Author Topic: Estate sale  (Read 6786 times)

geekette

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Estate sale
« on: March 31, 2014, 06:09:29 PM »
I saw mention in another thread that estate sales are a rip off (for the seller).  Not sure what the alternative is, in our situation.

My FIL died recently, and my husband is the executor.  The house is located in a small town about an hour and a half from here.  He has a large shop building and a couple metal buildings holding a lot of stuff, mostly old car bodies and parts (Model A and model T, plus some mid 60's Chevy) and tools (both hand tools and big stuff).  There's some interesting stuff in the house (an old pump organ, pottery)

I can't imagine cataloging, photographing, and listing all that on ebay, then having to drive down there whenever something sells.  I've heard that estate auction guys charge a lot (a percentage?  how high?), but don't they do all that work for you? Plus advertise to get the right people interested?

Anyone have any direct experience? hints?

brewer12345

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 07:00:47 PM »
Value is in the eye of the beholder.

When a good friend's grandmother passed away in a smallish PA town, her house was crammed with antiques and the house itself needed to be sold.  Faced with a daunting task to deal with all that stuff, her parents hired an auctioneer.  The auctioneer gets paid well for their services, but a good one is IMO worth it.  They dealt with all the stuff, advertised, and were even able to advise on the value of the random stuff accumulated in the house.  Are you an expert in the value of model T parts?  Me neither.  My friend's parents were impressed enough that they worked for the auctioneer for a while afterward.  Shop around and get a good auctioneer.  The alternative is hundreds of hours of work and possibly a worse outcome.

lizzzi

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 07:11:34 PM »
We've used an auctioneer, and been satisfied. My mother did the same thing when she needed to empty an old family house, (in a different state) and was also happy with the services. I could not even imagine trying to price all that stuff and sell it privately through a yard sale or something like that. What a pain--and I wouldn't know what to charge.

Nords

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 10:28:59 PM »
I can't imagine cataloging, photographing, and listing all that on ebay, then having to drive down there whenever something sells.  I've heard that estate auction guys charge a lot (a percentage?  how high?), but don't they do all that work for you? Plus advertise to get the right people interested?
Anyone have any direct experience? hints?
When my mother died in 1987, my father downsized via an estate sale.  He didn't want any of the stuff in the house, but he just couldn't handle the memories whenever he tried to get it ready for sale.

He got a great deal from the auction house and the sale was a sellout.  He also had the house on the market, so while people were looking at the lots for the estate sale he was also having a huge open house.  I think the house sold a few weeks after the estate sale, so that was another substantial savings.

Cassie

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 11:26:56 PM »
When my Mom died in the midwest I did not have any more vacation time left having used it up to visit her before she died. My siblings who lived there were not willing to do the work to sell things.  I would have flown out & handled it but had no time left. The estate sale people totally ripped them off. Charged a fortune to pack it to sell at auction & claimed that for instance a beautiful solid cherry wood bedroom set only went for $25.00.   When everything was said & done very little $ was left.

bacchi

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2014, 01:10:30 AM »
I'm dealing with an estate right now. The estate sellers sent us a bill! We would have done better with making up prices for a garage sale and using a trash hauling service for what was left.

It's probably one of those fields that attracts a lot of unscrupulous business people. Unfortunately, we found one.

Argyle

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2014, 01:30:37 AM »
I'm sure there are unscrupulous sellers, but having tried to deal with a large estate on my own, I would pay someone a considerable amount not to have to do that again.  Years off my life!  Literally it took more than a year of hard work to dispose of everything.  And I know that after shows like Antiques Roadshow, many people have very inflated ideas of how much their old stuff is worth.  The sellers have more realistic ideas.  It benefits them to sell for high prices, but they won't price higher than they can sell.  I'd say keep an eye on things, obviously, but also a good estate seller is worth their weight in gold.

GoldenStache

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2014, 07:23:56 AM »
Do you care about the net outcome or do you just want to get rid of the stuff?

If you just want to get rid of everything:
Hire an auctioneer, not sure if rasmus.com is in your area but they are a big online one that gets a much higher price than a local guy would in a small town. (They have a free evaulation that you might consider)  The prices actually go so high now that I no longer check the site.

If you are trying to get as much out of it as possible and willing to do some work:
I would recommend spending a few weekends and try selling off the big stuff yourself and then use an auctioneer for the small stuff.  The going rate is usually around 50%, so it does not take long at all to make it worthwhile.  If you live in a much larger area you could load up a uhaul and take it to a big flea market and sell off the things that are fast movers:tools, old furniture and anything old that could be hung on a wall (not old paintings though).   The big stuff (pump organ, car parts) go out and take pictures of everything and post a few ads on craigslist in your area to see if you have any takers.  Set a price, and if you get a ton of emails, remove the ad and put it up a week later with a higher price or just state in the ad to make your best offer.  You can always contact the emails you got off the first posting.

Nords

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2014, 04:25:59 PM »
Set a price, and if you get a ton of emails, remove the ad and put it up a week later with a higher price or just state in the ad to make your best offer.  You can always contact the emails you got off the first posting.
When a Craigslist seller doesn't communicate with me on the first attempt-- even just to let me know that they've had a ton of e-mails-- then I move on.  And if they contacted me a week later with a higher price then I wouldn't buy from them.

That tactic probably works well in a big town.  On a small island or in a small town, though...

Zamboni

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2014, 05:22:45 PM »
^To prevent that you can put a reserve on the item.  If the highest bid doesn't meet that, then the seller keeps it.  Probably a good idea for valuable items.

My Dad had awesome luck with two ladies who dubbed themselves "the yardsale ladies."  Granted, he was dealing with a relative's house that was pretty much completely hoarded; not garbage, but just lots and lots (and lots) of stuff piled on other stuff.)  After working on it every weekend for a month, he hadn't even made much of a dent in one room.  He does live in a decent sized metro area, and there are several estate sale companies, so he went based upon a recommendation of a friend.  He wanted it all gone, and that's what the accomplished (including the mailbox hanging outside the house.)  He was extremely please to get a big check as well.

I just looked to see if Angie's list had any of these services listed in my area.  There appears to be one that is highly rated with pretty detailed customer testimonials.  I've had good luck using Angie's list for other services, so if there are enough positive reviews I would trust that the company was legit. 

geekette

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2014, 10:26:46 PM »
Money's not all that important to either my husband or his sister.  It's not going to be a lot, but they don't want to be ripped off, of course.  Who does.

Looks like you have to join Angie's List to even see if there are any listings for estate sales companies.  Small town, but I guess estate sales people would come from Southern Pines.  I don't suppose you can search outside your area, can you?



electriceagle

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2014, 07:21:18 AM »
Can you hire a local high school or college student to catalogue the items and post them on ebay? Perhaps you can motivate them by offering a percentage of revenue (minus returns).

Zamboni

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2014, 02:00:48 PM »
^^Angie's list is great if you need a plumber or a roofer, etc.  If they are not professional by returning calls, turning up on time, etc., then they will get severely dinged.  Anyone with an A+ rating is not only dependable, but probably also reasonably priced.  They also have "BIG DEAL" promotions where companies sell services at 50% off or more (usually during their off season to drum up some business.)  I've used these to great effect.

Like you, I don't like to pay for anything, and I was skeptical, but the fabulous and cheap plumber and roofer I found have more than paid for the yearly subscription for the rest of my life (based upon savings over other estimates I got before signing up.)

Here's an A-rated one in your area (disclaimer:  I do not know anything about this company and therefore cannot give a personal recommendation.  The A-rating is based on Angie's list)
Blue Moon Estate Sales
Ken Blue
146 country Mill Way
Fuquay Varina NC 27526 (Map it)
(919) 619-8007
www.bluemoonestatesalesusa.com

Good luck!

CommonCents

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2014, 03:10:04 PM »
Set a price, and if you get a ton of emails, remove the ad and put it up a week later with a higher price or just state in the ad to make your best offer.  You can always contact the emails you got off the first posting.
When a Craigslist seller doesn't communicate with me on the first attempt-- even just to let me know that they've had a ton of e-mails-- then I move on.  And if they contacted me a week later with a higher price then I wouldn't buy from them.

That tactic probably works well in a big town.  On a small island or in a small town, though...

Yeah, I would recommend instead at least writing each person back to say you had incredible interest in it, with X offers.  You are reaching out to everyone to ask if they'd like to increase their offer, and you will select one by X date.  I wouldn't just ignore and repost - I live in a big town and I wouldn't be interested in it the next time.

geekette

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Re: Estate sale
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2014, 03:45:51 PM »
Thanks for the info, Zamboni!

I'm starting to think, though, that a typical estate sale may not be what we need, since they all seem to specialize in antiques, but no mention of antique automobiles

It'll all work out eventually, though.