Updated: May 23, 2020
So here you are, stuck at home and spring cleaning. Do you find yourself downsizing, decluttering and re-organizing? Getting caught up with all those household projects? Yeah, I am talking to you Type A’s and not you Type B, Netflix binging, sofa surfers. Today’s blog is about, now what? You got all these things left over to sell, toss or worse, store in the garage, attic, basement or unit. I say sell it! We could all use a few bucks right now, that’s for sure.
So, let’s just talk about selling. In today’s world, you have several options and most likely don’t know what’s best for you. Do you know you? Are you a control freak, micro manager? Do you not want to be bothered and lets someone else do it? Is you time more valuable then stressing about it? As with anything, if you are educated, you’ll make a much better decision.
I will discuss several methods; my personal favorite has always been auction, but I do believe they all have their merits. These are my opinions and I have friends in these industries so no offense to any of you who disagree with me. Heck, most of you probably think I am idiot already, and that’s okay. Opinions are like Chia Pets; I don’t want one and certainly not yours. (Honestly, I do value all my readers opinions…that was just an attempt at creating a new catch phrase. And to see if you are actually reading this.) Let’s get started….
The Yard Sale (Do it yourself.)
Garage Sale, Yard Sale, Tag Sale, no matter what you call it, this is a great way to sell that home overflow. Downsizers like it. Control freaks like it. Outgoing extroverts like it. You get to talk to everyone! You get to price everything at what you think is fair. If it’s your house, and your stuff, I see nothing wrong with it. Where I stress caution is when you are doing it for an estate or helping a parent or grandparent. What you see as yard sale junk, might be the holy grail. I used to make a very good living yard sailing. Buying something for $5 and selling in a few days on eBay for $500. And I know an entire subculture of people that do this for a living. Feasting your lack of knowledge. Again, if it’s your old skis, clothes, gym equipment, etc. No Worries. Mom’s mom’s dolls, dad’s old cameras or stereo system, be careful. Ask your friends and try to get an expert just to have a look before you put it out. I’ve discussed this earlier in the book but want to be clear. Be careful please. I got a YouTube channel, other articles and a book with plenty of horror stories if you want to go down that wormhole.
eBay, Craigslist and the Gang (A little help with marketing.)
As I said earlier, I used to make a living selling on eBay. It was a wonderful, fun way to sell things and downsizers liked it too. As they moved away from the strictly auction thing and buy-it now was introduced, again you can name your price like a yard sale with a much larger audience, I personally feel like they lost something. Craigslist, Offer Up, Etsy and Facebook Marketplace have similar functions. Amazon too. I liked the old eBay for the fact that, if you didn’t know what you had, the auction method of bidding would sniff out your lack of knowledge and generally solve it with crazy high bids. Basically, a few collector experts would bid against each other and show you what the fair market “real value” was. A flat price doesn’t do that. Companies like eBid still do this method and a lot of sellers have moved to platforms like this. However, eBay does let you search Sold Items record so you can educate yourself to the asking price if you go with the flat price method. If that kind of research floats your boat, I have a bunch of free resource links, all in one place, on my site. All these online platforms have their merits, simply the vast buyer base for you to expose your items too, makes it a great avenue.
Just to touch on Craigslist horror stories. I know they are scary, but I think many become urban legend. It’s been good for many to sell tools, furniture, workout equipment, cars. There are craigslist tire kickers, as I call them. Just answering ads, to really see what else you have, and might be selling and “unknowledgeable” about so they get a deal. This means, you post a boat for sale and they come over and try to buy your silver flatware set or mother jewelry. You get the analogy.
Estate Sale Companies (The Professionals)
These companies generally employ experts to price your things and can handle everything for you. From the staging, to the valuations, staffing the sale days, to the clean-out and removal. Many are turn key, you don’t have to do a thing but get out of the way. Based on your market, many are a terrific solution and you can get referrals from past clients, etc. I have some links on my site to find them and see reviews as well. EstateSales.net and .org have a ton of them so you can see what they do or have done in the past. I find for high-end art, antiques and unique items; the next method is better. With an estate sale, its scheduled generally over a weekend beginning Friday, continuing Saturday and then many in our area have ½ price Sunday. Many have a clause in the contract that whatever doesn’t sell they will remove and donate or negotiate a lump sum buyout of the balance of goods. Great thing if you want an empty house to list. Real Estate Agents often refer Estate Sale Companies for just this reason. Again, I do love this method but if you got something crazy….
The Auction Method (The Fair Market)
The auction method, when executed properly, I feel is the best method of selling on the secondary market overall, hands down. What do I mean by properly? Again, my opinion, is to catalog everything, list all items with photos on the internet for advertising and bidding and invite the entire world to the offerings. At the end of the day, or auction, overall price realized should be the fair market value of the goods. Some prices will be soft, some will be crazy, but will average out and better yet, everything should be liquidated. The high-end and unique items when exposed to the world for bidding will garner the attention and bidders they deserve. People have comfort with Estate Sales in regard to that dreaded furniture as they can put a price tag on it and may even sell a few pieces, but what they lose in possible control of furniture and other large items, they lose on the valuable smalls, and collectibles that must be priced to sell that weekend for wholesale prices. Many estate sales must cater to dealers to make sure everything moves. That said, so do auctions. Your market really matters here. I am just auction biased and must admit, I have recommended customers use Estate Companies when the circumstances for success look better for them.
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