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Friday, November 28, 2014

How to have an estate sale. 10 top tips.

Busy Bee Moving Sales in Nashville, Tennessee

When I am not having a sale I go out and shop both estate sale company sales as well as privately conducted sales by family and friends of the estate.  Below I have listed 10 tips to remedy the most common flaws I have witnessed at these sales.

1.  Advertising - Don't assume everyone has a GPS.  Make plenty of signs with arrows on all major intersections.  Laminate them to eliminate dew and rain damage for the duration of the sale.  Take advantage of Craigslist, and Facebook pages relevant to your sale.

2.  Staffing - The first day at opening is your busiest time so be prepared.  Make sure you have at least 2 people at the register and someone on each floor as well as outside at out buildings.  If you have jewelry or small valuables, you will need someone dedicated to that one area. 

3.  Set Up - Plan carefully for the flow of traffic throughout the home and outside areas.  Lock room doors, place do not enter signs, and consolidate like items to simplify shopping.  Block off hazardous areas.  (I just returned from a sale that didn't have signs on doors so people kept walking out the back door to leave despite the owners request.  I suggested she put up a sign but she said, "but the workers have to go out of it".  Hmmm.  

4.  Pricing - Put a price on everything!  Even estate sale companies sometimes do not mark everything and it discourages me from buying.  If the staff is busy I will often not wait and get a price for an item.  Even grouping items on a table with a single price or displaying signs for clothing, books, toys etc. are great for communicating with the customer and much easier on a very busy staff.  Just make sure the cashier is aware of those signs and prices. 

5.  Appraising - This may be the most common problem with private estate sales or garage sales.  If you are not very sure about appropriate estate sale pricing, find someone to help you with this.  Do not price antiques at the same prices as an antique store unless you are prepared to have some or most of them leftover at the end of the sale.  Do not price items for what they SOLD for on ebay unless it is a rare piece.  Do not let sentimental value determine your pricing.  Look at the item as if you were looking at it for the first time and what you might pay for it at a sale.  Also, do not let the price you paid for the item determine your pricing.  Most things lose value, even if they are NIB.  You should price items a little higher than that of a garage sale if they are displayed neatly inside of the home. 

6.  Merchandising - Don't throw everything away before the sale.  I went to a sale last week that had the largest dumpster I have ever seen outside the small home full to the top as customers stood on chairs to pull salvagable items out.  Purging and cleaning is an important aspect of merchandising a sale but pricing items according to their condition is better than tossing a potentially fixable item.  Use outside areas to display these items and your trash hauling cost may go way down as well. 

7.  Price Reductions - If you have priced it reasonably, there isn't much need in reducing prices at the beginning of the sale.  If someone is buying a large amount or an item you feel may be a hard sell, yes, a 20-30 percent reduction at the beginning of the sale is great.  If you have most customers walking away without buying, you've priced too high and you need to start reducing.  Encourage larger quantity sales by only giving reductions on multiples such as (books 4 for 5 dollars) etc.  Write down the name and phone numbers of potential customers that make offers on larger items such as a car or bedroom suit and call them at the end of the sale if you accept their offer.

8.  Security - Staffing wisely is the key to security but also flow of traffic.  Placing small valuables in clear view of personnel and behind glass will aid in theft.  Be aware of groups of people that may be distracting you.  Control how many people are entering the house at one time to eliminate these distractions.   If the cashier becomes tired, overwhelmed or in a conflict with a customer, relieve them immediately and remove the customer from the line to another location to settle the dispute.  Remove excess cash from the checkout often and lock staff belongings away.  Customers open closets, cabinets, drawers and enter closed off rooms as they curiously shop through.

9.  Parking - Think over the parking for your sale.  Notify neighbors about the sale and ask if they would like a no parking sign in their yard.  Rope off areas that parking may be hazardous and allow staff to park in designated areas as an example.  We have had sales lose money that required customers to walk a long driveway. 

10.  HOAs - Not everyone has a Home Owner's Association but those that do should be well aware of the rules pertaining to estate and yard sales.  Some require advanced board approval and fines given to home owners that ignore these rules. 

I am sure I have left out some very important ideas but these are a few that often get overlooked.  Estate Sales can be lots of work, don't let a simple detail cost you lots of money.  Visit several sales and talk to several estate sales companies before you decide so you can have the most profitable sale you can.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Selling a house? What to do first?

Call Busy Bee Moving Sales in Nashville, Tn. - 512-788-2544

You've put your home on the market and the realtor is on their way and you are worried it will sell too quickly.  Now what? So many times we get calls from someone that is selling their home and need us to help sell a few things they haven't been able to sell themselves.  What they don't know is that they may have already cleaned out too much for us to even conduct a sale.  I hear things like,  "I wish I would have known about your services before I gave it away to Goodwill or worst yet, threw it all away.  These small items cluttering the garage and falling out of the cabinets or flooding the closet are the very junk most people scavenger hunt for every weekend at estate sales.  When it gets down to the large pieces of furniture, pool tables, pianos, armoirs and collections of dolls, they call us when one big sale would bring more money and downsize it all at once. 

A downsizing sale is almost always the first step in preparing a home to sell.  Our moving and estate sales company specializes in pulling out the contents of garages, basements, sheds, cabinets, drawers, and attics to set up for a decluttering sale so you can stage and maintenance your home for the market.  A home with less furniture and clutter will also appear to be larger as well as save you money and time when it comes time to move. 

 More than once we've dug books and antiques out of the trash and placed price tags on them that the home owner had tossed before we arrived.  The estate sales company will help you with the back breaking labor of setting everything out and throwing away the trash.  Of course you want to go through your belongings and make decisions on what goes and what sells so using a roll of colored tape you can identify items you wish to keep and separating them into an area off limits to the sale.  After that, let them do the work. 

After the sale, you can have them or someone else haul away the excess and begin staging your home for the real estate market.  Plus, you have some extra money in your pocket to cover moving expenses or repairs to your home.