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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Selling musical equipment in Nashville Tennessee.

Busy Bee Moving and Estate Sales in Tennessee.
Can you sell musical equipment and vintage audio recording equipment?  This was how the phone conversation began with a client whose husband was a legendary fiddle player on the Grand Ole Opry Stage in Nashville, Tn., for over 48 years.  I replied, "If I can't sell musical equipment in Nashville, Tennessee then I should just quit my job."  At first sight, it looked like a room full of cords, tubes, boxes, dusty cabinets with big knobs and switches.  If I had not had the internet to research, I would have never known the value of these items.  Most of the brands such as Ampex, Teac, Concertone, Echo Plex and Altec, I had never heard of.  As we researched we were in shock of the value of these antique recording reel to reel pieces of musical gear.  After pricing and appraising, I then began to worry about reaching the musicians and engineers that would be interested in this type of equipment.  Most of our estate sales include antiques and collectibles and a few instruments such as guitars and band instruments and pianos. I posted as many pictures as I could on and as well as the Nashville in the musical equipment section and sent emails to Nashville recording studios such as Third Man Records that I knew used vintage audio recording equipment.  The first morning we had over 75 people waiting to enter the sale and I sighed a sigh of relief.  My phone rang from all over the United States and audio engineers drove in to buy analog recording gear.  The Echoplex mastering equipment was the hottest item made in the 60's.  The Sony vintage microphones an RCA ribbon mics were also hot.  We had a MM 1000 Ampex 2" tape recording system tat was difficult to sell due to the size that we finally sold for 300.  The 1960's Slingerland drum kit sold for 500.  We had a Cadillac originally owned by Conway Twitty that sold to a local Nashville band.  It was great to see such collectibles from Nashville's musical history being passed on to collectors and admirers in the industry.  I enjoyed hearing the stories and history behind the musical gear as audio engineers from all over the city of Nashville shared information on why these items were so valuable.  We tripled my estimated revenue for the sale and sold it all.  My client was thrilled and we all walked away with a new appreciation for the world of vintage audio analog recording that we did not have before.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

How to Price Garage Sale Items?

Busy Bee Moving and Estate Sales in Nashville, Ten.
As an estate sales company we are faced with pricing thousands of items each week in a short amount of time.  I am often asked how we do it.  Ninety percent of the items we price are items we have priced in previous sales and knowing current prices of items as well as experience with going to neighborhood garage sales helps with pricing your own. 
If you do not frequent yard sales or thrift stores then ask someone to help you that does.  Remember, you want to sell something in 2 days so it should be significantly less than what you paid for it new, even if it is new in the box.  Clothing prices should be about 1/3rd less than that of Goodwill.  Glassware and toys that are clean and in good condition will bring more than the contrary.  You can price clothing on a sign that itemizes tops, etc. as one price but will not bring as much as if you price them separately.  Price large pieces of furniture significantly less as the common complaint is that customers do not have a way of moving it.  Price furniture sets separately and give discounts if they want to buy more than one piece.

Appraising rare or antique items can be done easily now on the internet. is a good resource but make sure you are looking under the SOLD section.  Other apps such as are also excellent for researching collectibles as they will go back several years of online auctions.  For large items that would not generally sell well on Ebay due to shipping cost, your local Craigslist would give you an idea of what that item might sell for.  Although doesn't give you the sold price, it will give you an idea of an asking price if you compare several ads.
Pricing too high because you are unsure of a reasonable set price, may sticker shock your customers and turn them away.  However, pricing a little high but announcing to your customers that you are flexible will open up negotiation with your customers.
As the day winds down you may want to post a percentage off for the sale to encourage sales or mark down items that no one has shown interest in.
I went to a garage sale this week that obviously didn't do enough research.  They had some Fostoria pieces they had way overpriced as well as a few other pieces of glass that they knew were collectibles but almost gave away some pottery pieces such as Weller and Roseville they didn't know was worth more than the Fostoria.  With the amount of antiques they had, it would have paid them to have had a dealer come in and help appraise.
If you have attempted to sell it online or Craigslist, don't expect it to sell for the same price at a garage sale.  Also, set aside your thoughts of what you paid for it or nostalgic value as that is not an indicator of fair market value.  Fair market value is what a customer will give you for an item on that given day.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Should I be present at my estate sale?  is an estate sale co. in Nashville, Tn. and serving the Middle Tennessee areas.

Should I be present at my estate or moving sale?  I am interviewing with an estate sale company and suddenly the tell me that I cannot be present at the sale.  Immediately, I realize that they have something dishonest going on and they either want to price my items too low or hide something they are doing.  After all, it is my home and my merchandise.  I have every right to be on my property to oversee the estate sale or auction to make sure it is legitimate.  So why would they ask me to not be present at my own estate auction or tag sale?

Reason #1:  Separating yourself from you or your loved one's collections and personal belongings can be more emotional than you think.  I pointed out that a side table had cigarette burns on it while previewing a sale and the lady lovingly looked at the table, smiled and said, "That was on my daddy's side of the bed and those were his cigarette burns.  I never had the heart to remove them.  They remind me of him."

Our memories are attached to our things in the most unusual ways and we often don't realize that until we start separating ourselves from them.

Reason #2:  Professional business practices.  You just researched, checked the company out with either references are local agencies such as the Better Business Bureau and are confident they are a trustworthy honest estate sales company.  Now you are going to try to help them do their job.  Standing between the employees and their job can not only bring stress between them and the customers but you as well therefore making the sale not as successful.  If you have communicated well and given the staff your contact information during the day to call on certain items, that should be sufficient in communicating during the sale.  Realtors have the same requirements.  You hire them as an agent to sell your home and as they negotiate, they will contact you if the limits of the contract are challenged.  Being present during these negotiations is not only good business practice but confusing to the customer.

Example of this past week I had with a home owner:
Our contract clearly states that occupants and pets are not to be present at the sale.  The homeowner texted me the day before to inform me the dog would have to stay at the sale locked on the back porch and all of the items we had on tables in that area would need to be moved.  We moved the items that morning and the large dog was sweet but very upset during the sale as customers walked by and he wanted attention.  Pets are often confused during moving situations anyway but a crowd of people in his territory for 3 days was very upsetting.  At one time he ran into the house, jumped on the sofa and I had a very hard time getting him back out.  Thank goodness he wasn't a biter.

To make things worse, the home owner decided to just hang around the last day.  He proceeded to walk around and talk with customers, make deals, quote prices which were different from ours so many customers came to the register saying, "he told me one price but the owner told me another.:  I was uncomfortable negotiating prices with him staring at me as I felt intimidated to quote a price that he was indifferent with.  At one point he pulled a man to the side that was interested in several pieces of furniture and told him to come back after we leave and he would sell it to him for a better price!  But the straw was when he plopped down on the sofa, turned on the football game and proceeded to watch it while people were browsing in the same room.  One lady was reluctant to walk between him and the tv.  I walked in and said, "You are not going to turn my classical music off, and watch tv in the middle of my sale!"  He said,  "I don't have anywhere to go."  I said, "You signed a contract saying you wouldn't be here during the sale."  He went outside but continued to make deals with customers.  It did not look professional.