because of the aging of Americans.
Estate sellers compete with Goodwill and other charities for the same public dollars. We present the goods in the best possible way, merchandised on our own table tops, taken out of cabinets, pulled out of closets and unpacked out of boxes. What is not sold on site, is then donated to these charities so our pricing has to be sharp to sell it in the home. Online sales venues like Facebook Marketplace and Letgo, etc have sullied the class that “estate sales” used to enjoy.
Furniture and other consumer property is “commodity.”
The loss of retail value on new furniture, just like vehicles, which we also sell, happens relatively quickly. We explain up front where the bottom line is on the return value of used furniture. If it’s collectible, rare, and in style, which makes it of true interest to the buying public, the value is higher. Such defines less than the 30% of goods in a home, typically. The 70% of the return is in the cumulative sale of all things in a household, and the time and labor savings and stress reduction recognized pays for our services.
We ask our clients for a positive review following our work for them. Our results are not only measurable only in dollars and cents, they are in attention to detail, getting the job completed and ready for settlement, on time without hassles. We are not an “auction house” We are a services company. If our clients can’t leave us a positive review, we know that the questions I posed above have not been clarified in advance of our work for them and I take that personally.
EstateMAX handles the details for you, efficiently and honestly. Call Laurie Zook today for a NO-Cost Consultation.