The Stuff Left After the Stuff That Sold!

There is always that person at an estate sale who asks ” What do you do with the stuff that’s left after the sale is over?!” (Because there always IS stuff left over, regardless of how large or small the inventory.) Sarcasm, my closest friend, overwhelms my good manners, and I retort” I burn it all in the back yard!”. All the stuff never sells.

We are just completing clean up of an estate sale that we held last weekend. The sale setup included removal of 20 cubic yards of trash, just to get to the stuff that was salable and accommodate it’s setup and shop-ability…And this household had record mounds of stuff to begin with.

We sold an unprecedented volume of stuff over 3 days which left the dregs of unsold stuff behind, in piles.  Piles- because estate sale shoppers are not concerned with neatness, when sifting and picking through inventory, looking for the next “great find”. It looked like a cyclone had gone through the house.

This leftover stuff includes empty cardboard boxes from a myriad of items, including a closet of dust and cardboard scraps left from the sale of  vintage board games, a lawn mower,  old, out of style furniture, Xmas decor, Easter decor, Halloween decor, etc., cleaning supplies, a seashell collection, scraps of stained glass, jars, dried stuff, craft supplies, fabrics, sewing magazines, books, books, books, framed artwork, a daisy art collection, personal care items, shoes, clothes, a bed, a deep freeze full of old food, a Wurlitzer piano, weight bench, scraps of vintage toys, burnt out power tools, dusty fake floral arrangements, an unexplored attic full of who knows what…kitchen stuff, laundry stuff, Tupper ware, old food, and a hundred other items I can’t define.

Yesterday a 26 foot truck load went to charity. Today a 30 cubic yard dumpster or two is being filled with the leftover trash. The estate will pay for removal of the stuff, out of the estate sale proceeds and will still see a profit over and above all expenses.

This is the stuff of someones lives. And those someones left it all there for someone else to deal with-someday. Someday is here. I am the one who is dealing with it. This someone’s son was wise. He hired EstateMAX to handle the details of his parent’s stuff. The house will be sold and life will go on.

Advice to you pack rats and hoarders. You people with OCD, and shopping addictions: STOP now! Don’t leave this for your children to fix later. Take a pill, go to the beach, start running. Do something else while you are alive!

 

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 TO DO BEFORE YOUR ESTATE LIQUIDATOR BEGINS THEIR WORK

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.

©2018 The American Society of Estate Liquidators®

http://www.ASELOnline.com

Julie Hall, Director of ASEL

The American Society of Estate Liquidators, LLC

Estate Sale Wars!

A Thesis on Current Trends in the Estate Sale Industry

Steve Berryman, Director of Sales EstateMAX

There are a greater number of novice estate sale companies we are competing with for estate sale jobs now, chasing a clientele that has more options than ever to liquidate using their own means and outlets.  This is a “double-whammy” in impact to us. To get a new job, we now have to win twice: We must win the selection by a client agreeing to use our services, and, and our format has to win over competing formats that are in some ways different from our own. We have to stand by our experience and reputation and use progressive marketing techniques to win new customers.

EstateMAX’s primary business is as a “True” estate sale company, processing sales within a home, as a “tag sale” with everything priced.  We use a 3-day sale typically, discounting heavily on day 3 and promoting dynamically throughout the event that we ourselves host and monitor. We know from 21 years of experience, that this yields the most cash-for- stuff for the client, chiefly because we don’t have any moving expenses to take goods off-premises to a warehouse setting, for instance, and then we benefit from the added advantage of taking-in local customers who see our many strategically placed directional street signs taking folks right to our door.   We have at times made 30% of all sales just from “walk-ins” who never saw an ad, but just dropped in by chance.

Our step one is to acquire a new job.  We must differentiate ourselves from everyone from Facebook community pages, to outside auctions, to inside auctions, many of whom do not bring with them extended experience, true knowledge bonafides, process knowledge on marketing, sales, and know how on hi-tech photograph and videography.

We also have the hidden advantage of having a direct following, via our mailing lists and many versions of Facebook dedicated pages our industry.  We reach about 120,000 interested potential shoppers, many we know from repeat sales. They know we only accept “good sales.”

The chief problem is that many folks that go fishing for an estate sale company have never done so before, and may have never even attended one in the past.  How for them to be the judge? This especially in a “mad-world” where anyone that has ever conducted a yard sale, can talk the talk, and experiment with transferring this process into a house.  As there are no licensing or regulatory hurdles in our area, MD, DC, NVA, anybody can claim to be an estate sale company!

In order to differentiate our offerings, and “what makes us different,” there is not but one answer in place, but a string of doing steps just a little bit better is essential.  These include, and are not limited to:  

*Having as much exposure at the front-end of the game as possible in order to get as many “at bats” or chances to press our format to potential clients.  We have and generate as much word of mouth with realtors as possible. We engage our past clients to write positive reviews for us, and to get them to want to introduce our services to their needy friends and relatives.

*We conduct ongoing pro-level photography and videography which is added to our web presence, www.EstateMAXops.com and is cross posted to our own Email distribution lists, many dedicated Facebook pages, and to our own custom ads created to go onto estate sale platforms like EstateSales.net, etc.

*We submit proof of performance directly from all sales to Angie’s List, and do maintain a AAAAA rating going back years, and we hold their “Super Service Achievement Award” for 5 years going up to and including 2019, just announced.

None of the above good stuff is light hidden under a shade!  We are presenting this directly to clients and real estate agents, and are producing written articles and blogs that further get our story out.  

In the final analysis, to a client that is willing to listen openly, has not made any prior commitment to another company (of format) and is willing to take the time necessary to read our reviews, and stories of estate liquidation conquest, given a fair shake we win the jobs a high percentage of the time.

To beat the trend of greater competition, it must be done actively with extra preparation of marketing materials and methods.  Extra attention must be taken to make that first impression on sales leads in the fasted and most positive way.

And care must be taken to look deeply into “hidden objections,” and answer to the ways of Auctions, In-Home Auctions, Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List, and E-Bay.  Again, most sophisticated neighborhoods already have been using the alternative Facebook listings, spoiling existing pricing structures, for several years now.

For instance, it is industry standard, especially in outlying areas, that a fully realized estate sale will return about .24 cents on the dollar, compared to that of an auction, which standards reveal as closer to .11 cents on the dollar.

Also, it cannot be overstated, how much money is lost selling “smalls” not piecemeal but as a lot in an Auction, and it cannot be overstated how much potential is eaten up by Auction companies that truck and cherry pick goods to an Auction House.  A TRUE estate sale, as EstateMAX insists on conducting, easily these other methods of liquidating a property in the most productive way.

All of this said, a professional conversation with the clients, impressing them of the differences and company structures is essential.  There is much to be learned in order to make an informed decision on what company to choose, but keep remembering, in the vast number of client meetings one is dealing with newbies that you must take the time to spoon feed, give examples, work out timetables, and encourage them ask answers to prove they were even listening- in some cases!

It’s a real war out there, and those that are prepared will come out on top.  

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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