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Monday, July 29, 2019

Why did I get turned down from an Estate Sale Company?

Busy Bee Moving Sales - 615-864-8991 - Estate Sales Professionals in Nashville, Tn.

After 7 years of being in the business we have learned a few tips on what not to do before calling an estate sale company.  You have just gotten a contract on your home and desperately need to purge, give, sell and downsize before moving to your new home.  It is difficult to restrain yourself from hauling everything in the garage, attic and cluttered areas of the home to charities so you can get down to the furniture and big stuff and you're thinking of calling in an expert to do it only to find they will not take your sale. 

I just now returned from a potential client that was saddened by my confirmation that indeed she had gotten rid of too much for us to devote a week to liquidating her leftovers.  People are often surprised when I tell them that furniture is the hardest item to sell.  My observation is that the resources for reselling furniture has become so easy on social networking sites such as Face Book Marketplace, Letgo, and others have now made it the first place buyers look for used furniture, making it very difficult for those of us that resell even more difficult. 

So how do we avoid sabotaging our sale in order to liquidate those larger hard to sell items?  Estate and moving sale companies will come out and do a walk through and look for 3 things: Value, Volume and Variety. 
Value: We went to preview a sale last week in a great area.  The home was large and clean as a pin and filled in every room with furniture and furnishings.  As we were given the tour, I noted the furniture being the difficult era to sell, glassware that had been leftover after the family had removed the best pieces and overall an appearance of picked over items in every room.  I commented on a few nicer pieces and was told that one was earmarked for the maid or friend.  I spotted 3 signed Salvadore Dali prints on the wall and felt a sigh of relief only to be told those were not part of the sale.  As we continued our tour I mentioned the jewelry on the table and told again, that was going to be sold elsewhere as well as the coin collection piled up in the garage.  I had to tell her the truth.  I could have looked at my calendar and simply said, "It looks as though we can't fit you in on that date."  But I felt she needed to hear the truth, after all, they were expecting to have a company pay a crew for a week to set up, advertise, park, and conduct a sale on items that are notoriously leftover after a garage sale.  They had variety and volume but no value left.  The result would be that buyers would preview the pictures, not see any interesting items and choose one of the other 20 estate sales or 100 garage sales that day to go to rather than ours.  Without attracting the foot traffic, those hard to sell items wouldn't have a chance. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Brown Furniture Plague

Week after week I am faced with selling entire contents of homes filled with "brown furniture".  I start by educating my client about the decrease in value of nearly 50% in the past 10 years of their quality name brand pieces.  Pinterest and Youtube are full of ideas for repurposing, chalk painting and destroying the beautiful wood grain, in some cases rare antiques, as this modern craze of monochromatic continues to paint the decorating books in black and white.

My concern is:  What if this phaze passes and we are back to the old days of stripping furniture?  You know we've been through this before.  Remind me to buy stock in Formby's when it does because I have a feeling it's around the corner.  I shopped a Nashville antique mall this week and noticed NOT ONE quality piece of antique furniture on display.  Everything in there looked like it had been dragged out of the barn or dumpster painted and spit shined in all of its rusticness.

Don't get me wrong.  I am a fan of the farm table, tractor seat stools, railroad cart coffee table and who knew how many things could be made from a pallet?  However, we are certainly losing an entire era of finer antique furniture not only in America but throughout Europe as well as collectors are diminishing.

I had a sale this month with a client who insisted I ask prices for her mother's french Louis XVI pieces that I knew would never sell.  She couldn't believe the value of these inlaid wood and rare pieces had decreased even in the 20 yrs. she had had them.  And I sympathized with her as I know they are to be valued in age and quality but the market is just not there.

However, there is hope.  I had a young family call me last week who were purchasing a historic antebellum home in Brentwood, TN. and were given the option to purchase all of the furniture as well for 30,000.  I was delighted to find "millenials"  taking such interest in preserving history and keeping with the style of the home.  After previewing the pieces, or drooling rather, my suggestion was this:  you definitely have 30,000 + in furniture considering the German Grandfather Clock, Louis the XVI bedroom suite, Chippendale dining set, grande piano, etc...BUT... don't think you can liquidate this in an estate sale anytime soon and double your money.  These pieces have value, stories, historical merit, local recognition and aesthetic brilliance to those who appreciate them.  However, the market is trending in rustics, contemporary and modern at the moment so you have the advantage of scarfing up an incredible buy and enjoying it many years and hopefully when your toddlers are grown will see a new appreciation for them as you pass them on.  In addition, I did give her many ideas and pictures of how to incorporate those pieces in an updated decor and marry them into a modern design that will blend them into today's world as they enjoy them for decades to come.  They accepted the deal and I can't wait to see it when they are finished.

  Busy Bee Moving Sales - 615-864-8991 - Estate Sales Professionals in Nashville, Tn.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Busy Bee Moving Sales - 615-864-8991 - Estate Sales Professionals in Nashville, Tn.
I write this blog with a heavy heart as I reflect on a recent sale in Brentwood, Tn. and analyze a family's moving sale.  Our 85 year old client died in the yard following our estate sale while hitching the car to the U-Haul to move to their new home in another state.

 Our estate sales company specializes in making transitions in life such as moving, estate liquidating and downsizing as stress free as possible.  However, many times I find the client not only allowing us to help but trying to control the process beyond their means.  I retraced the couple's plans and searched for solutions in what I could have done more to have made their move less stressful.

The first thing Mr. D said to me when we met was, "I wish she would just let you sell everything we don't need but she insists on taking more than we have room for and I all of this will have to go to a storage unit."  She packed a large library of books for weeks into small boxes and continued to pack clothing and accessories long after what they had room for in their retirement home.  I wasn't sure what he meant by his statement, "Please be gentle with her."  when referring to his wife of whom I later realized was suffering with dementia.  We have had many sales for elderly individuals with the beginning signs of alzheimers  and recognized some symptoms.  Because their memory is often more clear of early past long term memory experiences, they will be more attached to things that associate with those memories thus making it more difficult to let go of them.  Also, their perception of their world becomes more self centered therefore not realizing the strain of their demands on the loved ones around them.  Mrs. N was a victim of both of these.  I don't think she realized her husband of 60 years was unable to do the physical move of a lifetime of collections that she wanted.  She even stated that her children had tried to help and she told them they didn't need any help.  Mr. D continued to drive back and forth 500 miles with a U-Haul and pack more items over a course of 2 weeks. 

I clearly stated they must be moved before we start setting up as the home will be completely transformed as we move and merchandise for the sale.  We also begin work at 7:00 and work quickly throughout the home all day making it uncomfortable for homeowners trying to carry on daily home activities.  Their sale had to be postponed another week because of needed time for another trip.  I received a frantic call from Mr. D after our first day saying everything was missing including, the blood pressure machine, pace maker machine, her medicine etc.  We went over and found the items they were missing.  They clearly had not prioritized in moving the things they needed or organizing them.  We also had to start completely over with setting up as she had repacked and rearranged all the things in the sale.  It looked like we had never been there. 

My contract states that we will mail a check to the client within 5 days of the sale.  Mr. D. did not want his check mailed.  He insisted upon driving back from OK to personally pick up his check.  We had a very successful sale despite the delay and freezing weather delay.  I even sold the car he was trying to sell on his own without success.  I connected them with James a final liquidator to haul away the remains.  James called me crying, "I tried to revive Mr. D tonight but I think he is gone."  My heart goes out to his wife who will not be able to move to the new home or live in the old home due to her health.  I'm not sure what they will do with the many U-Hauls, boats and vehicles at their new home but hopefully now Mrs. N will let her kids help her make decisions and find a home that she can easily manage on her home. 

In Conclusion:
I will continue to try to prepare my clients for the transition ahead and prove myself trustworthy to assist them through the process and relieve some stress associated with a life changing event.  RIP Mr. D...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

10 Tips On Selling Your Home Quickly

Busy Bee Moving Sales - 615-864-8991 - Estate Sales Professionals in Nashville, Tn.

How do I get my house ready to sell?  I just got an offer on my home,  How do I move before closing?

All of these statements are typical when I talk with a client for the first time.  Many people are unaware of the benefits of hiring a professional company liquidate their personal property before they move.  I have listed the following tips to assist a seller before or after they sell their home.

1.  Staging - Before hauling away all your clutter to Goodwill consider using the revenue you would gain from those small items to assist in your move.  Some realtors will advise as to which furniture should be left for staging and what should be stored or removed in order for your home to "show" better.  An estate liquidator can sell everything except what you need for staging or sell everything and have the realtor stage accordingly through their resources.  Storing your excess in boxes in a garage, pod or storage until the house sells is also an alternative if you choose to have an estate sale after you have received a contract on your property.

2.  Sell Everything - In cases where the home needs repairs, maintenance, flooring or painting, selling it all before putting it on the market may be wise and it gives an older home a fresh new open look. This choice is also a great way to introduce your home to the market as hundreds of people will attend the sale and inquire of the home, possibly leading to a, "For Sale By Owner" opportunity.  Again, you must remove, or store your wanted items and be moved from the property.  These are actually the easiest sales to conduct.  Remember, the moving sales company will sift through everything, separating items and throwing away the trash.

3.   Downsizing - You want to sell your home or just received a contract but haven't moved yet.  How do I have an estate sale if I'm still in the house?  A moving sale company can advise you in what rooms of your home would be best in storing the items you want to keep.  Separating your items will take longer to set up but can be done in order to stay in your house until it sells or closes.  You must be very clear in this case of what does not sell even down to the electronics and appliances.  Remember, if you are still living in the home you may want to keep your refrigerator, washer, dryer and tv.

4.  Cleaning and maintenance before selling:  If you are planning a sale, wait until after the sale to have carpets cleaned and walls painted.  Even the most beautiful homes have dust bunnies and nail holes that can be more easily assessed after the sale is over.  Designate what areas can be used for parking and what areas of the yard need to be roped off.

5.  Removing items to be sold to another location:  In some rare cases, it may be necessary to have your estate sale at an alternate location.  Condos, apartments, gated communities and some Home Owner Associations prohibit estate and moving sales on the property.  In these cases you may need to seek out a company that has those capabilities.  Keep in mind you may be charged a higher percentage or extra fees for relocating your merchandise.  You may also be required to pick up the items that do not sell.

6.  No time to move:  Your dream came true.  The house sold quickly to a cash buyer and they want a quick closing.  Most moving sales companies can do the entire process in a week.  Before they come out to preview, label the items you want to keep so they can assess and staff the sale accordingly.  Communication is the key in a quick sale so be clear in your timeline and list of not for sale items.  Leave a few days after the sale for time to liquidate the leftover items and the final cleaning before the final inspection.

7.  What if we are not able to be there?  Our realtor called and said we sold the house but we are in another state and don't know how we can move in such a short notice.  I have done moving sales in which I never met my client.  They left a key hidden, communicated what to sell over the phone during an on site walk through, had me arrange for the final items to be removed and I mailed them a check.  Some estate sales companies have further services such as hauling, and cleaning as well.

8.  My parents' house needs to be put on the market but we do not have time to get it ready.  Whether you are nearby and able to personally guide the estate sales co. through the process of liquidating your parents house or live many miles away and need someone to do the entire process, it can be done.  With modern technology communication, pictures, video and face time can be great tools in deciding on the best plan to conduct an estate sale for your family.  Check the credentials of the estate sale businesses in the area, ask for references, research their reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and Better Business Bureau.

9.  How to have a garage sale to get my house ready to sell.  Before I moved I held 3 different garage sales and sold the large items one by one on Craigslist and Facebook.  It took the entire summer.  I found that after the first garage sale I had less people come to the following as they recognize the address and think it's the same old stuff.  Craigslist can not only be a bit risky but time consuming as arrangements and no shows leave you hanging.  Items taken to the garage to be sold WILL NOT bring as much as items sold in a home setting.  A moving sale company will provide their pricing knowledge, advertising, email list and materials to sell your items but will expedite the whole process and most likely increase your sales therefore covering their commission as well.

10.  OVERWHELMED:  This is the word I most hear when a client calls me the first time.  For whatever reason, they are overwhelmed with the whole process of selling their home.  Whether you are going through divorce and not able to agree on separating your personal property, cleaning out due to a hoarder situation,  emotionally too attached to deal with liquidating your keepsakes or simply too far away or too busy to deal with cleaning out the home to sell, a free consultation with a moving sale company can give you ideas and a plan to make the process quick and easy.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How to decorate with garage sale and estate sale finds.

Busy Bee Moving Sales - 615-864-8991 - Estate Sales Professionals in Nashville, Tn.

Decorating your home from weekend treasure hunting can be not only a smart money saving idea but fun and creative as well.  Start with a plan, make a budget and make some new friends.

1.  Plan and list for the items you are looking for by visiting your favorite home decor websites.  Mine is Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware.  Also plan a timeline for what items you need first and prioritize with your budget in mind.  You will not find everything you want in one weekend so be patient and find places to store your things until you need them.

2.  Research the current prices of furniture pieces you are looking for and know what is a good deal when you find it.  Although you have access to a mobile phone during the yard sale, sometimes a quick decision in a crowded estate sale doesn't give you the opportunity to do ample research.  Often pictures of estate sales are listed on and before the sale so you can have more time to research a fair market value.

3.  Keep an open mind when shopping that repurposing, painting and easy maintenance may be all it takes to turn that table into the red one on your list.  However, reupholstering furniture is quite expensive.

4.  Take advantage of all the places you can find second hand items.  Local Facebook buy, sell and trade pages are the newest and fastest growing sources of buying used merchandise.  Craigslist, Estate Sales and Moving Sales Companies, auctions, Flea Markets and thrift stores are listed weekly for weekend treasure hunting.

5.  Lastly, a well planned direction of pictures of your items and lists accessible on your phone either in notes, photos or Pinterest album will be accessible while you are on the road and eliminate random buying and an overabundance of items you thought were a good buy at the time.
decorating items

antique trunk

wooden antique bowls

estate sale nashville tn.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How your HOA restrictions can effect your estate or moving sale.

Busy Bee Moving Sales in Nashville, Tn.
Before you plan or book an estate or moving sale you should contact your Home Owner's Association.  Our contract requires our clients to sign saying they are in compliance with their current HOA rules and regulations in regard to an estate sale and that any rules stated will be shared with us in order to conduct the sale.  However, are still finding issues with the communication between the homeowner and their Home Owner's Association.  No one wants to spend a week setting, pricing, advertising and working a sale only to be shut down shortly after it begins.

This does not mean you should read over your HOA packet you were given when you bought your home.  My last client read her manual that stated that she was allowed 2 garage sales or yard sales a year and was completely satisfied that a moving sale was permitted.  She was wrong.  The board had revised their restrictions in regard to estate sales since her signing of her regulations to  absolutely no estate or moving sales in their community.  Although we had previously conducted sales in that community, they went unnoticed and were not penalized.  The charge was 500.00 dollars for the sale and they told the homeowner 500.00 an hour unless we shut down.  The homeowner questioned the legality of a revision that was never presented to her and the fact that she had only signed one in which she was in concordance with and was told that they provided updates on their Facebook page.  It hardly seems fair that monetary obligations would simply be presented on a social networking site and not officially mailed to the recipients home address.  We contacted a lawyer to question this practice and they too confirmed that because Home Owner's Associations hold public meetings and vote on rules and regulations that it holds home owners accountable for all updated rules regardless of their efforts to contact the effected individuals.

We finished the sale with a 500.00 fine without any signage (which greatly decreased traffic).  We were also approached several times in  heated arguments between board members and the homeowner in which some information was not in the revised HOA document we found on the internet such as 500. dollars an hour fine.  Even when the home owner refused to pay the fine she was told they would place the fine on the next homeowner.

In conclusion, notifying your HOA board before your sale is necessary as your HOA packet may not be up to date even though your neighbor may have had an estate sale the week before.  HOA rules and regulations are binding by law and they can and will fine you for breaking them.  Although liens and foreclosures take time, they can proceed with legal action if they choose to.  Get involved in your HOA meetings and demand a vote for a moving sale to be allowed in your community even if it states no signage.  Most families need to liquidate some personal property upon selling their home.
Nashville Tennessee Moving Sale

Franklin Tennessee estatesales

Moving Sales in Franklin Tn.

Moving Sales in Brentwood, Tennessee

Estate sale in Bellevue Tn.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mid-Century Modern is the HOTTEST thing going in Estate Sales

Busy Bee Moving Sales is a Nashville Tennessee Estate Sales Company.

When I started selling antiques 20 years ago, we turned our noses up at the 50's and 60's furniture.  I have heard it called motel furniture, doctor's office furniture and school furniture.  And yes, the simplicity of its design, durability and less is more approach is reminiscent to all of us who remember it from our youth.  Whether it's a decor you like or not, it is here to stay and going forward with potential value for your pocket if you are a dealer.
What should you look for?
1.  Look for quality.  Solid wood in good condition does matter greatly.
2.  Look for a furniture maker and then look for the designer.  Google images of the names you find until you find your piece of furniture.
3.  Danish mid-century modern furniture is in high demand.  Much of it is made from teak wood and very sleek in its design.  Very desirable look for new families.
4.  Search the name in as well as and to find the value.

My client had no idea this John Widdicomb desk would bring 1200.00 and the upright chest 1500.00.  The value was added by the fact that the designer's name is Bert England and called the Persian design.  It is solid mahogany in a walnut finish with solid brass pulls.

This table brought 600.00 without any chairs and is a Danish design teak wood marked made in Sweden underneath.  It extends with 2 hidden leaves and breaks down into 3 parts for easy moving.
These two tables reeled in the most attention online and at the sale.  With absolutely no marks or tags they are apparent in their modern design to be of significant value.  Furniture designer Harvey Probber was the closest we could find to identify them.  The three drawer chest with silver handles sold for 450.00 as well as the console cabinet.

The mid-century modern rocker was clearly a danish design as well.
Busy Bee Moving Sales sold these Dux travertine top coffee tables in Nashville, Tn. for 800.00 each in January.