Moving to a smaller home means selling stuff. What's the best way to do it?
I am retired and disabled. I have a perfect buying record on eBay but am physically unable to "sell" on eBay or in any capacity. I have moved into a very small living space and would like to sell most of my furniture, nice pictures, wall mirrors, very nice garage sale items, some limited edition prints, and a few antiques. I just need someone to come take all of these items and sell them for me, as I am unable to participate in the sale and have no relatives to help. Is there any one you could suggest I contact? I understand there would be a considerable fee.
Craigslist Is Good Option for Selling Stuff
Craigslist.org is a good option instead of eBay, especially for large items like furniture. You list your items online and people who want to purchase it locally will come pick it up. However, always be cautious about letting people come to your home.
Use Variety of Outlets
Selling household items, including furniture, through third parties involves expense that is avoided when you can sell things yourself. Pickup and delivery fees, handling fees and commissions all cut into the sale price received. If you are unable to sell things yourself, there are businesses that will do it for you, such as furniture consignment shops, pawn shops and services that sell your items on eBay. Usually, customers bring their items to these businesses for exchange, but local shops may offer additional services, such as pickup and inventory.
If you are alone and disabled, it's wise to seek some oversight from a trusted social services agency, lawyer or other trustworthy source. If you need assistance, you may find someone through church and social affiliations to help. A written agreement about what assistance you need and how you will compensate someone for it before you let anyone remove your items is recommended as a safeguard in the process.
Before beginning, get organized by starting a file or list of your items. Inventory everything you want to sell in a log, noting what prices you want, where you plan to sell it and what expenses you are expecting to pay during the sales process. Note when the item sells.
For a large variety of different items, you will have better success by using different outlets to sell. Find local furniture consignment shops to sell couches, chairs, tables and other large household furniture items. Smaller collectible and designer items sell well on eBay. More common household items may sell on Craigslist or through local classified ads. Donate items that don't sell to charities for charitable tax credits.
Using a variety of sales outlets to sell your stuff, local and online, gives you more opportunities for success. Staying organized and protecting yourself in the process gives you control and peace of mind.
Contact Church for Help with Selling Stuff
I would suggest contacting a local church to see if they would be able to help you out. A lot of churches are struggling right now, so you might offer to give them a percentage of the total sales (10% or 15%). Or you could ask if they would be willing to have their young adult group help you out, as many times youth groups give back to their community by helping those in need. My guess is that a church might take this on as a community service project, even without being offered compensation. However, if they do, I would suggest making a donation of some sort to show your appreciation. Good luck with the project.
Start Calling Consignment Shops
Look in the Yellow Pages for Consignment Shops. You are going to have to pay a fee if someone else is involved in the sale. If there are several consignment shops, call to find out their fee in advance. Some will pick up the item, so make sure that shop will do it.
Hire a College Student to Help
Contact your local college and see if there may be a college student wanting to make some extra money. You can pay them by the hour or give them a percentage of the final sale. You can do the computer work (or them) or you can have them just pack up the items and mail them for you.
Also, as a disable person, I order my boxes from the USPS, print label, and pay online. The USPS picks up from my door.
Call Local Auction Houses
We have a local auctioneer who will take items on consignment. He'll take anything from a single piece to a whole house full of items. Then he holds a public auction every one to two weeks. If I take the items to the auction hall, the fee is 25% of the selling price. If they come to pick it up, the fee is slightly higher.
To hire someone to sell for you on eBay, you would probably pay a similar or higher amount of the sale price, but with anything large like furniture or appliances, the shipping cost can be prohibitive. Also, in an auction setting, people can get a better look at what they are buying and are willing to pay more. Call local auction houses and discuss your situation with them.
Take a Tax Deduction
You may want to donate and take a tax deduction. I do sell things through eBay and consignment stores as well as auction houses to supplement my income. Because of the economy and the number of people downsizing their homes, the market is flooded right now with household goods, jewelry and antiques. Recently an auctioneer I've traded with for 20 years told me he has never seen such a "buyers market," which means it is a low price market for sellers.
Find Help Selling Stuff Online
I think I can help this person. I also found myself in this situation. Rather than call one of the local "sell it for you" companies that wanted 40% of what they sold the items for, I looked on Yahoo groups for a group of people who regularly sell on eBay. I found people in the group who were in my area and willing to help me for a smaller commission. I also had the security of knowing that this was someone who was part of a group of others who "knew" them and not someone who was going to disappear with my things as I, like Carlene, was not able to go to a shop and look at their physical location.
Take the Next Step:
- For more on selling stuff, please visit The Dollar Stretcher Community here.
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