Best way to sell house contents

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novembre
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Best way to sell house contents

Post by novembre » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:33 pm

We are downsizing, moving from a largish house to a retirement community. We won’t be able to take more than about 25% of our (good quality) furniture and other stuff (China, pictures, rugs, etc). So what’s the best way to dispose of it? Garage sales seem to have gone out of favor in our area, and I’m a little leery of Craig’s list. So can anyone suggest what we might do with all this stuff?
I know we could donate it all, but this cash would go a long way towards our moving and relocation expenses, which will be substantial.

Thanks for any ideas.

Nov

jucor
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by jucor » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:40 pm

Contact an estate sale company or two in your area. Most of them will do a "living estate sale," and the good ones will draw a crowd, assuming you have a reasonable volume of decent/interesting items. Another option might be a local auction house.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:47 pm

Check estatesales.net and your zip code to get a list of companies.

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dm200
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by dm200 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:48 pm

jucor wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:40 pm
Contact an estate sale company or two in your area. Most of them will do a "living estate sale," and the good ones will draw a crowd, assuming you have a reasonable volume of decent/interesting items. Another option might be a local auction house.
Also, contact one of these house cleanout companies as well. While your situation is completely different, I know that these hoarder/cleanout companies do sell things of value somewhere to someone.

I assume you are selling the house. If so, might some of this furniture be offered to the buyer?

RudyS
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by RudyS » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:06 pm

We are in same situation as OP. We plan to have an estate sale company sell what will remain in the house after we move. There is a company in our area that helps orchestrate such downsizing, from (living) estate sale to packing stuff to finding movers to helping set up the new place (if it's in the area). Meanwhile, I'm using Craigslist (never had any problems) and eBay, and checking with the kids to see what they might want (turns out, not much).

ResearchMed
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:16 pm

We used an "elder moving service" to help MIL when she moved cross country to an assisted living facility near us.

They helped with everything from arranging for moving the things she wanted (and they did and supervised all packing as well), plus getting second-hand shops and estate shops(for nicer things) to come in with estimates.
Then they arranged for charity donations (with receipts), and then hauling everything else away, plus "broom clean" for buyers after MIL left.

DH only had to spend about a week going through her papers there, plus visits to banks, etc., and the safe deposit box, etc.
That was difficult enough (mostly emotionally), and it was a pleasure having the help, plus "someone else" who was a professional at this, including some social work/psych training for MIL. "That's what they do".

In this case, we also had a similar service near us to "unpack everything" to MIL's approval :shock:

They made everything so much easier, especially the "pre-move" services.

RM
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rocket354
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by rocket354 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:16 pm

I've used Craigslist a heck of a lot in various locations without ever having a problem. The biggest issue is for less expensive items (< $50) you may get a lot of flakes. CL is the first place I go to whenever I have something to sell, from a used printer to a car.

michaeljc70
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:05 pm

We have been going through this with my Grandfather passing away recently. I don't know what kind of stuff you have, but people don't want to pay much for anything used. If you have well known, desirable furniture, you might have some luck. I am talking Baker, Henredon, Steinway piano, etc. Otherwise, people want things for pennies on the dollar.

We had an estate sale and used Craigslist, but to be honest, it wasn't worth the time or effort for what it yielded.

Giving away what you can to friends/family members that can use it is what we did first.

mega317
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by mega317 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:16 am

If you itemize and the furniture isn't extraordinarily desirable you might consider donating. They will often come and pick it up. You don't have to worry about the hassle of craiglist. I had goodwill come get some decent furniture left in the garage by previous owners. I will probably claim the low end on the value guide--hassle-free 50 bucks.

OneWorld111
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by OneWorld111 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:23 am

Nextdoor.com has gained popularity pretty fast and should be in your mix while selling.. Recently used for selling used TV, Couch, etc..

3dream3
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by 3dream3 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:37 am

OneWorld111 wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:23 am
Nextdoor.com has gained popularity pretty fast and should be in your mix while selling.. Recently used for selling used TV, Couch, etc..
I agree... Nextdoor has become pretty popular around here too. I had a neighbor that was also downsizing and he was able to sell most of the big stuff through this and for items that he just wanted to get rid of... he just said it was free.

Dead Man Walking
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by Dead Man Walking » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:04 am

When my mother died, I used a local auction house. They picked up the stuff and sold it at their facility. I received a percentage of the proceeds. Worked well for me. I got more than I thought I would for some of the household items.

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denovo
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by denovo » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:23 am

Unless you have very expensive stuff, maybe an estate at least worth 50k of furnishings or more, I doubt an estate sales rep. would be interested in you. I don't think there's anything wrong with CraigsList, just trust your gut when it comes to uncomfortable situations.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:35 am

Yard sales are still an excellent way to dispose of stuff. You're not paying commission to an estate sale company who does this for a living. The hard core yard sale buyers have likely come and gone before you get up on a weekend, so where you think that these sales are out of favor, it's just that the looky-loos who buy nothing aren't roaming around aimlessly as much.

Remember that the goal is to get rid of stuff. If you find yourself negotiating with someone, just stop. Take their first low offer and if you want to make the best of it, if they've looked at anything, include that for close to nothing more. I've used this strategy forever and find that the prices average out, where things that are going into the dumpster, isn't it better that someone pays you a quarter for something? When my grandmother passed, we held a yard sale with a big sign saying that any full box of stuff was $5 until noon, then $1. We got rid of a good 30 yards of crap then filled a dumpster.

Craigslist will get rid of more. Don't list reasonable prices, list unbelievably low prices. You have to remember that you're not trying to maximize income here, you're trying to avoid paying to have stuff taken away. People will buy absolutely anything. An example......I have 3 UPS supplies and 2 monitors I want to get rid of. None of these are big dollar items on craigslist. I listed everything for a total of $20 and now craigslisters are crawling over each other to buy them.
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michaeljc70
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:40 am

Craigslist will most likely be a long, drawn out process. There are a lot of flakes that say they are coming and how bad they want something (they may have not even seen). They want everything cheap. I had a newer coffee table that was $1k. I moved and didn't need it anymore. Perfect condition. I listed it for $250. Inquiry after inquiry. Most didn't show up. Finally someone wanted to give me $100. I just gave it to a friend in aggravation.

Caduceus
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by Caduceus » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:45 pm

I think you should just focus on the high value items and donate the rest. When I moved, I had a similar obsession with recovering every last dollar from my possessions and it was not worth it. If you have items like antique furniture, a piano, solid wood shelves, etc., I would discount them aggressively (maybe 30% of what their used price would be), and get rid of them asap. If you mull around trying to get the best price for everything, it will be stressful and it will take forever.

Books are easy. Check the used price on Amazon marketplace. Most of them are under a dollar. If your book can only sell for less than a $1 on marketplace, just donate or recycle it. Some specialized books (non-fiction, or textbooks) you can get more for. Those you should discount aggressively and make sure you are the lowest priced seller on Amazon marketplace. You'll probably get a buyer in less than a month.

p14175
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by p14175 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:55 pm

We recently downsized, but not by much 1600 sq ft plus a packed workshop to 1200 sq ft and a slightly smaller pole barn. We moved from the Phoenix AZ area to southeast AZ, about 200 miles one way. My husband, being an Army and Air Force brat needed to take almost every he acquired since childhood (yes, he's a 'collector'). It made it very difficult to move. We had 3 professional moving contracts, my husband organized a mini-workshop move with some friends that amounted to three overloaded truck-trailer combos, and I think we each made 5-6 trips with the biggest U-Haul trailers we could get. We managed to get it done in 2 months. I don't know how -- really. On top of that the insurance company didn't want us to leave our home (the one for sale) unoccupied, so we were taking turns moving stuff and we had to take care of the yard as well (no HOA, but we felt it was the right thing to do).

Anyway we used the 'love it' or 'toss it' rule. A lot of stuff went to thrift stores and we sold high dollar stuff on Craigslist. We also used Craigslist Free to get rid of stuff. My sister, a garage sale junkie, helped out with pricing. We had a metal salvager come by and get engine parts and scrap metal we didn't want to move. A friend working on building a machine shop for his son helped out by taking tools, machines, cars, and firewood we didn't want. We still ended up bringing too much stuff along.

Overall, we did pretty good with selling. It covered the cost of a lot of the moving expenses. I think we spent about $5500, but $4000 of that was professional movers. And the professional movers cut their estimates in almost in half because we did a great job packing and staging. We sold about $3000 worth of stuff on Craigslist and word-of-mouth.

It's been a month since the move and we still feeling a bit of the stress, but it's going away.

Some handy hints:

Trying to sell stuff and move at the same time is a pain. Try to do your selling ahead of time.

If you use a mover, try to use the same size boxes as much as possible. That way they can more efficiently pack their truck and unload it at the final destination. You'll save money. Also stage the boxes and furniture that you want them to move. Don't make them wait on you for anything.

Look for people giving away moving boxes and wrapping material, especially wrapping material. If they used U-haul, U-line, or big box store moving boxes your job will be easier.

Wardrobe boxes are great for packing awkward stuff. My husband packed dozens of little boxes of parts and nuts bolts. The movers took them all and packed them in a wardrobe box. It was really heavy, but they moved all of it at once.

Make sure you mark the boxes so you know what the contents are. We are still missing a few items we don't want to have to replace.

knightrider
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by knightrider » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:03 pm

Not sure if it was already mentioned, but try Facebook marketplace. It is getting more popular and rivals craigslist in my greater NY area. It is easier to post something ( fewer forms to fill out ).

I agree with others to donate everything under $50. I think goodwill even comes to your house.

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lthenderson
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by lthenderson » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:31 pm

I don't know if this is a regional thing but around here, everyone holds an auction. It gets published in the newspaper for about a month in advance, hundreds show up and big on everything. Prices are almost always higher than what you could get at a garage sale since you have higher turnout but a bit less than using online sites like eBay or Craigslist. The big advantage to an auction is everything is done in one day. If you don't have enough, the auction houses store your items until they have several small lots and then hold an auction.

I've bought a lot of high quality antique furniture at auctions of people who are downsizing.

novembre
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Re: Best way to sell house contents

Post by novembre » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:58 pm

Thank you all for so many good suggestions. I’ve learned a lot, and I now Have a much better picture of the whole situation. I can see that things are not as they used to be.
I’m going to take the advice to use NextDoor, to sell the piano. And the auction houses for the more valuable furniture. And the rest I’ll donate.
Thanks again for all the responses. I really do appreciate them.

Nov

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