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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.