In the course of several recent estate sale client interviews, it has become apparant that there are now many “newcomers” to our business (of 21 years) that are confusing the market with sub-par performances.
The problem is that there is no licensing requirements in MD, VA, DC, to be in the estate sale business, so that basically anybody that has ever had a yard sale thinks they can join the business! Caveat emptor!
This is an art and a science that can only be honed by YEARS of trials of technique. Since most clients only hold and conduct ONE in-home estate sale in their lifetime, the newcomers with half-baked methods are never “outted”, and continue to take advantage of new clients with minimal results and perhaps no payment at the endWhat was once chaos becomes order and assets with EstateMAX estate sales systems.
We at www.EstateMAXops.com have 72 client reviews you can read on this link from Angie’s List, and we hold their highest honor, the coveted AAAAA Super Service Award earned by real client experiences over the past 9 of our 21 years in the industry.
If you want experience and integrity with solid business practices, call Steve or Laurie at EstateMAX for your no cost consultation to get started.
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
You get to move on with those things you love and want and need to live with, and leave the rest behind. We deal with all the details.
There is nothing new to EstateMAX about helping our clients move forward with ease.
Move Management, Sorting, Packing, Unpacking on the other end. Complete sales services of the contents of your home you are leaving behind, clean up, trash outs and disbursal to charity.
Since 1999. Experience and Credentials Count.
2017 Downsizing & Estate Sales
What We Do-We Merchandise, Price, Advertise, Sell, Stage & Clean Up Your Property So You Can Go Forward With Ease. We Pay You Within 7 Days of End of Sale! With Your Real Estate Pro, We’re the Only Other Team Member Whose Goal is Find YOU Money in the Haystack of Your Personal Property! We Do it Every Time!
We’re Not Cherry Pickers! We Sell It and Leave Your Property Clean! You Do Nothing Except Move Out In Advance of the Sale, With The Things Your Want to Keep! Your Settlement Goes Smoothly Because We Handle the Details!
Call Us Today for Your No Cost Phone Consultation. We Come to You To Visit Your Home and See Your Stuff, After We Know We’re a Match!
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
Designer bags shoes, jewelry, clothing, beautiful furnishings, household goods…all went to making this our best estate sale ever! A credit card transaction every 6 to 10 minutes over the 3 8 hour sale days. Our client is happy, we are exhausted but hope to recover quickly! Thank you, Amy for putting your trust and your home in us!
[Tips and checklists from http://www.SeniorAdvisor.com]
Estate sale companies are businesses that facilitate the organization, pricing, marketing, and selling of some or all of the contents of an individual’s or family’s home. These services may be necessary after a family member passes away, or may be part of the downsizing process when the resident of the home moves into a different living arrangement.
Learn more about estate sales:
- What are the different types of estate sale companies?
- What are the benefits of using an estate sale service?
- How do estate sales work?
- What services are provided by estate sale companies?
View a glossary of estate sale industry terms.
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