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-


The Reality of Stuff

All estate sale companies do the pretty much the same thing-

We all sell as much as we can over the period of the estate sale for the highest possible return. The more we sell, the more income for the client and for us!

The key word here is “possible”. It’s relative to conditions.

EstateMAX’s goal is to clear the house, but realistically that rarely happens. We sell between 70% to 85% of contents. 

(After the sale what do we do with “what doesn’t sell?” No, I don’t burn it in the back yard…I like to tease customers when asked. The balance goes to charity or auction, but only IF the auctioneer wants it, and most don’t want the dregs of a household.)

How do we get the buyers into our sales?

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. The competition for used stuff is fierce!

Under normal conditions, it’s a busy estate sale market. On any (pre-Covid) weekend you could count on 30 to 60 estate sales in the DC Metro area.

Most of it is now sold online, and that does not empty a household.

Online agents “cherry-pick” the home and sell the stuff that is going to bring the money. The tough-to-sell furniture ( it takes a sales person to move it out!), clothes, screws, bolts, garbage bags, cleaning products, linens, volumes of books, household and junk, and who knows what- are left behind for the homeowner to deal with. Charity does not pick up with less than a 8 week schedule and worse, during Covid times. So, what’s the value in hiring EstateMAX? What is the Real Value in Hiring EstateMAX?

(EstateMAX has continued to perform our job onsite during this pandemic following State Realtor Regulations and we perform a full sale over 3 days and a complete clean out afterward making the home ready for settlement or improvement.)

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 3 day sales, typically 8 hour days, depending on location and inventory. Auctioneers start at a buck for online and off site auctions, typically. It doesn’t matter what is being sold if it’s typical household goods and used furniture. 

We MAX out the sales hours and sale possibilities!

So, Potential Sellers Should Consider these Points When Considering Hiring a Company to “Sell Your Stuff”:

  • 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, and made your life better  over the days past. Now the time has come when you don’t need them. For whatever reason- they don’t serve your purposes, are worn out, the style is no longer what you like, etc.
You are moving on! So let go of the stuff and the expectation!
  • Your emotional attachment and opinion about your stuff doesn’t matter anymore… What matters is what the potential buyer thinks.
  • We are talking 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. 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 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 and moving is stressful.
  • 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 is several thousand more. Moving is a small fortune. It’s usually fiscally beneficial 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 EstateMAX, a reputable company, make a small investment in quality service and reap the financial and stress- free benefits of selling and donating the stuff you no longer want or need.
  • 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 innundated 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%, more or less, 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.
To Make it Easy on Yourself, Start your downsizing 6 months in advance of your move. EstateMAX can help.
  • Hire EstateMAX a minimum of 6 weeks prior to your move out date. Give us time to advertise and get the word out for the best result! 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.

Expect the best of your estate sale professional- The EstateMAX team is a pro-active, problem-solver, ready to step in and handle personal property disbursements resulting from divorce, old age, suicide, death of elderly, and downsizing transitions.


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

 

― Jodi Picoult

A Hoarders house, after the sale. This is the stuff that is left after the crowds bought what they wanted. It gets sorted, goes to charity, trash and recycling.

A table top view of a set up ready for the sale in a condo. A real collector.

Click HERE to see if an Estate Sale is Right for You!

Answer these easy questions to see IF AN ESTATE SALE IS RIGHT FOR YOU!

*Do you live in the Maryland, DC, Virginia Metro area?   [a top market to hold estate sales in the Nation!]

*Do you have a single family home, or a town home of at least 1,200 square feet? Smaller for on line auction, larger for on site tag sale. We make the determination after talking with you.

*Would you like to make a profit off of your unwanted furniture, art, decor, antiques, collections, silver, china, and small items? See How & What We Do on our Website Menu.

*Do you need the entire premises cleaned out as a result of a sale or are you staying in place while downsizing and have 100 or fewer items to liquidate?   See Turn Key Services on our website menu for all options, set up, move out, sale to clean up.

*We sell everything “As Is” so  don’t toss anything out in preparation! Clean up can come after the sale, with the exception of true trash.

*Can you book a weekend for a 3-day on site sale with at least 2 weeks advanced notice, or organize the items you want to sell for an on line auction?  [we do book up, so call us soon for our availability!][ we do value research, all promo/marketing, photos in HD, and Pro-videos

*Do you want to attract the largest and best qualified group of estate sale shoppers?  [We are the best at digital promotion, and online + Social Media Marketing with a reach of over 80,000 folks regionally]


Award winning company on EstateSales.org

*Do you want to work with this industries current Angie’s List Super Service Award holder?  [EstateMax holds the title!]   

*Reliable performance?  [EstateMax has tons of great REVIEWS for you to see!]    Click HERE to see our REVIEWS!

 

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

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Comments

Why Pay Full Price for Consumables?

After 37 years on the front lines of Consumer Goods via traditional channels like big box stores and specialty boutique locations, I fell into the estate sale business and never looked back; I know how you can save yourself a bundle on stuff you will want!

My main revelation upon joining forces with industry veteran Laurie Zook in our company “EstateMax” was that the successful “Boomer” generation is downsizing and moving to retirement locations at a record pace.   We call these “Living Estate Sales.”  So, In addition to normal “estate sales” where folks have passed and there is a legal estate to be liquidated, most of our work is in turning unneeded good stuff into cash for our clients.  To fund their starting over…

This is a happy occasion, as clients opt to start over again, rid themselves of stuff they no longer need – due to duplication, or just wanting a fresh start – and they get the cash!

Much of what we find now is cool vintage stuff, collectables, antique goods, such as furniture, art, apparel, books, and nicnacs, items from world travel in some cases.  When sold, these goods get a second life, and go to estate sale shoppers who refurbish, or collect, or resell.  Talk about a treasure house full of things that could become unique wedding gifts!

Fair market value of the goods can be 30 cents on the dollar in many cases less.  So the owner gets cash back after a lifetime of use, and the new owner finds great stuff, many times  in great condition and hardly used at all, due to the love given to the goods by the original owners.  China, silverware, linens, decor……

For our younger shoppers, just starting out, it’s a gold mine of stuff needed for everyday life, or even a first collectable antique or art object for home decor.  One can furnish an entire home or apartment for much less than half of what it would cost in a traditional store….and many times you would get BETTER STUFF than they offer now…… because…..they really don’t make ’em like they used to!

Lastly, learn more about the business and how to find sales at www.EstateMaxOPS.com

See you there,    –Steve Berryman.

 

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