Sell Estate Items, Antiques and Collectibles Or Consignment Which Is Best?
Selling the contents of an estate or having an Estate Sale is a task that few people are experienced in but one that many of us will, unfortunately, have to deal with at some point in our lives. Whether due to the death of a loved one, a decision to move or downsize or because of a separation or divorce, there is no real playbook for how to proceed with selling one’s antiques or collectibles. Usually, the task boils down to one final decision before any action can be made:
Should I sell my estate outright or should I consign my antiques and collectibles?
You may ask what I mean when I use the terms “selling an estate outright” or “consign my antiques and collectibles”- I’ll tell you:
When a person consigns their antiques or collectibles they send them to an antique consignment store or marketplace for another party to sell for them. For example: asking a local antique store to sell an item in return for a percentage of the profit once the item has sold.
When a person sells their estate outright, they have an estate professional view their whole collection of items and make an offer. They are paid all at once and then the estate professional removes all of the items from their property.
Which is the best method for selling antiques and collectibles? That is a complicated question that requires careful consideration of a few different angles.
In order to consign items for sale with an antique store or another shop you first must bring the items in, then negotiate a commission rate and price the items (or trust the shop to price the items for you), and then you wait. While the primary steps will take a significant time investment on their own, waiting can be an endless task. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to anticipate which items buyers will be interested in and some things may simply never sell. Here are some examples of Antiques and Collectibles we buy so you can get an idea.
Alternatively, selling an estate outright can happen in as little as just a few days. All you need to do is make an appointment with an interested estate buyer, have them come to view your items, and then negotiate a price with them. After that, they will whisk your pieces away and leave you with money. This can even happen in under a week and you won’t have to worry about how long it takes for a customer to pay for your item.
When it comes to finding a store in which to consign your items, there is a good amount of research involved (and the burden of the hunt is unfortunately on you). A simple internet search of antique stores in which to consign your items may not turn up very many results. Many of these stores do not want to advertise that they consign items because of just how many people are looking to sell their items. It takes extra work for them to wade through a sea of inquiries until they find items that will make their commissions worth their while. Even when you find a store that wants your items, it is very unlikely that they will want all of your items. They may just pick a few to be a part of their inventory and you are stuck liquidating the rest of your collection.
Selling your estate outright is a completely different ballgame. In this case, you more often than not have the upper hand. Unlike consignment shops who don’t make any money until they sell your items (and they only make a fraction of the commission) estate buyers trade in large amounts of antiques and collectibles and buy the whole collection often. Their market is completely different and therefore they want to make the process as easy as possible for their source. Not only will you be able to get rid of all of your items in one negotiation, some estate buyers even offer to clean your space for you!
As I touched on before: after all of your hard work, consignment shops are not able to guarantee that you will ever see fruits for your efforts. Your items may sit on a shelf, collecting dust, and could even possibly break or be damaged before you see any return on your time investment in consigning them. Further, most antique consignment shops don’t offer large spaces to list an entire collection of items so you will only be able to unload a fraction of your items at a time. Your time investment paired with the potential profit you will make after the sometimes exorbitant commission rates will likely not result in a beneficial outcome.
Selling your estate outright, on the other hand, requires little to no effort, puts you in the position of being the client, and results in the payoff that you negotiate. If you don’t like an estate buyer’s offer, you can always turn it down and move onto the next offer if you so wish (which leaves you with a certain amount of control). Rather than waiting around for the right customers to trickle in and pay for your items one at a time, you can let the estate sellers deal with it while you spend your money!
Although consigning your antiques to a shop that sells antique furniture and collectibles may initially seem like the best way to sell your antiques and collectibles, upon careful review you will find that this assumption is simply not true. Selling outright is the most effective way of liquidating antiques in that this method has less of a time investment, there is minimal effort, and you are able to maximize your payoff. Even when compared to taking your items to auction houses, selling your estate outright leaves potential sellers with the most money and the least time invested.
As a tip: rather than hauling your collection around to different antique stores, places that buy estates, or to auction houses- you will spend your time much more wisely by simply taking overall images of your collection. A few images of what you have sent in an email will save you so much time and effort. Even if you are unsure of how to photograph or email images, the amount of time that you can spend learning this simple process is much less than the time it would take to do the footwork of bringing your items to a single location.
The 4 Step Process
to Selling your Estate Outright is simple
Selling the contents of an estate or having an Estate Sale is a task that few people are experienced in but one that many of us will, unfortunately, have to deal with at some point in our lives. Whether due to the death of a loved one, a decision to move or downsize or because of a separation or divorce, there is no real playbook for how to proceed with selling one’s antiques or collectibles. Usually, the task boils down to one final decision before any action can be made: should I sell my estate outright or should I consign my antiques and collectibles?
1) Use a cell phone to take overall images (group shots) of your items in a well-lit room.
2) Email or text the images to your email address (if you are unsure how to do this on your specific phone, a quick Google search will lay out steps for you).
3) Forward the images to the email address of the estate buyer, auction house, or consignment shop of your choice along with your contact info and a brief description of the objects.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as necessary until you have contacted every place that you have information for.