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“Do’s” and “Don’ts” of an Estate Sale

 Posted by Jodie Anderson on November 3, 2014 at 6:24 PM

“Do’s” and “Don’ts” of an Estate Sale

One of the challenges consumers face when moving to a smaller space is trying to determine what to do with their downsized possessions.  Today there are more options than ever, including charitable donations, live auctions, online auction sites, tag sales, traditional garage sales and Estate Sales.

For people who have a fair amount of valuable inventory but not a lot of time, an Estate Sale can be a very positive experience.  Estate Sales are run by professionals, who, for an administrative fee and/or a percent of total sales, manage everything for you, including decluttering, home inventory, heavy lifting, pricing, advertising, marketing, and set up. After the sale, qualified experts such as Caring Transitions can also help with move management or help organize clean up, donations, transport or shipping and reconciliation of sales receipts.

DO follow these guidelines

  • Ask for references from any company you employ. You may even want to attend another sale they are holding and see how smoothly it runs. Always use a professional company who is in the business of running Estate Sales.
  • Ask if the company carries liability insurance for business operations and the merchandise they sell, as well as personal injury liability coverage and importantly, workers compensation for employees.
  • Hire the specialist you feel you can trust and discuss payment methods before the contract is signed. Some specialists charge an administrative fee or “minimum” to prepare the sale and others include those same fees in their commissions.
  • Understand that choosing a lower commission percentage does not necessarily mean you will make more money. A skilled professional, with a list of buyers, may make you more money even while charging a higher percentage.
  • Understand it can take days or even a couple weeks to prepare for a sale. Preparation includes, sorting, cleaning, pricing, tagging, merchandising the sale, advertising, arranging for labor and security and selling.
  • Be sure you receive an itemized list of the items in the sale and items sold, after the sale.
  • Discuss the specialist’s process for turning over hidden valuables or personal items found during the sorting process.
  • Allow the specialist to clean the items. Some items are delicate and cleaning may result in damage to valuables.
  • Understand that age does not always equal value in an item. Authenticity is the true guide to value and the item also has to hold its value in today’s market. Your specialist has many resources to help them determine value of special items.
  • Be sure to reserve the items your family wishes to keep and make sure everyone has a list of those items so they are not included in the sale or sales contract.
  • DON’T allow inexperienced or unprofessional people run your sale. This rarely, if ever, produces optimal results and may cost more in the long run as they will have to purchase materials and displays, buy extra advertising, purchase signage and take the time to research prices. The result is usually something like a failed garage sale, leaving you with a lot of unsold items and very little to show for the items that did sell.
  • DON’T be discouraged if an Estate Sale isn’t right for you! Caring Transitions can offer many options to help liquidate, sell, and auction your belongings!

You may also like: Decluttering: Let it Go!

Decluttering: How to “Let it Go!”

 Posted by Jodie Anderson on October 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Decluttering: How to “Let it Go!”

At Caring Transitions, we believe “Rightsizing is the art of downsizing with a purpose™”

When you “rightsize” before you move to a new residence, your entire move will progress more smoothly. Your new home will be less cluttered and your current home is more likely to sell.

The point of Rightsizing is to create a new living environment that reflects a meaningful, comfortable lifestyle for the years ahead. Personal possessions that have purpose and meaning are honored and preserved for the new home, while those that have lost their purpose or meaning are respectfully disposed of via sale or donation.

The steps to effective Rightsizing are as follows:

  • Determine the space requirements (via floor plan) for the new residence.
  • Decide what items are actually NEEDED for living safely or comfortably. This includes necessary items such as a bed, place for clothes, eating utensils, and so forth.
  • Add items that we LOVE to the space plan. These are meaningful items that define us as individuals.
  • Choose from what we WANT from the remaining possessions and decide which are most important. Make sure they will fit into the space plan.
  • Review and revise the space plan as necessary.
  • Establish action for selling items of monetary value, gifting those of sentimental value, then donating or disposing of the rest.

The following is a list of items to typically “let go” when you are Rightsizing.

  • Dispose of broken, outdated electronics
  • Reduce items that have too many “multiples.” For example, if you have four 1-quart casserole dishes, release 3. If you have 6 umbrellas, release 4. If you have 3 pair of worn out red wool gloves, you may choose to release them all!
  • Get rid of things that belong to others. For instance, your 40-year old son’s high school project or the heirloom desk you agreed to store for your cousin…10 years ago.
  • Release items you have kept out of guilt or fear. For example, you may have that box of multi-colored knitted scarves that you never wore, but your grandma made, so you just cannot bring yourself to let them go. Now is the time.  Or perhaps you are afraid your neighbor will notice the ant-shaped napkin holder she gave you 15 years ago is now included in the garage sale. In that situation you may wish to donate it instead, but either way, let it go.
  • Finally, donate all the cloths, shoes and coats that never fit, don’t fit or have simply been taking up space for years.
  • Find out of that “special collection” was really worth all the time and energy you once put into it and place it on the market.
  • Sort the linen closet and get rid of everything that doesn’t match, is worn or stained.
  • Give up the many books and magazines that you haven’ read in ages.  In most cases you can rely on digital options or the good old-fashioned library if you ever really wish to read them again.
  • Dump your outdated spices.
  • Do the same with all that accumulated junk mail or newspaper and magazine clippings. Again, the internet provides easy access to all of that information should you ever decide you need it.
  • Find safe outlets for your outdated medications and over the counter products. Most police stations and pharmacies sponsor “take-back” programs.
  • If moving to an apartment or condo, it’s time to sell or donate your lawn , garden and home maintenance items
  • Dump the entire contents of the “junk drawer” (none of it is worth paying a mover to move it!). Keep the car keys and money of course!
  • Reduce your inventory of seasonal décor items.  Try to keep only those that are space efficient or have tremendous sentimental value.

Sometimes “rightsizing” is easier said than done and in those instances, our professional staff is here to help; coast to coast!

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