6 Tips on Selling Your Stuff: Navigating the Selling Process with Appraisers, Estate Sales, Online Sales and Consignment Shops
Are you looking to sell furniture, antiques, collectables, jewelry or other household items? It can be a daunting task, especially when you don’t know where to sell something, or what is worth selling rather than donating.
I recently attended a meeting of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, North Carolina Chapter about navigating the selling process. A panel of three experts, Chris DiGiovanna of Trader Chris Consignments, Ltd., Gay Gasper of Gay Gasper Estate Sales and Appraisals, and Blake Addison of Classic Treasures Furniture Consignment, provided great tips on this process.
Current best-selling items:
- Mid-century modern furniture
- Fine Jewelry
- Sterling silver
- Leather sofas
- Items with historical context
Worst selling item:
China Cabinets – There’s very low demand for these nowadays, it is best to donate these to a charity.
6 Tips on Selling Your Stuff
1. Sell an item while it still has value
If you take care of your items, keep them in good condition, and sell when they are in high demand, you will get the best price. Items that have become rusted, moldy, or damaged in other ways may no longer be valuable.
2. Know the item’s history
Sell an item when you know what it is, and can prove it. For historical items, such as things passed down through family, it is best to be able to trace the chain of custody. If you have detailed provenance with a photo, letter, affidavit, or even an audio or video recording about the history of that item, it can raise the value. Talk to your grandparents and other relatives, and get the history of these items now.
3. Not everything is worth selling
In estate sales, the seller will try to sell almost everything during the sale. However, if you are bringing single items to consignment or selling on eBay or elsewhere online, know that some things are of value and worth the time and effort of selling, whereas other items are better off being donated.
4. An appraisal price is NOT the resale value
When you have a valuable item appraised for insurance purposes, it can cover the full retail replacement value if it were to be damaged or stolen. However, when you’re trying to resell this item, the popularity of the piece determines the price. According to the experts in this panel, the actual resale value is usually only 20% to 50% of appraisal price.
5. Have realistic expectations
In most cases, you will not be making back what you originally paid for the item. The price you get will depend on demand, popularity, and what the shoppers are bidding or willing to pay.
6. To ease the selling process, work with professionals
Although you may be able to sell every item one-by-one on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, think about the time and effort it will take for you to inventory, photograph, write descriptions, price, advertise, respond to potential buyers, and then arrange for purchase and pick-up. By contacting an online reseller, consignment shop or estate sales company, they will do those things for you. Yes, they will take a percentage of the sale, but they will save you time, and use their expertise to get the best prices for your belongings at their current value.