skip to Main Content

Sell This, Not That


IT’S A SITUATION MANY of us will face one day, if we haven’t already: A relative dies or goes into a nursing home, leaving the survivors to figure out what to do with all the nice things left behind. Or, before you arrive at that point, you or your parents may decide to dispose of most of their belongings and downsize in a big way. Most people expect to see some financial return when they sell off belongings they’ve accumulated over a lifetime, but not all will. The challenge is figuring out which belongings have value and where to sell them. For most families, the dilemma is how to dispose of belongings most efficiently without inadvertently discarding something of significant value.

For many, finding a way to sell the items isn’t the most difficult part. It’s the time it takes along with recognizing belongings are tied to memories. This makes it harder to let go and harder to arrive at an object’s value. Fights over belongings can also lead to family rifts, which is why it is important to figure out a fair system of dividing things among family members.
While you can look to kijiji or ebay and other online sites for guidance on what some pieces are worth, remember that a listing price isn’t necessarily a sale price. My concern is when families decide to take this task on themselves. Many people vastly overestimate the value of their furniture and collections. Antique furniture and collectibles that were highly desirable 20 years ago may not be worth what you paid for them today. The young adults – they’re not really interested in old things and older are trying to downsize themselves. Thus leaving fewer buyers for your items.
Older people and those on a deadline may prefer to hire a company to come in and dispose of most of the estate, selling the items of value and donating the rest. It’s more beneficial in time and energy if you find one company that can handle the sale of items of value, disposing of items, donating, cleaning and the sale of the property. This can be done in one price and paid on the sale proceeds of the home.

From my experience, any good appraiser with experience can walk through a house and tell you in a fairly short time whether there’s anything valuable or not. That’s why it’s so important to have a company, like Winnipeg Estate Sale And Downsizing Services who has that connection to seek buyers for valuable items such as antiques, jewelry, signed paintings and furniture, both real and costume jewelry and midcentury modern items, which are popular now. Should you have the time and knowledge to do it on your own, please see my tips below to help in the process.

Here are five tips for selling off an estate should you decide to do it yourself.

1.Identify items that may be valuable. Do some research to discover what those items may sell for and where you can sell them. This could include online research, visiting antique stores and calling auction houses and vintage stores.

2. Bring in a professional if you need help. If you can’t value items yourself, hire an expert. An appraiser can give you a realistic view of what items might sell for and which items are worth your time to market.

3. Make sure family members get a chance to take mementos. This could involve drawing lots, a family meeting or inviting family and friends to take items from those you don’t plan to sell. Determining which items should be should be sold will vary according to the preferences and needs of the family. A simple discussion among family members often helps make this decision.

4. Decide whether a yard sale is worth the work. People who go to yard sales expect to get rock-bottom prices. If you have enough good items, you may recoup several hundred or even several thousand dollars. But if you don’t have much to sell, you might be better off donating and taking a tax deduction.

5. Do your due diligence before hiring a company to handle the sale. Get referrals from trusted professionals, check credentials and make sure you outline everything in a written contract, including what percentage the company will take and how much prices on the items will be lowered from what has been originally discussed. Understand that this option, while the quickest, is likely to yield you the smallest amount of money.