When it comes to downsizing, getting rid of your excess stuff may be tough!
The most important thing to remember once you are Under Contract to sell, Deadlines do not Care. Give yourself some breathing room – Plan to be finished with all of the selling, giving and hauling at least 2 days prior to the deadline for being out of the house. Stuff seems to expand and things do not go perfectly as planned.
Our pre-sale process begins with a consultation with our Stager. She will go through and make a list of suggestions room-by-room to get your house “ready for the photographer”. Every situation is unique so it is hard to know how many of the steps will be needed to get your house ready. Below is the typical sequence though.
Start with People You Know
1. Family and Close Friends – Usually, these folks get first dibs and rightfully so. They also usually carry away the items they are getting too 🙂
2. Neighborhood Website / Social Media – Some high-tech neighborhoods have websites where you can advertise larger items for sale. Our neighborhood has a site hosted by Nextdoor which offers full neighborhood connectivity for activities, security concerns, lost pets, events, local contractor recommendations, items for sale, etc. These connections should be fairly safe given that they are neighbors, people you know OR you at least have friends in common.
Still have some “really good” stuff to get rid of?
3. Estate Sale – We work with a couple of trusted estate sale companies that will come in and manage the whole process. They charge a percentage of the proceeds from your estate sale. This method serves both your and their advantage. Each situation is unique. After visiting the home (which is where the sale will be conducted), these companies make suggestions regarding disposition of pieces family members are retaining, items of historical significance, fine art, estate jewelry, antiques, vintage pieces, collectibles, and items for donation to charity. They can handle all aspects of the sale from the initial consultation to leaving the home broom-clean at the end of the sale. If you have specific questions, feel free to contact Katie Hamilton with Family Matters in Atlanta.
Dealing with people you don’t know.
4. Yard Sale – The Yard Sale is usually the next option people think of for selling their excess stuff. Although it is more work that most realize, the real trauma sets in when amateur sellers meet the pros on sale day. Prices are never as much as you think they should be because you have “emotional attachment”. If you are not prepared and you draw a crowd it can be maddening. Here is a post we found with some helpful tips. Here is another link on how to make your yard sale a hit! Feedback from the pros says definitely do NOT advertize your yard sale as an Estate Sale if all you have is a couple of tables with do-dads and clothes. Shoppers will not be happy with you for false advertising and your ploy to bring in the serious buyers will most likely backfire. Lastly, Houzz has some suggestions on how to make more money with your sale.
Stop right here:
Would you pay $1,000 right now for everything left in the house and are you willing to take it all home to live with you? If not, make sure steps 5-7 get the job done. Perhaps even start with #7 and work backwards. I doubt many people will be up to the hassle of #8 which will leave only #9 – The Dumpster. Just assume Step #9 will cost a minimum of $1,000 any way you slice it. It should help with decision-making at this point
5. Drop off Charities – If you are willing to haul it, there are probably some great charity organizations located near to you. Goodwill and The Salvation Army are some of the best known. Personally, I find Goodwill stores are more readily available. These places will take working electronics and TV’s, clothes and household items. The benefit here is that you are in control of the timing – it happens when you are able to make it happen. There are also numerous local and refugee charities that would welcome your help if you have items they could use.
6. Come Pick it up Charities – If you want someone to come pick items up, there are a lot of options here too. One website that acts as a focal point is http://www.donationtown.org/. Here you can put in your zip code and select from a number of charities. In most cases you can place the items outside so that they can be picked up without you having to be home. I would arrange this way in advance because you will be stuck with the items if they do not come by in a timely manner to pick the items up.
7. Flea Market Brokers – There are flea market dealers who will actually come to your house and take it all – assuming there is enough there of value to offset their expenses in cleaning out your house. The deal here is that they clean out your entire house in exchange for any “treasure” they are able to harvest and sell. This is usually a tricky option because people usually want to keep or give away the “good stuff”.
8. Freecycle, Etc. – Still have some “good stuff” and the Flea Market Broker strategy did not pan out? Can’t bear the thought of throwing it away? There are some other options but time is not on your side.
If the house is empty, congratulations! You have just avoided spending money.
9. Dumpsters – In rare instances, people bring in dumpsters up front. Usually, the “value hierarchy” above pushes the dumpster to the last resort. Sure, you can load the dumpster yourself but many downsizers are elderly and are not physically able to haul big stuff to the dumpster. That means, labor will have to be hired. Now things are getting complicated AND expensive. This is usually the last resort because all the really “good” stuff has found a home and the “other” stuff is left. Large old bulky items. Rusted old broken items. Leaky painty solventy items. Pesticides. Books, magazines, boxes, decorations, broken toys, attic dust, worn out patio furniture, plants, pots, glasses, ancient yard tools… you get the picture. Man power, hourly rates, dump fees and dumpster rental add up fast. It could easily go over $1,000.