The first step of working with any client is to have an initial on-site meeting. This is where I come by to see what you are looking to sell. It does not have to be organized or all in one place – it doesn’t even need to be unboxed or unearthed from the attic. I am primarily look for two things:
1.) Is there enough stuff here to do an auction?
2.) Are these the types of items that sell well at auction?
This visit is usually pretty quick, about 15 minutes on average, though I am more than happy to stick around to chat and answer questions. I’ll also let you know if there are things you can do that would be helpful if we do move forward with an auction. If an auction would not make sense for your situation, I will be sure to leave you with other contacts and suggestions for next steps.
Don’t worry about setting things up
I know I already said this, but seriously, don’t worry about having your house showroom ready. Moving is always a messy and slightly chaotic process. One of the absolute best things about an auction is that we can work around your stuff! You don’t have to have everything you’re keeping out of the house, or even be out of the house yourself. I pride myself on being super flexible with wherever your life situation is. We can work around just about anything.
Interviewing Other Companies
If you are having multiple companies preview your estate, I strongly advise that you do not accept offers to purchase individual items or collections of items. Obviously this is going to be the items in the estate that have value, and if you only sell those valuable items, you’re going to be left with a lot (and I mean a lot) of lower-value items, like decorative pieces, framed art, kitchen contents, clothing, tools – you name it. That’s the bulk of what makes up our auctions, but if there are only these types of things, it’s possible that we, or another company, are not going to be able to help you clear out the estate because there isn’t enough money to be made. That means you are on the hook for hosting a yard sale, paying for clean out services, or making many, many trips to the dump and Goodwill. There is very little benefit to you for selling off items in the estate piecemeal. The company buying the items gets the benefit of a good return on their investment, you get a lot more work. I assure you that if someone makes a direct offer, then there are lots of other buyers out there interested in those items. Take their contact information, but don’t agree to anything until you’ve met with all of the companies you’re interested in interviewing.
On a similar note, I really recommend finding a company that will take everything (like us!). Our goal is to sell as much as we possibly can. We aren’t there to cherry pick only the best things. Most estates have a wide variety of items and we know there are buyers for every price point. We will absolutely tailor our marketing to reach the right buyers.
Changes Post Appointment
When we come to preview a property, it is assumed that the items you are showing us will be included in the sale, and the contract is sent with that assumption. Any changes to this tend to fall under two categories:
Giving away things to neighbors, friends and family
Selling items directly to maximize profit
If a neighbor wants to take a bunch of things or you’ve decided to list items on Facebook Marketplace, it is essential that you update us on this plan. While not super common, we have had to cancel sales after well-meaning friends and family took the “good stuff” or the client chose to sell some of the higher end items directly. I completely understand the desire to give, and appreciate wanting to make the most for your items, but it can mean a situation similar to the above, where there isn’t quite enough value to do an auction, so you’re stuck with the extra work of getting rid of the countless odds and ends.
If you have emotional attachment to items or have a price point in mind for more than three items, we will suggest that you do not have an auction. In both cases, we find people tend to have a slightly inflated view of what their items are worth. More broadly, if you are looking to get a certain amount of money, an auction is going to be stressful and you’re not likely to be super happy with our services. We do not control pricing or set prices on items that go to auction. We take the best pictures and make sure buyers have all the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision, and we work to make sure as many people are seeing the sale as possible. Ultimately, the desirability of the item, the rarity or collectibility, the usefulness, etc., will determine the final price.
That’s it! I look forward to meeting you and hope to help alleviate the burden of all the stuff!