Hunt & Peck

Quality Vs. Quantity: Who Wins the Estate Sale Equation?

August 17, 2021

If you are considering an estate sale as part of your downsizing plan or for a loved one’s possessions, there is a tried and true formula every estate sale agent uses to forecast the success of a sale. Remember an estate sale is a PUBLIC EVENT that is planned, staged, marketed and executed for the sole purpose of selling your stuff to the public. So, in order to guarantee a good turn out, you have to have a wide mix of stuff (QUANTITY) and a few high dollar items (QUALITY) to draw a wide audience.

Things like heirloom silver are a big draw (Photo by: Roger Schrenk) Things like heirloom silver are a big draw

If you think you’re doing yourself and your agent a favor by throwing out everything you consider junk before a sale, think again. People who go to sales want to see a house that’s untouched—like the owners just got up and left all their stuff behind. Estate sailers want to dig through your closets and rummage through your basement.


It’s the thrill of the hunt for them. Sure they appreciate an organized sale, but nothing makes the public happier than the feeling of discovery. We’ve been to several sales that were stripped of everything but expensive furniture, art and collectibles, and frankly they’re boring.

Your junk drawer is a gold mine for rummagers (Photo by: Roger Schrenk) Your junk drawer is a gold mine for rummagers

The best sales are always the ones with piles of ordinary, usable stuff and a few nuggets of treasure. So when it comes down to quantity vs. quality, the scale always tips to quantity.  Call us if you need a hand.

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When Inheritance is a Mixed Blessing

July 25, 2021

We've all seen the movie where the family hears the reading of the will. The one who inherits everything is often the target of tremendous anger, but unless "everything" is a giant container of Benjamins, the heir will likely spend at least a year turning all the assets into real cash. Thus is the burden of objects.


There are two very different kinds of inheritance. The first is the ordinary basket of Real Estate, its Contents, and Financial Accounts etc. The second, and MUCH more complicated, is Industrial Inheritance--that's when you're talking about warehouse and commercial inventory, machines and equipment--not stuff you can just throw out in the yard for a quick sale.


If you stand to inherit a business from your parents, you really need to  prepare for this daunting challenge. We have handled several commercial liquidations, and each has presented a unique set of hurdles. The greatest obstacle is always TIME--time to assess, sort, move and eventually monetize what is often multiples of identical retail or commercial goods. After you've come up with a realistic timetable, your next greatest challenge is STORAGE, or, in other words, a place large enough to secure the inventories while they can be sold off.


If you don't have the square footage to accommodate an orderly liquidation, you could run into a fire sale situation where you have to dump the merchandise for pennies. Our advice is to seek out a firm that can help you understand the scale and marketability of what you're dealing with, and INSIST on both time and space to achieve an equitable sale of the estate. If you need help, give us a call.

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The Paradox of Self Storage

July 5, 2021

Don’t worry! This isn’t another article meant to shame storage renters or skewer a legitimate and necessary industry; instead, it’s an honest look at what renters (and often their families) are left with at the end of their storage experience. 

Are you spending money to save money? (Photo by: Roger Schrenk) Are you spending money to save money?

The purpose of storage has always been straightforward—to gather and protect your stuff until you need it in the future. But when exactly is the future, and will your needs be the same then as they are now? 


After more than 15 years of handling the liquidation of estates in the DC area, there hasn’t been a single time we’ve emptied a storage unit in which the content value was greater than the expense paid to store it. In fact there is a direct correlation between a renter’s perceived value of the items (financially and emotionally) and how long he/she chooses to store them—one always justifies the other. Eventually though, time does runs out, and renters can either no longer afford the monthly expense or they die leaving their families with the burden. So what was once valuable for whatever reason is now either worthless or an additional headache for loved ones. 

If you can't see it, do you need it? (Photo by: Roger Schrenk) If you can't see it, do you need it?

The only way to avoid this outcome is to be realistic about your stuff—what’s it worth and when will you need it. If the numbers don't add up, consider selling now!

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