The last couple weeks have continued to be busy ones. It feels like the beginning of May was just last week! Alot of things have been happening to ready the house for closing. Our estate sale went well with just a couple hiccups, like the estate sale staff locking themselves out of the house one morning! Now I can look back and laugh, but then it was a bit of a panic moment to figure out how to get them into the house since our real estate agent was about to board a plane for Washington DC and I didn't have the latest lock box code. So how did the estate sale go? Would this be a route we would take again to liquidate all of our belongings? Great and oh YES!!
When we last wrote, we had moved the boys and we moved into the RV in the driveway. On Tuesday, the estate sale staff began to set up and organize everything. This is the piece I dreaded doing myself the most. Although we have not hoarded items over the years, there was still a bunch of stuff in the storage room and work room, not to mention the garage and shed. I was absolutely amazed that by the end of Tuesday, almost everything was out on display. It was surreal to walk thru that evening and see everything you had acquired over the years set out for sale. And yes, there were things we forgot we even had. More than I care to mention! LOL
Over the next two days, the staff organized and priced everything. This I think is the critical point for folks considering using an estate sale company to sell their belongings of any amount. Obviously, most of your belongings have a sentimental value as well as a dollar value to you. Let's face it, you used your hard earned money to buy all of this stuff and dang it, it has alot of value (to you). I purposely put that in parenthesis because it is true...what you may value your items is quite different than what someone looking to buy it, would value it. This is why I hired professionals. They do this day in and day out. Not only does this company hold estate sales but they also go all over the country buying at estate sales. They understand what prices an item will sell for. Prior to them pricing, we had a great conversation about this very topic. Let me demonstrate with our dining room set. This set was a beautiful tiger wood table with extension and 6 padded chairs, two of them being armed captains chairs. We bought this set in Georgia when we moved into our new home where we had a formal dining room. We wanted a statement piece and this beautiful tiger wood table was it. We paid over $3,000 for the set, which back then was alot for us. In talking with the estate sale staff, they asked, are you looking to get top dollar or are you looking to get rid of things. He said since they are constantly buying and selling things, he could price the set for top dollar and it probably would not sell at the estate sale, but he would then take it back to his warehouse and in the next year, could probably get a higher price for it. Or, the other option was to price it competitively to sell. He said some people have a very strong attachment to things and want top dollar and others want to get rid of things. We decided to be the latter. We had come to the state of mind that things are just that...things. We can get more "things" later if we want. For our purposes, we needed to get rid of everything and we were not about to come back after the sale only to find a house full of stuff because we were priced too high. So with those marching orders, the staff went to pricing everything to sell. EVERYTHING was for sale. From furniture down to copier paper and cleaning supplies and everything in between.
The sale started Friday at 9am and was to run through Sunday. By the time Rick and I left the RV at 7am on Friday, there was already someone parked on the road and more coming in. Friday proved to be a super busy day, as was Saturday and Sunday for that matter. They stopped trying to count the number of people coming through and estimated a couple thousand. They said that Friday morning was like a Black Friday morning sale. People were running through the house looking for specific things that they wanted to claim. Many family and friends came to the sale, as well as neighbors, but what surprised us was when the sale staff called us to ask if the new owners of the house, who had just bought most of the furniture and wall hangings, could keep the items in the house rather than move them out and move them back in when the house closes. On the first day of the sale they bought over two thousand dollars worth of stuff, and then bought more on Saturday and again on Sunday. Yes, they came every day and continued to buy more, including that dining room set! I think they really like the house...and our belongings!
Once it was all said and done, almost everything sold, including cleaning supplies, liquor and shelves of yard tools and fertilizer. We had some misc items left and we had family and friends come back through to take what they wanted. Most of the remaining will be donated. We did have the option to have them clean everything else up and take it to donate or throw out, but we felt that we would dispose of the rest and donate to get the tax write off. As of today, there is only a couple boxes to donate and the house is empty...except for the items the new homeowners bought. Looking back, I would absolutely hire an estate sale company again. They took care of everything, including advertising and all the hard core bargain hunters that wanted alot for nothing. We did not make a fortune, but we set our expectations low and were pleasantly surprised. Communication with the estate sale staff was great and I would highly recommend them to anyone in the greater Milwaukee area. Ford Bros. Trading Company 414-305-3865, http://fordbros.net.
One highlight of the sale happened Saturday afternoon when we came back to the RV to get some items. The sale was still in process and there were many people mulling about, when we heard someone talking to their kids about the house and recounting some memories of when they lived there. We turned around to find the original owner/builder that we bought the house from. This house was a labor of love for him and it held alot of memories. He found out we were selling from his parents and came to show the kids the house, since they were very young when they sold it to us. We had a good time going through the house with him, showing him the upgrades we made and he said that if he knew we were selling he would have bought it back. His goal is to someday buy it back as his retirement home and he loved everything we did to it, which was a real compliment. Just then the estate sale folks said that if we would have been there 30 minutes earlier, we could have met the new homeowners and had all three owners there at once.
All in all, it was a good weekend and we are glad to be past that point and now focusing on the closing and activities that go with it. We have a minor repair to make, a radon system to have installed and the well and septic testing. Everything else is on target to close on June 29th.
Also during this time, we needed to help find a new (used) vehicle for our oldest son, since his current car was dying a slow death and would not pass emissions testing without alot of work. This turned out to be a quick and painless process and he now has a reliable vehicle he likes.
We also got in a great camping trip to one of our favorite parks, Astico County park. We try to camp here once a year with family since it has nice big sites and is a great place to camp as a group. The weather was beautiful, in the high 60's, and we enjoyed celebrating our oldest's 21st birthday. The weekend was full of games, walks and campfires. We had hoped to get out in the kayak but that just did not pan out with everything else we wanted to do. I will say that the strangest thing was getting ready to leave for the campground. This was the first time we did not have to load food, clothes and all the misc into the RV for the camping trip like we usually do. Since we are now living in the RV, it was a matter of hooking up and leaving. That was really slick! We could get used to this!
Here are a couple pictures from our camping weekend.
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