You’re at a point in your life where you’d like to move into an assisted living home, but you’ve got a huge house with 40 years’ worth of junk stored up to deal with. Oh no!
You’re an empty nester and your large house feels a bit too quiet without the pitter-patter (or thud) of teenage feet. It’s time to downsize. But you’ve got 20 years’ worth of accumulated stuff to get rid of. What a pain!
That shiny company across the pond has offered you a great job and you’d love to take it, but how could you possibly get rid of all your stuff in time to hop on a flight and get there? Help!
You could panic, you could live in your big creaky house and just continue to dream of a low-maintenance condo, or you could turn down great opportunities. Or you could call Doneen Hoffman, founder and owner of Estate Professional Services, to come and deftly remove the stress of accumulated stuff from your life.
Doneen specializes in estate sales, clean-outs, and appraisal services. All you have to do is separate what you want to keep from what you don’t, and she will handle the rest.
The Real-Life eBay
Like eBay, Estate Professional Services works with a buyer, a seller, and someone in between to buy and sell cool stuff. Unlike eBay, there’s no need to pay for shipping and handling, and Doneen sets the prices as opposed to the selling being done auction-style.
There are three ways to get rid of items in your house. One is a liquidation company, which isn’t great for the client because they will give you the lowest possible price for your items, then turn around and re-sell them for their profit. The second is an auction company, which isn’t great for the client because not only do some of them charge to store the items, but everything starts at 99 cents. Your $3,000 table might sell for $5, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The third is estate sale companies like Doneen’s, who set the prices and handle everything for you.
What Estate Professional Services does differently is understand that there may be items that clients are on the fence about whether or not to keep. Those clients have an option to have the item sold, but only if Doneen can get a certain price for it. It gives them more control and more flexibility, and no one’s $3,000 table stacked high with years’ worth of memories will go for a paltry $5.
Marketing a Sale
Doneen uses social media to reach her buyers. She takes pictures of the items she’ll be selling and posts them on estate sales websites. She creates a FB event for the sales. “It’s a soft media marketing before the sale, then the week of the sale is when we really push the marketing, where it goes on Craigslist, it gets pinned to the top of our Facebook page, it goes out to all the local Facebook yard sale stuff, everywhere,” she says.
Social media works well because she has over 6,000 followers on Facebook and her buyers and clients alike can post reviews of her services, which leads to more buyers and more clients. “People coming to the sales are the younger generation and the middle-aged generation,” Doneen explains. “The older generation is the downsizing.” Younger and middle-aged people also tend to be on social media.
Her marketing strategy has worked so well that last year, she had to turn down work left and right. She may have to do the same this year. “I’d rather have quality versus quantity,” she says. “I want to have a good sale, and if it’s a big sale, I want to make sure that we staff it correctly.” Over-committing to sales isn’t good for anyone involved.
Keeping eBay at Bay with a Personal Touch
The next big thing in the estate sales industry may well be online auctions. “I see a lot of that,” Doneen says. “But I like more the personal, going inside a home.” Sometimes sales have to be online, however. Some gated communities don’t allow estate sales. Calling them in-home parties instead can wriggle around the stringent rules for some HOAs, but not all.
As for Doneen, her future is going to involve continuing to get more qualified staff on her team and gaining more sales. She has everything else already in place.
Get Cash if You’re a Client, Find a Bargain if You’re a Buyer