What to do with all your stuff can be the hardest part of downsizing. When you have exhausted donations to family and friends, estate sales can help. There are many ways to hold estate sales, and I have worked with different types over the years but I was recently introduced to Estate Smart and have been impressed.
Live auctions and more traditional estate sales can work well for large estates with high end items, but many estate sale companies don’t want to deal with smaller, more modest households.
Unlike garage-sale-like estate sales, Estate Smart uses a two-prong approach. They first photograph representative pieces they feel will bring active bidders and have an online auction with published starting bids for 10-14 days for those pieces. They then have a scheduled pickup date for all sold pieces to coordinate with a house sale of other items for several hours that same day.
We have a client who had their pickup day/house sale last week. They let people into the house in controlled numbers to select items of interest throughout the house. Nothing was priced ahead of time… they negotiated sale prices of the items after buyers had collected their treasures. The sale was open only 4 hours, bringing more buyers at the same time and giving them a greater sense of urgency.
It makes so much sense… time isn’t wasted pricing everything, and items often can be sold for higher prices when the people buying them are seriously interested in them. When items are sold in lots people may be more likely to buy more items. It was fun seeing the ‘thrill of the chase’ with buyers coming in and out as they built their pile of ‘finds’.
Of course there were items left at the end of the day as there always are, but it was a good day. (This seller said she measured the success not by how much money they made but by how much stuff was gone!)
I have been impressed with how knowledgeable the Estate Smart people are and how easy they are to work with. I have another client having an estate sale with them coming up in September.