I received a call from a fellow who peaked our interest in conducting an estate sale for him with his tale that he wanted to sell his $12,000 piano, big leather couches, and brand new washing machine and dryer. These weren’t the only items he said he did not want to haul in a move to another state for a second-career education, but they were an attractive draw to any sale with tempting price tags and a promise of profits. No sooner did we walk in the door of his home than he proclaimed that he had a change of heart about selling his piano. Next, he told us his buddy laid claim to the leather couches for a nice price. And, a co-worker offered an irresistible amount of cash for his washer/dryer. You don’t have to have a PhD to guess what happened to our enthusiasm to conduct an estate sale for this prospect.
If you parcel out your items to buyers before you seek to retain an estate sale company it appears as if you will make a few extra bucks because you don’t have to pay a commission. But, it is penny wise and pound foolish. Not only will you cannibalize your sale, you run the risk that your best estate sale companies won’t even want to work for you.
On the East Coast, Kim Rau from Estate Wizard in Emmaus, PA, makes the point that many clients might not know the value of an item and they lose money because they under price it. She recounted that in preparing for one sale she went to the back of a dusty barn where she found a pile of trays, most of which had no real value. But, two of the trays were appraised at $425.00 each. “Without the help of a professional, this could have been missed,” said Rau.
Rau continued, “An estate sale is really about volume. If someone comes for furniture, they might buy something else. If they come for tools, something else can catch their eyes. If you pull items, you don’t have a sale. I recently had to turn down a sale because before we knew it the patio furniture and china were gone.”
Out West, Victoria Prieto of All Treasured Estate Sales in Englewood, Colorado echoes the sentiment that prospective clients should not sell any property before having an estate sale company come to provide a free evaluation. She says, “The better the items, and the more of them – that is how we get the buyers in. Beside, the less stuff, the higher commission we have to charge. After all, we have to make enough to pay our employees and make a profit too. And, I often sell things at a better price than my client would. Even with our commission the client will make more money than if they sell it themselves.”
Chet Nine of Nine Estate Sales, Kansas City, Kansas, commented, “People try to sell things on their own all the time, but they really should make a decision whether to use an estate sale company or do it on your own. If you sell all the big-ticket items that make a good ad, you end up with a sale where you are selling a lot of pots and pans. I make it as easy as possible for people. It takes a load of worries off and eliminates a lot of headaches to hire an estate sale company. Besides, you can take advantage of an estate sale company’s database of customers.”
“My two cents” is that when it comes to an estate sale, the more you have to sell the merrier the sale it will be. Decide affirmatively if you are going to sell your items on your own or you are going to retain an estate sale company to do it. But, don’t do a little of this or a little of that because you make your sale less attractive, give yourself more headaches than you probably want, and in the end reduce your profit.
In addition to operating FREE FROM CLUTTER ESTATE SALES (www.freefromclutter.com) in Tampa, Florida, with her husband, Andre Kupfermunz, Michelle Passoff is the author of LIGHTEN UP! Free Yourself From Clutter (HarperPerennial). When she is not running an estate sale, Michelle is a clutter consultant and national and international public speaker. She can be reached at 813-453-1944 and firstname.lastname@example.org
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