My 2 Cents On Stuff

A column about letting go by Michelle Passoff of Free From Clutter Estate Sales - Jun 13, 2012

Estate Sale Companies Can Offer Solutions Even If You Think You Can’t Have A Sale

Do you live in a gated community that has deemed your neighborhood a ‘no estate sales’ zone?

Do you have a condominium in an assisted-living facility to vacate?  Perhaps you are skittish about having the public traipse through your mansion? Is your location too remote for a sale? Or maybe you are simply crammed for time and short on patience.  Can you still call on an estate sale company for their help?  In short, the answer is ‘yes’.  My two cents is that no two estate sale companies are alike.  So, with open mind and ears, make a survey of the companies in your area, assess the unique talents and solutions of each, and then decide. Let them get into action.

Our company, Free From Clutter Estate Sales in Tampa, Florida, is located in a region rich with auction houses.  So, when there is merchandise in a home with valuables, we operate somewhat like a traffic cop to accomplish a clean out when a sale is not possible.  We may direct some items to a fancy auction, others to an auction specializing in a certain style of antique, a third auction that carries contemporary items, and yet another auction which sells anything and everything including mostly small, and inexpensive items such as housewares. Alternatively, we do what we call a buyers/not browsers by-appointment-only sale.  Shoppers can browse for what they want online and then come to pick up their items during the ‘so-called sale days’ at scheduled times.  The number of shoppers at a single sale is less, but the per ticket sales are higher than at standard sales.

Tana Scouras of ConsignWorks, Inc., the largest estate sale company in New England, estimates that 50 per cent of the time she has to get her creative juices flowing to come up with solutions to respond to various circumstances which prevent your standard set it up, price it, market it and let it flow kind of a sale. “We had to relocate the entire contents of a home to a storefront once.  And, on another occasion, the client didn’t want people in their home so we pitched a tent in the yard and also used the garage and pool area for the sale,” said Scouras  And, Scouras hasn’t let the board of an over-55 and gated community stop her!  She just responded to the community board’s concerns about security and traffic by hiring a couple of cops during the sale to overturn their resistance. And, if all else fails and there are not enough items for a full sale, Scouras places items in her storefront consignment shop and draws as much attention for them online as on the street.

Cory Crites of DFW Estate Liquidators based in Fort Worth, Texas, also says that 50 per cent of the time he offers his unique solution to clients wanting or needing an alternative to a traditional estate sale: buy outs.  “We evaluate the items and give our clients cash right there if that is what they want,” he says, “There are not many companies that do that.”

It is par for the course to get creative and come up with solutions to client’s needs when you know the tools of the trade and have a network of resources to get the job done. But to start from scratch on your own and accumulate years of knowledge about the lay of the land in a matter of days or months, may be more than what you single-handedly want to embrace.  If that is the case, use estatesales.org as a starting point for your research.  Listen, learn, take notes, and set a deadline for your decision-making.  Once the strategy is set, it is a no-sweat proposition to just let the experts do their job and hand over a check to you when it is all done!

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