Transitions Anxiety: Did I say “LET GO and WALK AWAY?!”

Accredited Estate Liquidator

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…

EstateMAX is an Accredited Member of the American Society of Estate Liquidators. We earned that through 22 years of handling, pricing and selling our client’s stuff.

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.

So, hire experience and knowledge. Call Us Today.

Your move will happen, and your estate will get liquidated. We have the plan, the expertise and strategies to make it happen for you.

 

Planning Your Future, One Step at a Time-All Details Handled!

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.

Take Out What You Love, And Walk Away!

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.
Call 301-332-5585 Laurie

EstateMAX Covid 19 Selling Standards

Featured

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!

 

 

NYTimes -How to Avoid Stress When You’re Moving… (EstateMAX Knows How- It’s Our Thing!)

buttonmtlogo

At EstateMAX and MissionTransition we know how to move you and your loved ones, forward with lower stress and make you money as a result of our work! Since 1999 providing transitions management and personal property liquidations!

I have a 90% recovery rate from past projects- uncovering lost items, find missing documents, important sentimental items  from property organization and downsizing, readying my clients for their big move! I take chaos and turn it into a workable environment, ready for the next step!

We get you organized, find the right moving company, set up and conduct your downsizing or living estate sale, make you money through your unwanted items and clean up your home afterward, prepping it for settlement.

Staging the home for sale is a specialty for us. Following the downsizing we set your home up (with the realtor’s input) using your furniture, as possible , and borrowing from our Other People’s Stuff Showroom, adding smalls and decorative accessories as needed to make your home interior POP with design impact! I have a 20 year pro background in design and furnishing-it all comes into play in a staging project.

Get in touch with Laurie Zook or Steve Berryman at EstateMAX to discuss your project. 1-844-378-MAX1

Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parent’s Stuff

Hey Richard,  It’s me, Laurie.  I wrote a very similar piece in my blog 6 years ago- The MissionTransition Trans-Act-On Plan. I’ll repost.

Most clients are reasonable in their expectations but there are those who expect the moon from results. The truth is: it matters little what you paid for something. What matters i what it’s worth now. And what it’s worth is what I can get for it! With exceptions of truly rare and collectible items, or valuables.

The world is full of furniture. Personally and professionally, I think it’s a tragedy that the milennials spend their money buying crap press board and vinyl furniture at box stores, ( yea we all love IKEA’s great design but the quality is what it is and not designed to last and in the short term will end up in a landfill in a few years.

These are the same people who are “green” advocates, want mini houses and no fuss so they should roll that philosophy into their homes. Being environmentally conservative does mean re-use..

Fact is I could sell them a solid wood dining room set for $400. Same goes for every room in their house. Those with smarts and creativity can paint, stain, and re-do the Pennsylvania House solid maple side board from the 1970’s and revise it’s purpose into a great looking bar, for instance. Dressers, Dining Room Sets, etc.

Back to the estate and downsizing sale reality: Results are cumulative..all the household stuff, the garage, books, decent clothing, attic, china, crystal, silver, collections, automobiles, lawn equipment, dolls, linens, furniture and smalls. It all comes together to produce a final sales number. That is what matters!

My advice from almost 20 years of managing stuff- When downsizing, remove only personal papers, photos and true trash from the residence. Leave the rest for EstateMAX to manage. We sell, donate and consign the best of what’s left at Other Peoples Stuff after the estate sale.


Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parent’s Stuff

Advice for boomers desperate to unload family heirlooms


Your Parents’ Stuff

After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

Admittedly, that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not far off, due to changing tastes and homes. I’ll explain why, and what you can do as a result, shortly.

The Stuff of Nightmares

So please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn’t want or wouldn’t be donating, some of which he said he’d give to charity.)

Many boomers and Gen X’ers charged with disposing the family heirlooms, it seems, are unprepared for the reality and unwilling to face it.

They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.

— Susan Devaney, The Mavins Group

“It’s the biggest challenge our members have and it’s getting worse,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

“At least a half dozen times a year, families come to me and say: ‘What do we do with all this stuff?’” says financial adviser Holly Kylen of Kylen Financials in Lititz, Pa. The answer: lots of luck.

Heirloom Today, Foregone Tomorrow

Dining room tables and chairs, end tables and armoires (“brown” pieces) have become furniture non grata. Antiques are antiquated. “Old mahogany stuff from my great aunt’s house is basically worthless,”  says  in, Va.

On PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, prices for certain types of period furniture have dropped so much that some episode reruns note current, lower estimated appraisals.

And if you’re thinking your grown children will gladly accept your parents’ items, if only for sentimental reasons, you’re likely in for an unpleasant surprise.

“Young couples starting out don’t want the same things people used to have,” says Susan Devaney, president of NASMM and owner of The Mavins Group, a senior move manager in Westfield, N.J. “They’re not picking out formal china patterns anymore. I have three sons. They don’t want anything of mine. I totally get it.”

The Ikea Generation

Buysse agrees. “This is an Ikea and Target generation. They live minimally, much more so than the boomers. They don’t have the emotional connection to things that earlier generations did,” she notes. “And they’re more mobile. So they don’t want a lot of heavy stuff dragging down a move across country for a new opportunity.”

And you can pretty much forget about interesting your grown kids in the books that lined their grandparents’ shelves for decades. If you’re lucky, you might find buyers for some books by throwing a garage sale or you could offer to donate them to your public library — if the books are in good condition.

Most antiques dealers (if you can even find one!) and auction houses have little appetite for your parents’ stuff, either. That’s because their customers generally aren’t interested. Carol Eppel, an antique dealer and director of the Minnesota Antiques Dealers Association in Stillwater, Minn., says her customers are far more intrigued by Fisher Price toy people and Arby’s glasses with cartoon figures than sideboards and credenzas.

Even charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill frequently reject donations of home furnishings, I can sadly say from personal experience.

Midcentury, Yes; Depression-Era, No

A few kinds of home furnishings and possessions can still attract interest from buyers and collectors, though. For instance, Midcentury Modern furniture — think Eames chairs and Knoll tables — is pretty trendy. And “very high-end pieces of furniture, good jewelry, good artwork and good Oriental rugs — I can generally help find a buyer for those,” says Eppel.

“The problem most of us have,” Eppel adds, “is our parents bought things that were mass-produced. They don’t hold value and are so out of style. I don’t think you’ll ever find a good place to liquidate them.”

Getting Liquid With a Liquidator

Unless, that is, you find a business like ______________ which calls itself “the fastest way to cash in and clean out your estate” in the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville and Richmond, Va. Rather than holding an estate sale, Nova performs a “buyout” — someone from the firm shows up, makes an assessment, writes a check and takes everything away (including the trash), generally within two days.

If a client has a spectacular piece of art, Fultz says, his company brokers it through an auction house. Otherwise, Nova takes to its retail shop anything the company thinks it can sell and discounts the price continuously (perhaps down to 75 percent off), as needed. Nova also donates some items.

Another possibility: Hiring a senior move manager (even if the job isn’t exactly a “move”). In a Next Avenue article about these pros, Leah Ingram said most NASMM members charge an hourly rate ($40 to $100 an hour isn’t unusual) and a typical move costs between $2,500 and $3,000. Other senior move managers specializing in selling items at estate sales get paid through sales commissions of 35 percent or so.

“Most of the people in our business do a free consultation so we can see what services are needed,” says Devaney.

8 Tips for Home Unfurnishing

What else can you do to avoid finding yourself forlorn in your late parents’ home, broken up about the breakfront that’s going begging? Some suggestions:

1. Start mobilizing while your parents are around. “Every single person, if their parents are still alive, needs to go back and collect the stories of their stuff,” says Kylen. “That will help sell the stuff.” Or it might help you decide to hold onto it. One of Kylen’s clients inherited a set of beautiful gold-trimmed teacups, saucers and plates. Her mother had told her she’d received them as a gift from the DuPonts because she had nursed for the legendary wealthy family. Turns out, the plates were made for the DuPonts. The client decided to keep them due to the fantastic story.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can. “We tell people: The longer you have to sell something, the more money you’re going to make,” says Fultz. Of course, this could mean cluttering up your basement, attic or living room with tables, lamps and the like until you finally locate interested parties.

3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ art, furniture, china or crystal. If there is, see if an auction house might be interested in trying to sell things for you on consignment. “It’s a little bit of a wing and a prayer,” says Buysse.

That’s true. But you might get lucky. I did. My sister and I were pleasantly surprised — no, flabbergasted — when the auctioneer we hired sold our parents’ enormous, turn-of-the-20th-century portrait of an unknown woman by an obscure painter to a Florida art dealer for a tidy sum. (We expected to get a dim sum, if anything.) Apparently, the Newcomb-Macklin frame was part of the attraction. Go figure. Our parents’ tabletop marble bust went bust at the auction, however, and now sits in my den, owing to the kindness of my wife.

4. Get the jewelry appraised. It’s possible that a necklace, ring or brooch has value and could be sold.

5. Look for a nearby consignment shop that might take some items. Or, perhaps, a liquidation firm.

6. See if someone locally could use what you inherited. “My dad had some tools that looked interesting. I live in Amish country and a farmer gave me $25 for them,” says Kylen. She also picked out five shelters and gave them a list of all the kitchen items she wound up with. “By the fifth one, everything was gone. That kind of thing makes your heart feel good,” Kylen says.

7. Download the free Rightsizing and Relocation Guide from the National Association of Senior Move Managers. This helpful booklet is on the group’s site.

8. But perhaps the best advice is: Prepare for disappointment. “For the first time in history of the world, two generations are downsizing simultaneously,” says Buysse, talking about the boomers’ parents (sometimes, the final downsizing) and the boomers themselves. “I have a 90-year-old parent who wants to give me stuff or, if she passes away, my siblings and I will have to clean up the house. And my siblings and I are 60 to 70 and we’re downsizing.”

This, it seems, is 21st-century life — and death. “I don’t think there is a future” for the possessions of our parents’ generation, says Eppel. “It’s a different world.”

Next Avenue Editors Also Recommend:

 

On-Site Estate Sale or On-Line Auction? Strategy is Relative!

On-Site Sale or On-Line Auction? EstateMAX uses both strategies, to MAX-OUT the returns for our estate and downsizing clients and bring the best of what’s left to Other People’s Stuff for sale to the public at progressive discounting.

What are the factors that should come into play in making the call? We direct potential clients toward the best strategy based on all of these:

Time Frame: Is there enough time for an estate company to set up, conduct and clean up and in home sale prior to settlement, listing, property updating, the next step?

Neighborhood and Position of Home: SFH or apartment? Does the community support on site estate sales? HOA? Parking? Signage allowed? Is there a “captive” audience close by, walk-in traffic as well as drive up, to support a bottom line?

Condition of Home: Is the property safe? the Interior a maze of Stuff? Is this the home of a packrat or a tidy owner?If the first it can be a great onsite estate sale IF there’s enough time to organize and clean and price the contents. Is the approximate return worth the time and labor investment? Either way, the house has to be sorted and cleaned out to go to donate and trash and there is a cost to that service!

Contents: High to Medium End Inventory, Antiques, Vintage in Combination with Household Goods, or Cheap Worn Out Items? Is the return there?

Time of Year: Every client can’t be fortunate enough to schedule for a spring or fall sale. Winter and summer can be productive times for an onsite sale.

On-Site Sales are held in the home, the inventory is in context and arranged in vignettes ( merchandised to make the best of the the goods.) Priced to start at below comparative value ( using major auction platforms for comparison, this is not a retail environment) taking under consideration all factors that come into play in getting the estimated result, Items are organized, tagged, local street signage and in-depth social media marketing are in place -the sale is conducted over 3 days or more, progressive discounting is employed with ongoing negotiation and shoppers are encouraged to leave bids ( with deposits) on the higher end goods… and property is left organized and ready for the next phase of sale.

On-Line Sales are typically handled two ways (by the competition,) depending on circumstances: 1. Inventory is “Cherry picked” for the best merchandise, photographed on-site, or moved to a warehouse and sold with a minimum starting price or Buy it Now 2. Items are photographed and most items are sold starting price $1. Smalls are sold in “lots” ( boxes) or table full for one price, vs. individually priced.

On-Line Sales are for the convenience shopper who isn’t inspired by the “hunt”. They want inventory cessed out for them in advance. They buy items that they haven’t inspected in advance and have to take what they get. Photographs and description are not adequate to insure the bidders understand all facets of the goods. There is typically no return allowed and the winning bidders have to go pick up at the sale location. That said, the prices paid are lower than on-site sale results.

In all three options, the sales result is not guaranteed and there is a cost to hiring the sales company. On-Site Sales yield highest results across the board. The upfront cost can be relatively higher. It’s a “classier” approach and great for the full home, high to mid end residence including household goods.

On-line auctions have to be marketed to a vast email audience to attract bidders. That said, results typically come in at comparative last day estate sale pricing, for the cherry picked items, or less.

EstateMAX and MAX-Out!, Our On-Line auction division provides both strategies- even on one property in tandem, as we feel best for the client, all factors considered.

We utilize an On-Line full blown estate sale auction platform under MAX-Out by EstateMAX, list higher and brand items also on Ebay, the volume of stuff on $1 Auction sites, Craigslist regional DC, Facebook, National Furnishing Sites like Chairish. If an Item is “too good” for a household tag sale we know where to sell it. We have sent things to nationally recognized auction houses on our client’s behalf.

Please give us a call for a no-cost consultation! Please pass this information along to your downsizing and estate clients! 301-332-5585 Laurie Zook

Pack Rat or Hoarder? 6 Signs That Tell The Difference

As a downsizer, organizer, estate seller I’ve been working in the People and Their Stuff Business, intensely for 18 years. Here’s a great article from HP.

If you’re on the fringe, take a step back and go see a doctor for a OCD prescription. Not kidding. I’ve worked with so many people who are incapable of letting go of “junk” because of an Obsessive Compulsive “Cling On”, “Love My Stuff” Mentality. Without medical help nothing is going to change for long, garbage collection or not! By the way, I don’t work with hoarders or serious packrats anymore. Did my time!

How Do You Know if You are a Packrat?

Hoarding is a serious issue that goes far beyond being disorganized. It’s estimated that between 2 and 5 percent of the U.S. population exhibits some hoarding behavior, though some figures vary (one estimate puts the number of people with a full-blown hoarding disorder in the United States at 4 million, but it could be as high as 15 million). But the question has always remained, especially to those of us who have struggled to keep up with the tide of stuff in our homes: What’s the difference between being a “pack rat” and being a full-on hoarder?

“All of us can have more possessions than we really need and wrestle to keep our stuff organized, yet for those with a hoarding issue, it’s to an extreme, where it interferes with their life and ability to use their space effectively,” says Dr. Annette Perot, a licensed psychologist who specializes in anxiety issues and hoarding.

While many of us think of the extreme cases, such as the ones featured on shows like A&E’s “Hoarders,” there are a few everyday signs that you, or someone you know, might have hoarding tendencies.

1. They keep acquiring things, but don’t have a use for the items and/or a reason to display them.

This goes beyond bringing in a random vintage find that you intend to use as a holiday decoration, for example. But for those who have hoarding tendencies, acquisition is an emotional experience. “[…] Many of us buy things because it feels good, even though that feeling is only temporary,” says Dr. Perot. “So, for people with hoarding issues, buying or saving items can be done in order to create more positive feelings.” It’s also a habit that can’t be stopped easily. Hartford Hospital’s Anxiety Disorders Center notes that those with compulsive hoarding have feelings of distress when they see something they want, and can’t feel better until the object is in their possession.

2. Their collection has taken over.

There’s a difference between “collecting” and hoarding. Randy O. Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College and author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and The Meaning Of Things,” says that the difference is in how the collection is stored and organized. “For the person whose collecting has become hoarding, possessions become unorganized piles of clutter that are so large that they prevent rooms from being used for normal activities,” Frost says.

3. Their chairs are too cluttered to be used, or there’s one room that cannot be used as intended.

Though extremely uninhabitable homes often come to mind when we think of hoarding, a more common example are chairs and pathways that are piled with so much stuff that they cannot be used. Some also designate at least one specific room or space in their home to the accumulation.

4. They had strong attachments to objects at a young age.

old toy

Though most of us had collections when we were young, a Scientific American article says that children might “reveal a proclivity to hoarding in their emotions.” Attachments can manifest in a few ways. Dr. Perot names a few examples: “Someone might feel guilty about discarding an old toy for fear that he is hurting the toy’s feelings. Or, someone might have difficulty getting rid of her daughter’s baby clothes because she feels like she is getting rid of her daughter.”

5. It’s a huge challenge to get rid of unwanted items.

The difficulty of finally weeding through your closet is universal. The difference is when you can’t seem to get rid of anything (even if it’s in your way) because you might “need it someday.” “People who have hoarding issues are very creative and can see limitless possibilities for the use of an item as simple as a bottle cap,” Dr. Perot says. “Yet more time ends up being spent saving items than in actually creatively using what is saved.” She also says that individuals with hoarding tendencies have a hard time letting go of items, since possessions are perceived as a part of their identity. “Imagine being told to part with a dear friend or part of your identity … That’s how it can feel to someone with hoarding issues.”

6. There’s so much stuff, they don’t want to have visitors over.

Those with hoarding tendencies tend to keep accumulations a secret. Often, it’s because they’re concerned about someone touching the collected objects. Many admit that clutter causes feelings of “shame” and don’t want others to witness the accumulations.

If someone you know needs help, Dr. Perot advises that respect is key. “It’s important to remember that each of us has the right to govern our own lives and make changes if and when we’re ready,” she says. And though it’s tempting, she recommends not “helping” the individual by throwing things away without their permission.

To read more about hoarding and the effects on family, visit Children Of Hoarders. And to learn more about hoarding, check out the interview with professor Randy O. Frost and hoarding expert Dr. Gail Steketee on NPR’s “Fresh Air.”

Less-serious roommate situations still need to be dealt with a gentle hand. Here’s what you should never say to someone you live with.

Things You Never Want To Hear From A Roommate

Suggest a correction
Comments