Estate Sale: It’s Just Stuff
Just three months ago, we were asking ourselves, “How are we going to sell all this stuff?” “What do we sell?” We know we can’t take all of it with us; after all, we are moving into a 36 foot RV. Also, we know we do not want to store stuff that we will not use at a future down-sized home. This is one more step as we Turn the Page!
Types of Stuff
After multiple moves, jobs, hobbies, raising a family and many years, different types of stuff accumulate; bikes, boats, lego blocks, photos, plates, paper, paint, furniture, kitchen gadgets, tools, books, lumber; just look around. Ahhhhh! Most of this stuff needs to disappear. There are four solutions: sell, donate, throw away and store. All solutions will be used by the the CajunTrippers, but this post will focus on the sell option.
The Sell Options: Which one to select?
The emotional aspects of letting stuff go are described in a prior post “Emotional Connections to Material Possessions”. But, this post will address the facts related to selling material possessions.
There are two obvious sell options; have a garage sale, or sell items individually through ads, Facebook, eBay, etc. There are several reasons that make both options a poor fit for our plans.
- Garage sales do not generate enough money to be fair to the seller.
- We own to much stuff to set-up a garage sale or sales.
- Selling items individually will take a long time.
- Selling items individually is a lot of work; involve multiple phone calls, multiple negotiations, scribbled notes, tracking who agreed to what.
There is another option. The third option we discovered and selected is the estate sale. After many discussions, phone calls to estate sale companies and research, we decided to sign a contract with Caring Transitions to conduct our estate sale for much of our personal possessions. An estate sale is the best fit for our lifestyle change for a number of reasons.
- This type of sale will generate the most money.
- Estate sale professionals know the market and buyer wants and needs.
- Estate sale professionals do all of the work related to the sales.
- As a seller, the only responsibility is to decide what to sell.
Two Estate Sale Types
There are two estate sale types. One is the typical estate sale where purchasers arrive at the location, browse and purchase items as if at a store. The other type is an online estate auction. Items are displayed online and an auction is set with a predetermined start, end and pick-up date. Below is a brief description about each.
Traditional estate sale
The goal for a traditional estate sale is to maximize dollars made, but sell all items. Many traditional estate sales last three days and are open to the general public. On the first day of the sale, items are priced at a fair value to the seller and the buyer. On the second day, remaining item prices are reduced to encourage further sales; prices can be 50% of the first day sales price. On the third day, the prices are reduced further and may be negotiable. Remember, the goal of this traditional estate sale is to maximize dollars made, but sell everything.
Online estate auction
The goal for an online estate auction is to sell all identified items. Less valuable items (less than $20) that are not included in the auction are offered for sale to the winning bidders on the pick-up day. The benefit of this type of estate sale versus the traditional estate sale; an online auction will generate more money, and only the winning bidders arrive at the location for a specified date and time period.
The Final Selection
We decided to sell our possessions through an online estate auction with Caring Transitions. The local franchise owner and staff were professional, very helpful, and did a great job balancing our needs and the winning bidder needs.
Although this post focuses on the factual aspects of selling material possession, I can not end this post without mentioning this final thought; others do not value your possessions as much as you do! Online bidders and estate sale purchasers are looking for a win. Be prepared to sell many items at a third of the original purchase price, or less. An estate sale is not about making money; it is about getting rid of stuff; the money is a secondary goal. I know, this prior statement is difficult to accept. We also continue to struggle with this concept as we move forward. But, today, the bidder pick-up day, Tricia and I sit on our swing under the oak tree, smiling, as we watched the clutter, and yes, some personal items leave our lives. By the way, the swing that we are sitting on is NFS (Not for Sale). It was built 24 years ago by Uncle Gene, my best-man at our wedding.