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.
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.
Downsizing and Moving? An Estate to Liquidate? The first rule of thumb we give our clients is to take what they want out of the house, and leave the rest.
Seriously, EstateMAX will handle the rest! Stop fussing and worrying. Set a time line with a deadline and work backwards. Call us, we can help with our downsizing consultation and get you started on track.
We have worked with clients, both boomers and senior citizens, who are “the worse” packrats and get stymied, frozen in place, when it comes to deciding what to move with them. Victims of their stuff. I say, take what you need, and leave the rest. Simple for me to say, but for this person it can take months to get it done, going it alone. The ability to prioritize isn’t there for some of them. (It’s all important-Stuff.) People with OCD have a very hard time letting go in a timely manner. I can help with our downsizing services. We take it room by room.
I say, move what you are keeping into one room of your home and leave the rest. If your realtor wants you to clean the place up in order to show it, call me, I can help with our downsizing services. www.Missiontransition.net. One room at a time, we will go through, as you deem necessary, and pack up as we go for your move. One closet and cabinet at a time.
EstateMAX also does staging, using the best pieces in the home, removing the clutter and the distractions and supplementing with new or appropriate used accessories.
EstateMAX chops up your project into achievable blocks of time and action, to make your move-out a success, with much less stress. Let us handle the details of transitions and sales for you.
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.
EstateMAX is Selling Successfully On-Site and On-Line During Covid 19-
We are up and running and have been since April, albeit not as busy as we would have been otherwise, but none the less, have been conducting estate and downsizing sales following Maryland Real Estate Covid 19 Guidelines.
What does this mean to our clients?
It means we can conduct your sale NOW, with no risk to you – or our sale shoppers because we enforce the rules.
We allow 10 persons in the home at one time, more in larger homes. Masks and Social Distancing regulations are followed and enforced. An estate sale is a business enterprise, in a residential environment and our customers respect our standards, or else they are asked to leave.
Give us a call today to schedule your no cost consultation to sell your unwanted personal property, on site, or on line!
This page is edited frequently. Please call Laurie Zook if you are a real estate or moving pro who would like to partner with us.
Over the past 20 years EstateMAX has worked with many professionals in the areas of Real Estate, Moving, Finance, and others specialties that make our client’s transitions a richer, easier experience. With each of our client contracts, we make many resources available upon request.
Please ask us for our qualified referrals when listing your property, planning your move and expediting an estate settlement.
Listed here are only a few of the professionals we have and continue to work with. If you are a professional, please call me today to talk about how we can collaborate!
If you find this list and call from it, please tell the referred pro that you got their name from the EstateMAX website! Thank you!
Darren Ahearn, REALTOR, Remax Results, Frederick MD, Licensed in Maryland and Pennsylvania 240-344-1713
Dawn Matzen, REALTOR, Bob Lucito/Keller Williams, Howard and Montgomery Counties, MD. 301-442-3236
Diane Derr and Nancy Bowlus- Associate Brokers, Remax Results, 301-624-5454 ( direct) 301-471-5550 (bus. Cell). Montgomery, Carroll, Howard, Washington, and Frederick Counties. Nancy is an State wide sales of Equestrian Properties in RE as well as residential.
W.A. Read Knox, REALTOR,The One Group of Keller Williams Legacy Central, Baltimore County MD, 443-847-9534
After you hire us-we have a very straight forward contract for on-site and online auctions, that offers additional services, too, like transitions services, packing, property clean out, updating and staging. We get to work.
We are a personalized company. You communicate what you need and we design your project to accommodate your needs.
For On-Site EstateMAX tag Sales, we organize, merchandise, price and set up our props, tables, the cashier station to conduct the sale on-site. (For on-site sales, typically our clients have already moved out with the things they are keeping. If not, we purge and organize before our set up.)
For Online OPS auctions we set up from your pre selected inventory, tag with a bar code and photograph in your home. These items stay in place until after the auction, when we come in to meet the buyers for pickup at a predetermined time, done in typically one day. (The Client is not part of the photography or delivery process.)
On-line auctions are appropriate for liquidating personal property in a situation where there is difficulty accessing the property, for a smaller property, where the owner is not selling and leaving the home and, where it’s OK for the auction house can “cherry pick” the inventory to sell only the best of the goods.
Typically, after the sale is over, we clean out the property, leave it empty and swept and ready for the next step-
What’s the difference in the results between onsite and online? All jobs are unique and they all have their similarities.
It’s all about the audience. An estate sale, regardless of the sales strategy- is NOT a retail setting. A fictitious example: Your Aunt Edna’s Grandmother’s vase, supposedly found buried in Latvia in the 17th century, (your prized possession)… It needs to be authenticated and appraised and if an antiquity, sold online, where it will be exposed to the largest audience. If we can’t do that, we shop for the best auction venue for you.
On the contrary, your Ethan Allen sofa purchased in the 90’s, and still barely touched, as lovely as new, is worth what we can get for it, regardless of the price paid. Why? Because of capricious tastes in furniture.
An onsite sale attracts hundreds of buyers in person who are responding to our professional marketing and advertising, who might have shopped with EstateMAX before, and also those who are “driving by” and reacting to street-side advertising. They want to come into the home and “experience the goods in the setting”.
Price points for on-site sales start, as it makes sense,-considering all circumstances: item’s condition, rarity, demand, setting. We set the price on a price tag and discount over the course of the sale, remaining open to negotiation based on the buyer’s volume purchases.
In contrast but not to the detriment, online auctions are 1-dimensional. They attract an online viewership comfortable with buying used goods without testing, poking and touching. The items are photographed either on site or on a stark, white background. From a thousand to a hundred thousand viewers and more…that all depends on the auction and the depth of advertising dollars spent.
All items are sold “AS IS”, Electronics and equipment are not tested, but sold “AS IS” with that caveat. All sales are final for both sales strategies. You, the client is paid within 5 days of the end of the sale by secure bank wire transfer.
Antiques and Collectibles of all Types and Descriptions
Precious Metals and Coins
Fine and Costume Jewelry
Fine and Decorative Art
Figurines, Sculpture, etc.
Fine Porcelain, China, Pottery
Electronics, including non working, vintage computers, receivers, stereos, etc
Vinyl LP’s and 45’s
DVD’s, CD’s, XBox, etc.
Cell phones, other phones
Day to Day Kitchen Ware in Good Condition
Linens, Table and Bedding
Quilts and Fabrics, Textiles
Dolls, Doll Accessories
Native American Collections
Military Uniforms and Medals and Flags
Legal Firearms, Armament
Passenger Vehicles: (whether running or not)
Lawn and Garden Equipment
Power and Hand Tools and Hardware
New Building Materials
Ephemera of all types
Designer and Vintage Clothing and High Quality Clothing including
Bags, Scarves, Shoes
Food in Cupboards
And More- Just Ask!
What we do not sell: These Items Can be Considered as Trash or Recycling For all Intents and Purposes of an Estate Sale and Should be Removed From the House Before Estate Sale Setup-either by the Client or EstateMAX Will Handle as Pre-sale Trash Out at Additional Cost, Deducted From the Sale Proceeds-
Mattresses and Box Springs ( we can give away with the Headboard, etc.) Against the law to sell used. Ask Us!
Piles of empty boxes
Particle Board Furniture- Does not usually survive moving and re-installation
Broken Furniture, Unless Antique or Collectible-Ask Us!
Used Building Materials, Unless Pristine!
Personal Trophies, Photos (Antique Scrapbooks are OK!)
Old Software Not Dedicated to Vintage Electronics
Old Clothes, Unless Designer and or Vintage/Antique
Lawn Chemicals that are opened or illegal ( DDT, etc.)
Worn Towels, etc. are donated to Animal Shelters
Expired Personal Care Products
Very Old, Expired Foods
Periodicals-unless Collectible- Ask Us! ( Not Ntl. Geographics.) Are all recycled!
Non working appliances- can be recycled by your electric company if they are operating, or can be recycled as scrap
Old Baby Cribs, Car Seats, etc. that are not up to current safety codes
Soiled Kitchen ware
Plastic storage containers, can be recycled
DO NOT DONATE ANYTHING TO CHARITY BEFORE YOUR SALE INVENTORY IS REVIEWED BY ESTATEMAX.
WE SELL FIRST, THEN DONATE AND TRASH LAST
CALL ESTATEMAX at 301-332-5585 for your No Cost Consultation!
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR ESTATE LIQUIDATOR BEGINS THEIR WORK
15 TIPS FOR A SMOOTHER PROCESS
Your estate liquidator has a multi-faceted, complicated job ahead. Before they can begin their work in your home, your assistance in making sure that the following steps are followed are always appreciated. These steps will help the estate sale professional prepare for the large task at hand and genuinely appreciate the professional courtesies you extend to one another.
Here is a list of important things to remember:
Always make sure family has removed everything they would like to keep from the estate. Please do your due diligence in selecting and removing items from the estate before the contract is signed. This way, nothing can be sold by accident and no errors will take place.
If, after the contract is signed and the estate liquidator has put a tremendous amount of time and work cleaning, advertising, displaying, setting up, etc., and additional items are removed from the sale to keep, you will most likely be subject to additional fees as per their contract. The estate sale professional accepted the sale based on a previous walk-through and mutual understanding. The professional may have already advertised these items, and if the items should disappear, it would tarnish the professional’s reputation.
Discuss any questions or concerns with the estate sale professional before the contract is signed and before the estate sale is conducted.
Make sure the contract is signed, the dates are set, and everyone is on the same page. Keep a copy of the contract.
Remove all personal documents such as tax returns, medical/health records, financial statements, personal bills, etc.
Remove all photos, personal letters, diplomas, journals, and other personal papers you want to keep. If these are left behind, you take on the risk that they could be sold, discarded or donated.
Collect house keys from neighbors, friends, etc. Secure the house. If necessary, change the locks. Give one set of keys to the liquidator. Consider a new alarm code or password just for the liquidator. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for neighbors, friends and family who have keys to remove items in the middle of the night.
Dissolve or properly dispose of prescription medications unless it is agreed upon that the professional will do so. Some cities have a prescription drop-off at pharmacies or the local police station.
If there are any “sensitive” items or collections, discuss openly with the estate liquidator whether these things can be sold or should be discarded.
Remove any stashes you may be aware of. If there are coins, cash, jewelry, guns, etc., hidden in the home, please notify the estate sale professional so they can notify you when/if they find them.
Clean out the refrigerator and freezer unless it is agreed upon that the professional will do so.
As a professional courtesy, give the estate liquidator the time and space they need in order to prepare for the sale. Preparing for an estate sale is very challenging work and there is much to do in a certain order. They genuinely appreciate it.
Keep your expectations in neutral regarding what items will sell for. No one can be an expert at everything, but a professional estate liquidator will know how to price items, how to research and find the answers or contact a colleague who does have the answer. They know what these items are currently selling for, as opposed to “asking prices” anyone finds on the internet. What an item sells for and what the asking price is are two distinctly different figures. Anyone can ask high retail prices, but that is nowhere near accurate in today’s softer economy. Offering old appraisals are good for identification purposes, but not valid for today’s values.
As with everything else in life, there are no guaranteed outcomes with an estate sale, however, the estate liquidator will do their best with all aspects of the sale as they want you to do well, and want themselves to do well. The outcome is dependent on many things, including but not limited to; who comes to the sale, how much money they are willing to spend, the weather, location of the sale, fair pricing, etc.
Working together amicably with the estate sale professional will ensure a mutual beneficial relationship based on trust. When it starts off well, it will end well too.