Estate Sales – Shopping & Selling During COVID
Estate sales, like garage sales, can be a treasure trove of perfectly good used furnishings and other items massively discounted for shoppers — while providing a source of revenue for sellers. Not all estate sales are the result of someone passing away, so you needn’t worry about sad surroundings and gloomy vibes. Lots of sales result from people downsizing or moving into senior communities who want and need to let go of lots of still useful, attractive and desirable belongings.
But the question for 2020 is, how do you stage an estate sale, or attend one as a shopper, during these COVID-sensitive times?
In a traditional estate sale, 25 to 30 people can be coming through a house at any given time. That, of course, is in excess of the governor’s COVID19 mandates about public gatherings. Douglas County went to Level Orange, Safer at Home – High Risk on November 13, and the latest mandate prohibits more than 10 people gathering in one place at a time.
Many estate sales organizers will hand out tickets and allow people in after waiting their turn, to see what’s for sale. But these days, traditional estate sales companies are also doing a lot of online events — and recording record sales. Estate owners can divest themselves of non-essentials, and shoppers can still get bargains – so that everyone feels a win-win.
TIPS FOR SELLERS
One answer for estate sales in the time of COVID is to invite only potential collectors and stagger arrival/departure times. For the seller with mid-century furniture, World War II memorabilia or vintage tools – collectors can be the best sales opportunity. Containing the Chaos advises sellers to get things professionally appraised that are collectors’ items and/or jewelry. Pricing is the trickiest part of selling items in an estate sale, and many items vary in price depending on where the sale is being held.
Remember that buyers are objective, so try not to let emotional attachments influence pricing decision. Determine the highest price you can ask, and the lowest price you’re willing to accept. For items you might otherwise throw out, consider grouping them on a table where everything is the same price, $1, $5 or $10.
For the seller who just wants to clear out a lot of belongings and doesn’t have the time or wherewithal to go through it item, by item, a public sale online might be the answer, says Matt Quinn, of Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, Virginia. Sales organizers can charge fees of six percent to upwards of 10 percent of the proceeds, plus 2.9 percent on top of that for credit card sales’ fees.
TIPS FOR SHOPPERS
Do your research at sites like EstateSales.net or EstateSales.org – where the better sale organizers list their events and often have photos and descriptions for items. You can compare prices on eBay to find out fair market value.
Traditionally, sales last three days from Friday to Sunday. On Friday items sell for the prices marked. On Saturday, they’re usually 25 percent off. And on Sunday, organizers are generally trying to clear it all out. The best pieces go first – so if you wait till Sunday to get 50 percent off, know that the good stuff will likely be all gone!
It’s expected for shoppers to negotiate on items, and even to make offers. It’s the nature of estate sales for people to want a bargain, and offer much less than an item is worth. Realize that theft is a real issue at public in-person sales, and that organizers often won’t allow large handbags to be carried through the property. Bring your cash, credit card and keys in your pocket, and enjoy the festivities!
For more tips – both for shoppers and sellers – check out this Pinterest page. You’ll find guides on the secret to cleaning vintage (and possibly mothball-smelling items) to scanning for things that may look unsalvageable (think copper, silver and crusty knick-knacks and dinnerware) but can be reborn with the right refurbishing techniques.
Castle Rock History in Crystal Valley
With Castle Rock’s history stretching back more than 100 years, there are often estate sales in the surrounds of Crystal Valley worth checking out. And there’s never been a better time to buy a brand new home set in natural surroundings in the fast-growing Castle Rock community. Floor plans and elevations vary from top Colorado builders: Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton. You can virtually visit these homes – via a variety of video chat apps! — drop by in person, or set up a private tour. Choose from ranch or two-story models — priced from the $300s.