The Witch of Pikesville… She Can Turn $6000 into $20000 of Used Stuff!

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.

 

Upcoming January 2021 EstateMax Estate Sales

2021 Is Off To a Fast Start for Estatemax! 

Covid19 Regulations are used at all of our in person sales. 10 to 15 shoppers allowed in the home at a time- masks and social distancing required. Bring your own bags and boxes, please. Labor and a truck to remove your furniture always with EstateMAX supervision. We do not always provide labor to remove from the home. EstateSales are not conducive to handicap access or babies, typically. No walkers, wheelchairs, baby carriages. If you can not walk steadily on your own, please do not attempt to enter.

Here are the URLS of our upcoming January 2021 sales:

Darnestown Maryland January 8th through 10th. Art Deco and Art Deco Repros, fine art and household: https://www.estatesales.net/MD/Darnestown/20878/2732646

Thurmont Maryland, Full Contents of Home-Living Estate of Joyce Michaud Nice, Reknowned Ceramicist and Professor: Household, Furnishings, Equipment. Follow up Studio and Gallery sale to be February 13,14,15.https://www.estatesales.net/MD/Thurmont/21788/2759655

Columbia Maryland, True Estate Sale, Full Contents of Home includes 300 Longaberger Baskets, Mid Century Furniture, Tea Pot collection, Handblown Glass and much more-https://www.estatesales.net/MD/Columbia/21044/2758248

Thurmont Maryland, Studio and Gallery of Joyce Michaud Nice- All ceramics materials, wheels, equipment, lighting, unglazed pottery, etc. Gallery is full of her finished pieces and displays. URL to be posted on estatesales.net in early February.

Call Laurie Zook, Chief Estates Officer with any questions at 301-332-5585

How EstateMAX Does It!

How Do We Do It

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An estate sale floor

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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.

Your expectations should be in check. https://estatemaxops.com/2019/09/11/downsizing-selling-your-stuff-minimize-your-expectations-maximize-your-planning/


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. 

What Do We Sell!?

EstateMAX puts up for sale the personal property-all contents- of estates and homes that both gone through their downsizing process or estates that are full of personal property, AS-IS.

In which case we do full organization and trash removal as part of our estate sale service.

Just ask us if you have questions about our ability to market your items to the right buying groups.

Inventories of used and like new items can include and are not limited to, (in no preferential order as below:)

  • Furniture
  • Decor ( Lamps, Lighting, Mirrors, Wall Shelves, Hardware. etc.)
  • Clocks
  • Books
  • 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
  • Fine Crystal
  • Vintage Glassware
  • 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
  • Sewing Equipment
  • Dolls, Doll Accessories
  • Advertising Memorabilia
  • Native American Collections
  • Specialty Collections
  • Military Uniforms and Medals and Flags
  • Legal Firearms, Armament
  • Passenger Vehicles: (whether running or not)
  • Lawn and Garden Equipment
  • Farm Equipment
  • Power and Hand Tools and Hardware
  • Garage Items
  • New Building Materials
  • Appliances
  • Musical Instruments
  • 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!

 

 

 

EstateMAX Action Page: See if an Estate Sale is Right for You!

You are only ONE CLICK Away:

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

*Click HERE to Read About How WE DO IT, and what makes EstateMax Special!    

*Click HERE to Read our Reviews!     

*Click HERE to See our You Tube Channel!  [actual sale Promotional Videos, and tours of our recent estate sales!]   

*Click HERE to see our Angie’s List Super Service Award, that SHOWS we are different!     

*Click HERE to see how we can help you Organize, Pack-up, and Coordinate your Move with “Mission Transition”   

*Click HERE to Contact us to ANSWER YOUR Questions, or to Book your Estate Sale!     

EstateMAX is Fully Vetted and Accountable!

At EstateMAX we know that an estate sale company ( or any) is only as good as their word and their persistence, as well as their business practices.

During the 22 years in the transitions and estate liquidation industry our team has pushed through situations for our clients where others might have folded, thrown in the towel, wept and walked out of the sale process: all before, during or after the estate sale!

We at EstateMAX have persisted-through securing contracts, handling set up, selling, clean up afterward and continuing to sell for our clients, on specialty items, to make our estate and downsizing sales success stories!

Some Estate Sale Anecdotes

Real life stories surrounding our real life client experiences include: selling through the aftermath and clean up of broken water pipes that flooded our client’s basement on sale day, working through the beginning of a ( suprise!) snowstorm only to leave the home 3 hours later and drive home in 8 inches of newly fallen snow, a precarious two hour trip;  holding a sale in Ashburn VA, the property, down a quarter mile one lane road in the forest which demanded de-snaking, de-spidering and de-mousing then selling on a rainy weekend directing ( bad drivers?!) traffic in and out of the muddy property. We’ve moved an (almost unmovable) 1958 Silver Cloud Rolls Royce out of it’s garage to our property by flat bed, then sent a courier to meet the buyer at the airport who flew in with an attache full of hundred dollar bills, then return him safely to the airport. A week later we met the car transport and sent the Rolls to Iowa.  We have sold 400 Christmas Village buildings and their accessories, and matched them to their boxes in one sale, while selling the rest of the contents of the home. In another sale, on the coldest days of the year, we set up and sold over 400 die-cast model tractors in the detached garage, built a fire in the wood burning stove ( thank goodness it was there!) and reaped over $7000 in sales in two days just from that…  We have sold the contents of 8000 square foot home packed full of vintage and new decor, including a huge garage full of unopened bags of NEW stuff from Homegoods and other box stores. That was a 6 day sale and the client purchased a new car with the proceeds! The USPS lost a Priority Mail Envelope-within which was a Cashier’s Check made out to a client in dire financial need. We worked ( pleaded) with our bank to cancel the typically non-cancel able check and then client personally with a new one. (BTW the original showed up a month later at their home.)

We have found ourselves ( too many times- but it’s the job-) purging multitudes of stuff, and then again de-cluttering the home,  just in order to set up to photograph then price it all to do a sale. We spend what it takes to advertise, whether pre-sale for large items, photograph, video and cover the market with information, organize and price and during the sale, keep the ball rolling with yet more on line videos, on going merchandising and surveying of the property for customer activity, field questions, “put fires out”, meet buyers of specialty goods, sign Bills of Sale, turn in vehicle tags, manage removal and payment of everything, secure the doors and windows at the end of every day and go back after the sale is over to pack and organize, if contracted, and meet charity for pick up of unsold goods.

If it can happen, it probably will happen in the course of an estate sale. EstateMax knows how to handle the pack rats, the hoarders, the unprepared homeowner, the poor maintenance issues and unlikely events that occur.

EstateMAX under Re-Flea LLC, is vetted by Angie’s List, Inc. where you can find our reviews by at least 70+ actual clients. We do business with a black and white agreement, (no smoke and mirrors.) We are FBI finger printed, hold Montgomery County Second Hand Personal Property Dealers Licensing and State of Maryland Precious Metals Licensing.

 – Dale Wallace

We don’t know how this could have gone better. EstateMax was very punctual in the initial meeting
and review. Everything was spelled out for us beforehand. The best part was we did not have to lift a
finger…EstateMax handled every aspect of the estate sale. Throughout this whole process EstateMax was extremely professional and did all they said they would. We highly recommend them for this type of service.

  • CategoryAppraisals – Antiques/Jewelry/Items, Furniture – Sales, Auction Services
  • Services PerformedYes
  • Cost$4000
19817 Belmont Ridge Rd
Ashburn, VA 20147

Integrity Notice: CAVEAT EMPTOR When Hiring Estate Sale and Auctioneers

INTEGRITY NOTICE: State of Maryland has no licensing requirements for auctioneers or estate sale companies!

The industry is becoming a playground for the inexperienced, unincorporated, uninsured newbie (sometimes criminal), individuals and unestablished small businesses looking for a “fun” income, “digging through” houses, and running weekend “yard sales”. (The results reflect the same.) These are the people handling your assets!

In turn, the State ( and Montgomery County, MD has instituted rigorous legislation that enforces sales of second hand goods of many types: Electronics, Jewelry, Furs, Fine Art, etc.

Your estate sale company is required to be registered with the State Police and report any item in a Maryland home that is up for sale that falls under these categories or risk prosecution.

(Just what small business doesn’t need, more regulation but…) Because of a few criminals and too many operators with low standards, we all pay the price.) 

On the contrary, EstateMAX is registered, fingerprinted, taxpaying and reporting. With 21 years in this business, in the Washington DC Metro, we are a known entity. Check our Angie’s List Reviews!