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Old 04-20-2022, 07:22 AM
 
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Coldjensens, thanks for posting this. This is literally what my wife and I are going through right now. My parents have been collectors/hoarders for decades and their how is filled with stuff. We lost dad last year and Mom wanted us to help her get stuff cleared out. The tough thing is how completely unorganized they were. There is so many valuable things intertwined with stuff that can just be tossed. So we have to go through things slowly. There are so many antiques comprised of furniture, vintage books with tin pictures in them, a complete stamp collection, coin collection, tools, signs, etc. We started sifting through it all , getting rid of the garbage, like pay stubs from 1970, receipts from the 80's, etc. I'd say it will take two years before we can actually start organizing the valuable things. We were actually making headway...then all of a sudden Mom lost interest. We basically stopped. There is so much other drama going on...my Dad hid so much from me about him and my Mom's relationship. Learning about all these things has put cleaning out the house on the back burner.

Thanks though for posting that estate sale company. Did you feel they actually knew the values of the collectables correctly ? I know for my Dad's stamp collection we will contact a stamp specific auction house. I'm curious on the other stuff. For example Dad had a vintage Victrola record player (the one with the big horn) so things like that we will need help with values.
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Old 04-20-2022, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,254 posts, read 74,425,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scarabchuck View Post
Coldjensens, thanks for posting this. This is literally what my wife and I are going through right now. My parents have been collectors/hoarders for decades and their how is filled with stuff. We lost dad last year and Mom wanted us to help her get stuff cleared out. The tough thing is how completely unorganized they were. There is so many valuable things intertwined with stuff that can just be tossed. So we have to go through things slowly. There are so many antiques comprised of furniture, vintage books with tin pictures in them, a complete stamp collection, coin collection, tools, signs, etc. We started sifting through it all , getting rid of the garbage, like pay stubs from 1970, receipts from the 80's, etc. I'd say it will take two years before we can actually start organizing the valuable things. We were actually making headway...then all of a sudden Mom lost interest. We basically stopped. There is so much other drama going on...my Dad hid so much from me about him and my Mom's relationship. Learning about all these things has put cleaning out the house on the back burner.

Thanks though for posting that estate sale company. Did you feel they actually knew the values of the collectables correctly ? I know for my Dad's stamp collection we will contact a stamp specific auction house. I'm curious on the other stuff. For example Dad had a vintage Victrola record player (the one with the big horn) so things like that we will need help with values.
I am confident they know real actual values pretty well. She used to own an antique store. However they price things to sell. They know what it takes tog et the most out of a sale and sell it right now. The goal is to get the house cleared out and make a little money in the process, not to maximize sale prices of the most valuable items and toss the reset in the dumpster. They get their commission based on the total amount of the sale, so they are motivated to maximize the total net, but they have no motivation to get the highest possible price from any given item. We were surprised both by how high and how low the prices on some items were. Frankly, I think you are better off not looking at the prices they put on things. You probably have no clue what any of those things are actually worth unless you are a professional estate sale person. All you can do by looking at the individual prices is get surprised or angry.

Absolutely you could get more if you sorted everything out and listed the more valuable items on E-bay 1 at a time. But:

1. You will still be sitting on the house when the crash comes and you will lose many time the value of everything inside the house. Then you can wait 5 or more years for the recovery, or take the massive loss on the sale of the house. Don't forget the entire time you are sorting through that stuff, you are paying for taxes, insurance, heat, water, trash, and doing maintenance and lawn/yard care.

2. You will get nothing for the less valuable things and end up hiring someone to put them in a dumpster.

3. Some items will sit on E-bay for months or years until you find the right buyer willing to pay market price.

4 You have to research each item, photograph it, list it, watch the listing(s), box it up, ship it and deal with any payment issues or return issues.

5. You probably have a belief that the values of antiques and collectibles are much higher than they actually are. The market for antiques and collectibles is terrible. By way of example. Many years ago I bought an antique quarterswawn oak grandfather clock for $1200. It was an incredible bargain worth easily $2500 at the time. A few years later, I could have sold that clock for $6,000. Today, I would be lucky to get $300 for it. Another example is those franklin mint collector plates that everyone collected in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. They have no value. $0. If you are lucky you may find someone to give you $50 for a set of 30 or more of them, but probably not. Nope, not even the cute normal Rockwell paintings on plates. Also beany babies, most pokemon cards, Ylardro figurines, original Coca-Cola bottles, blue glass transformers from electrical poles. . . no value at all sorry. What a book or other source says they are "worth' and what you get get for them at two different things altogether. You will find sites that say those plates are worth $50 each. That is because they hope to sell some. They are worth nothing.

6. If you want to spend the hundreds of hours sorting and listing, keep in mind Ebay takes a big chunk of the sale price. Also keep in mind that unless you are really good at both listings and descriptions, and figuring out the real price something will sell for, then many of your listing will just sit with no interest. (Except you will have to answer a lot of questions from people who pretend to be interested)

There was a huge box of wheat pennies at Dad's house. All Out had her mother go through every penny looking for specific high value ones. There weren't any. There may have been a few worth $1 or $5, but who is going to find them and list them individually? Not me.

We had boxes and boxes of stamps from the late 1800s through the 1950s. No one was going to go through them and look to see if one of them might be valuable. Unless you are an expert and already know what to look for, that is a job that will take hundreds of hours, and most likely yield nothing. Most of those stamps are worth a dollar or two at the most. Many are worth nothing. But you only get anything for them if you have the means and the time to sell them individually. You are looking at years. Sell the whole lot for $20. Maybe there is a $500 stamp in there someplace. A stamp person can make a killing. Maybe there is nothing worth more than $1. Do you really want to spend 200 or more hours searching, looking up, listing and selling stamps to make $1200?

We also had boxes and boxes of old postcards. Again from the later 1800s through about 1950s or 1960s. hey were neat, but no one is going to sit down and sort through them and try to figure out which ones might be worth $5 or $10 (if any). That one in million postcard that is worth $50,000 - you do not have that one. You have better chances if you sell all the postcards for $20 and go buy 20 lotto tickets. You have better odds of big recovery than the poor sap who paid $20 for all of them and then spends hundreds of hours sorting pricing, listing etc.

One thing that sold immediately was a box of old letters received by some great great grandmother whom I had never heard of. We actually missed those when we sorted through what we wanted to pull out before the sale. Still since no one had looked at them in 50 or more years, we certainly were not going to miss them. They were not likely to be much more than discussions about how all the corn was and who was pregnant. I was surprised that anyone wanted them.

That Victrola if working may be sellable for $300 - $1200 depending on the model. There isnot one with a big horn but dozens of different ones that had a big horn. Some are valuable, some are not. However they must be working to be valuable. (we had a victrola in the past and later tried to replace it with another one, but never got round to it). There is a great book on Victrola's called "Look for the Dog" It does nto help with current pricing, but tells you which ones are more rare and more desirable. There are a few models that are worth much more, but it is extremely unlikely hat you have one unless your parents were extremely wealthy Victrola's are a lot more common than you think. In an estate sale, you will probably get $100 for it (again if it is working and the spring releases evenly). If it does not sell the first day, it will be $75 and the second day $50. Broken ones only have value to people who think Victrolas have more value than they do and then they buy it thinking they will fix it up and make money - but they never do. Your alternative is to put it on E-bay for $600 and store it for months or years until it sells. Then you have to pack and ship it. If the victrola were the only thing you had to list, store and then ship, it might not be a bad idea. If there are 50 or 100 things - it simply is not worth it

There are so many things that seem like they might have some value, but you do not know until you sell them. The prices from a book that is even a few months old are not accurate. Looking at other listings is meaningless because asking price does not mean a thing. Looking at sold prices is equally meaningless unless you have the exact same item in the exact same condition and the sale was less than a few months ago. Even then you need five or six sales to get a realistic idea of what you might ask for it. That is one item. Are you really going to do that 15,000 times?

You do need to keep in mind that you will have to go through and pull out everything that you do not want to sell before they go through the house. They have to make a business decision on whether they can make enough on your sale to make it worth their time and cost. If you pull things out after they make that decision, you are taking away their income and breaking the agreement. We told them up front that certain things or certain types of things would not be included in the sale. We later had family members look at pictures online and say they wanted certain items - so I went and bought them. Dad got 70% of the money, so we bought them from ourselves for 30%. Seems like BS, but it is fair. They are doing a hundred or more hours of work and need to get a decent rate of return. they have no problem with you removing things before they do the review (obviously) or telling them certain things will not be included in the sale, but they do not provide a free or charity service.

Another thing we discovered is that most of the collectables were damaged chipped, broken and repaired or just broken. Maybe they just need a small repair, or maybe the damage is minimal, but the "value" drops by 1000% or more. Mostly those things get bought by people who intend to fix them and make a killing. Usually they never get around to fixing them. In fact, that is how they ended up at your parent's house.

In the end, you have to simply accept that there may well be some customer who makes a profit on something form your sale of 500% or more. In fact many people are - that is why they go to estate sales. good for them. All you should worry about is whether you are satisfied with the result (a cleared house and a few thousand dollars in your pocket).

I will give you an example. Dad had an old apple cider press from the 1960s or 1970s. I looked on Ebay and Etsy, and some other sites and found similar ones selling for $800 - $3500. None were exactly the same, most were little nicer than his. The lower priced ones were somewhat similar. I could not find any sold listings. A year ago, I listed it online for $500 thinking I was offering a steal and it would sell in a few days. After 2 months, I got one offer for $100 but only if I delivered the cider press. In the estate sale, they listed it for $100. It sold on the second day (25% off the second day, 50% off the third day) so it sold for $75. However that big heavy thing is gone and I do not have to deal with it and Dad has $50 he did not have before. Certainly I may have eventually found a buyer for it for $300, but maybe not. Who knows how long I would have had to store it and continually re-list and watch for messages. It is gone, I am happy. The price they got for it is the value of the thing on that day at that time in that location.

There were a few things that showed up in the pictures that i or someone wished we had not sold. I went there the day before the sale and "bought" a few items, but I could not find all of them. However I looked at it like this: Has anyone even looked at those things or knew they existed in the last 20 or even 50 years? What would I do with them if they did not sell? Where will I find the time to deal with those items?

Like you we also found some dark history. Great grandpa who was a jolly fellow who seemed to love everybody whether he knew them or not, just a super sweet guy who took to everyone and everyone took to him - there were photos of him at a KKK parade in the 1920s. Not sure whether he was participating or just went and took pictures, but that was something we would rather have not found. Very hard to picture him as a racist. Fortunately we found those and removed them. Not something we want to sell. Seems likely to have the most appeal to a sicko. We easily could have missed them though. They did find some "Little Black Sambo" children's books we had no idea were around the house. Not blatantly stereotypically racist (they are actually about a kid who lives in India),but just the title and the general content screams racism. Those sold instantly and not cheaply. Probably some collector wants them somewhere. I would have tossed them.

We have some furniture that did not sell or was excluded. Also the riding mower, snow blower and a rotor tiller, a giant purple martin house that Dad built, a few other things. I could have had them toss some or all of these in the dumpster, but I found people (including me) who want some of that, but now I am stuck loading and delivering those items, or meeting someone at the house to pick them up. Not a huge deal, but it all adds up. Suddenly I have not free time again. Some things we held out for various family members, I will have to store for a few months or a few years.
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Old 04-20-2022, 10:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I am confident they know real actual values pretty well. She used to own an antique store. However they price things to sell. They know what it takes tog et the most out of a sale and sell it right now. The goal is to get the house cleared out and make a little money in the process, not to maximize sale prices of the most valuable items and toss the reset in the dumpster. They get their commission based on the total amount of the sale, so they are motivated to maximize the total net, but they have no motivation to get the highest possible price from any given item. We were surprised both by how high and how low the prices on some items were. Frankly, I think you are better off not looking at the prices they put on things. You probably have no clue what any of those things are actually worth unless you are a professional estate sale person. All you can do by looking at the individual prices is get surprised or angry.
This is all I needed to hear. While I don't want to give things away, I also want them to sell. The whole thing is to get as much money for Mom's future as possible. She is only 73, so there are still a lot of years ahead of her. My Grandmother is 96 and still going strong, so longevity is in her genes.

I have no intent on itemizing each and every thing....and trying to sell it on my own. Not a chance. The reason we need to sift through things is there are a couple of rooms in the house that one can barely walk into. Not to mention we keep find firearms and ammo tucked into places.

My wife and I thought it would be great to get rid of everything , throw the cash into a safety deposit box for Mom, sell the house and she could buy a small condo near where we live ( an hour away from her current house). I'd hire the Estate company for the majority of the items, then a stamp specific auction house for the stamp collection, then I'll take car of the tools, yard implements and stuff. I've already gotten rid of one of the cars, kept one for myself (GMC Syclone) and now Mom just has her Grand Cherokee. We were actually moving forward then it all came to a start.

Mom has some questionable siblings that see her as a payday. They are trying to get her to move back out of state and they can pool their money (meaning Mom's) together and buy a big house to live in. It's amazing how families can turn in these situations. It's Mom's life though, and we can only assist her in what she wants.
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Old 04-20-2022, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I am sure there were some "valuable" things included in the sale. IN fact, I brought some over from our house, both to get rid of them and to make the sale more attractive to potential customers. I have a large collection of antique and vintage clocks. Some working, some not. I brought many of them and some other antiques over to the sale knowing that they may have once been worth hundreds but will likely sell for tens of dollars. On the other hand, I tried to sell a number of them in the past three years with little success.



I just look at selling some valuable things at a discount as the cost of attracting people in to buy the less valuable things. IF you warehouse, or sell all the "valuable" things then no one will want to come to the sale and you will not be able to sell the less or non-valuable things. If you have thousands of items, it will take you months or years to sort out the things of "value" Then you will have to hire someone to remove the other things from the house. During this time you may lose the opportunity presented by a hot real estate market and lose far more than the value of all the things combined.


This experience taught us a lesson. We have amped up our efforts to get rid of those "valuable things,and the not valuable ones. Many are broken/damaged items that we know will be quite valuable with just a little repair. It really will not take that much to fix them. The problem is there are hundreds of such tings and many of them have been sitting for 15 or more years waiting for that simple little fix. It is time to realize that I am never going to fix them and they are no longer valuable either (fixed or not). I can put them in a sale like this and someone will come along and say "Hey I remember that those are worth hundreds of dollars and this one just needs a little fix" and they will pay $20 or $5 for the thing. They can put it in there house for a few decades Who knows, maybe it will become valuable again one day. Maybe they will get around to fixing it and make a killing on it. Great. More power to them. I have realized that my focus has to change from fixing and selling such "valuable things" to simply getting rid of them so my kids are not forced to deal with them. Many valuable things have been left at the curb and usually disappear in a matter of minutes. Off to fill someone else's garage or basement for a few decades. It is sometimes painful to give away something that you paid $1000 for and it just needs a repaired leg, or a new wheel that should not be too hard to find, but it also makes you feel better to see the clutter dwindling.


We plan to live in an RV on retirement (health permitting) and you cannot fit stuff into an RV, so we will have to get rid of almost everything. We were already getting rid of stuff, but we have doubled our efforts and come to accept that it is impractical to sell many of these "valuable" things and we need to just give them away or toss them. It will be difficult to swallow. We have a lot of "valuable" antiques. Some that we paid thousands for. They will probably go last as we still enjoy using them, looking at them and the atmosphere they create in our antique home. Maybe if we wait long enough, they will once again become worth a few hundred dollars if not a few thousand. Right now antiques have almost zero value. Mostly they sell to people who recognize their former value and think that they must still be worth something.



The hardest things to accept are more recent. Hundreds of videocassette movies (VHS) mostly kids movies. Value $0. If you put a hundred of them in a yard sale or on the internet for $1 each, you might sell three or five of them. The rest will sit. You cannot even donate them. Most places do not want them. The hundreds of DVD movies are similar. They sell a little better, but you have to make sure they still work and are not scratched. The only way to do that is to watch them. I do not have hundreds of hours to watch hundreds of DVDs so I can maybe sell them for a dollar or two each.



What really hurts me is the game consoles and games. We probably had 8 - 10 different X-boxes, Play stations, WII, etc. Each had a dozen or three dozen games, most of which the kids said are scratched and do not work all the way through, but some are fine. Which ones? No way to tell. Also which cords go with each of the consoles? Not sure. Maybe the cords are over in the giant box of mystery cords all twisted together. Those games and consoles probably represent $20,000 of my income over the past 30 years, but now they are just junk. You might get $20 for a box full of them at a yard sale or online. Maybe. If you are lucky. And it will take at least five hours of your time to get that $20.



We are tempted to bring in All out Estate sales right now and just unload all of our crap. However you do not really get to pick out and keep the good stuff. The reasons estate sales work and are visited by hundreds of customers is that you are selling everything. Not just the junk you do not want anymore like at a yard sale. Estate sales must include the good stuff too if you are going to attract any customers. That is why they work while yard sales don't
Not true about the game consoles. My hubby laughed at me when I listed an N64 with a couple controllers and games on Facebook Marketplace one Saturday morning. Within 10 minutes I had 20 people clamoring to buy it. Ended up selling it for $250 which was $100 over my asking price. Wish I’d found a few more when I cleaned out the attic! Look on EBay to see if there are any listings for what you have. If there are, it’s likely someone wants to buy them.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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Originally Posted by UNC4Me View Post
Not true about the game consoles. My hubby laughed at me when I listed an N64 with a couple controllers and games on Facebook Marketplace one Saturday morning. Within 10 minutes I had 20 people clamoring to buy it. Ended up selling it for $250 which was $100 over my asking price. Wish I’d found a few more when I cleaned out the attic! Look on EBay to see if there are any listings for what you have. If there are, it’s likely someone wants to buy them.
I did. I listed them and got no responses. Finally put them in a box in a yard sale and sold the lot of them for $20.
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Old 04-21-2022, 12:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I did. I listed them and got no responses. Finally put them in a box in a yard sale and sold the lot of them for $20.
Listed where? I first listed the N64 on Next Door. Crickets. Tried Facebook Marketplace and it was a feeding frenzy.

Apparently since I’d last sold anything, Next Door and Craig’s List fell out of favor with buyers and were replaced by FB Marketplace. Who knew.
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Old 04-21-2022, 08:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by michigan91 View Post
This is an annoying and really difficult problem and one which I have gone through as well. Unless someone has the time and knowledge, then it's a given that a lot of things in the estate will be sold for far less than what they are worth. Most would be lucky to get 50% of the ultimate value of an estate. Many people might think that its an 'I know what I got' kind of problem, but it's not. Often, an estate will have a number of items with recoupable value, it's just that finding the right people to buy them within the available time can be very hard. Time constraints are also imposed by the estate process itself; few people are willing to take months or years to warehouse and sell objects--these things need to be dealt with, and quickly. Families want things done and over with.

I envy those with families that do not have massive stores of heirlooms and other miscellaneous belongings. I swear that I will sell everything I own before I become old, just to avoid this exact situation.
Yeah, my dad once told me, "I'm making you a list of this and that collectible and what it's worth and..." and all I was thinking was, "There's no way I'm going to have the time to carefully sell all this stuff." (And then later caught myself making *him* a list of where to sell all of my various hobby equipment and realized there was no way I could expect him to do that, either.)

In both cases, Goodwill-- and the people who shop there-- may end up making a killing. (And honestly, I won't care. Regardless of what inherited stuff sells for, I lose nothing, because I wasn't the person to lay money out on it to begin with. If I get ten bucks for a Ming dynasty vase, that's 10 dollars more than I had before the whole affair. My biggest concern would be making enough to pay off the estate-sale company, and anything after that is profit.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
I brought many of them and some other antiques over to the sale knowing that they may have once been worth hundreds but will likely sell for tens of dollars. On the other hand, I tried to sell a number of them in the past three years with little success.
That's often the problem that I and many people I know have found. Antiques don't really sell anymore. (OTOH, whatever you have that people have no interest in when it has a price tag, say it's free and they come flocking out of the woodwork...)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
In the end, you have to simply accept that there may well be some customer who makes a profit on something form your sale of 500% or more. In fact many people are - that is why they go to estate sales. good for them.
Oh, yes. I daresay at least half, if not more, of the people who go to estate sales, etc. are looking for things not for their own personal use but to sell on. They're usually the ones showing up before it even opens and passing around street numbers. (Okay, I admit it's a bit disappointing. Especially since most sales start mid-week when many/most people are at work. By the time the weekend comes and you can get there, the sale has been on for at least 1-3 days and you know anything good is already long-gone, and with someone who's going to resell it, not use it themself. OTOH, I guess, by that time they're usually discounting what's left...)
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Old 04-22-2022, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,254 posts, read 74,425,065 times
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Originally Posted by UNC4Me View Post
Listed where? I first listed the N64 on Next Door. Crickets. Tried Facebook Marketplace and it was a feeding frenzy.

Apparently since I’d last sold anything, Next Door and Craig’s List fell out of favor with buyers and were replaced by FB Marketplace. Who knew.
I put them on Facebook marketplace and on E-bay.
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Old 04-22-2022, 04:37 PM
 
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For example Dad had a vintage Victrola record player (the one with the big horn) so things like that we will need help with values.[/quote]

A vintage Victrola could be useful as a stage prop for a community theater production.
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Old 04-22-2022, 08:19 PM
 
4,267 posts, read 6,378,084 times
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Originally Posted by scarabchuck View Post
So we have to go through things slowly. I'd say it will take two years before we can actually start organizing the valuable things. We were actually making headway...then all of a sudden Mom lost interest. We basically stopped. Learning about all these things has put cleaning out the house on the back burner.
.
And in the meantime, you're stuck paying property taxes, heating and A/C bills, and for lawn care. Hope you can speed things up.
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