Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

How to sell what where

By
From page C4 | January 18, 2013 | Leave Comment

No sooner did I put out my cry to the universe — “Help! I have to clear out my elderly parents’ stuffed-full house and I don’t know what to do with it all!” — than it answered.

My super-second-hand-sales-savvy friend Aaron LaPedis flew into town.

The author of  “Garage Sale Millionaire” (Wiley) had come to Orlando to visit theme parks with his wife and 3-year-old son. I took it as a sign — divine deliverance. LaPedis graciously interrupted his adventures at The Happiest Place on Earth and squeezed in coffee with this neurotic home columnist between visits to Sea World and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

He swore he didn’t mind listening to me blubber about my home-life problems when he could be meeting Disney princesses at Epcot. That’s the kind of guy he is.

What’s more, the garage-sale guru slash art-gallery owner is just as at home at a high-end antiques auction as at a low-end yard sale. The Donald Trump describes him this way: “Aaron sees opportunities that others can’t.”

I mean, the guy buys abandoned, unopened storage lockers (ones in better ZIP codes) for a flat fee. Like buying an oyster from a pearl diver, he never knows what’s inside. Dead bodies? A Steinway Baby Grand? He takes what he gets — bust or bonanza — then sells it.

“But how do you know what to sell where, and for how much?” I ask. This is the skill set I need as I sift through mom’s old jewelry, dad’s tools, their furniture, art, dishes, collections and the random detritus that once meant something … if only to them.

May the force be with me.

“So you want to liquidate,” he said, summing up my 15-minute rant.

Like men often do, he changed everything in a word.

“That’s it!” I said. “I’ve been thinking about this all wrong! I’m looking at this job as disassembling my parents’ past! As writing the final chapter to a bygone era! When I’m just liquidating! Selling assets that can help pay for their long-term assisted living.”

Light bulbs were flashing in my brain like paparazzi. The pure obviousness was dawning on me. “I’m being sentimental when I need to be practical! Oh, Aaron! You’ve helped me reframe everything!”

He looked at me as if I needed a tranquilizer, and nodded politely.

“A lot of people are turning stuff they don’t want into cash right now, for other reasons,” he said. “They see the bills coming in from Christmas and feel that credit-card hangover.”

“I’m liquidating, not erasing history!”

More polite nodding, then LaPedis offered me this golden advice on what to sell where, which you, too, can use whether emptying a loved one’s home, downsizing or trying to get ahead of the bills:

  • Garage sales. Host one to sell household stuff  under $100: garden tools, baby furniture, kitchen ware, clothes, “stuff you would never take the time to put on Craigslist,” said LaPedis. Garage sales bring in money right away and they’re free. Inside tip: Accept only cash.
  • Craigslist. Like a yard-sale online, Craigslist is perfect for those who want fast cash and don’t want to pay someone else to sell their stuff. It’s the place for larger, lower-end items, like bedroom sets, office furniture and appliances. Because buyers are local (or should be) you skip shipping costs. Inside tip: Sell only to buyers who will pick up the item. Accept only cash. Never checks, certified funds or wired money. When a buyer is going to meet you, have someone with you.
  • eBay. Sell smaller, more valuable items like collectables and fine jewelry through this online trading site. You will likely get the highest value, but will pay eBay and PayPal fees and shipping. Inside tip: Use PayPal. It’s the safest payment method as it protects buyers and sellers. Never send anything without a signature required. LaPedis also recommends insuring shipments.
  • Venders. You can sell your items to a reseller, such as a flea market, antique shop or second-hand store, but be prepared to get only about 25 percent of the value.
  • Jewelry buyers. Despite what you (or your relative) paid, expect to sell gold and silver jewelry for meltdown value. The exceptions are collectible coins, fine watches and jewelry from high-end designers. (Think Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier.) Jewelry stores will buy your gold for its weight and purity. Go to a few buyers and compare offers. “Never put your gold in a bag and ship it to one of those outfits online and wait for a check. You will be at their mercy,” he said.
  • Pawn shops. Go only as a desperate measure. Pawn shops will typically offer you only 10 cents or less on the dollar.
  • Collectors: Rare books and coins do sell on eBay, but sellers may do better going through an auction house, like Heritage, which specializes in selling items made in multiples that are collected in sets. Big time collectors may scan eBay but feel more confident buying at auctions, where a professional has reviewed the item. Inside tip: Auction houses will typically take 10-to-15 percent. Find out up front.
  • Auctions. Consider taking antiques and fine art to a local antiques dealer, who can take them to an auction. But if your item is worth more than $5,000, contact Sotheby’s or Christie’s in New York, about selling the them at their auctions.

May the force be with you.

Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through marnijameson.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

Greenwood School being restored

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Cal Fire increasing staffing, hiring

By Cal Fire | From Page: B1

EID restricts watering days

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1, 10 Comments

 
Lover’s Leap fall injures man

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A1

EDH Fire Dept. annexing Latrobe

By Noel Stack | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

 
Motorcycle fatality in Greenwood

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Tea Party meeting April 17

By Tea Party Patriots Of El Dorado Hills | From Page: A3, 46 Comments

 
Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking May 1

By El Dorado Hills Community Vision Coalition | From Page: A6

Floating body not a body

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A7

 
Old mill a goner

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A11, 12 Comments | Gallery

.

Letters

A great big thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Murder? Suicide?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

‘Drive Clean’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Middle class getting poorer?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 48 Comments

Real estate lies

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 13 Comments

 
.

Sports

Outside with Charlie: Switch gear

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A8

 
Ponderosa volleyball is a family affair

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Aussie team makes visit

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A8

 
Griz have challenging day

By Mike Bush | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Roundup: April 15, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

At a glance: Take aim on fun

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Men to walk a mile in her shoes

By Center For Violence-Free Relationships | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Runners stampede for Sugarloaf scholarships

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Team works to fight disease

By Placerville Kiwanis | From Page: B3

 
COOL School is accepting applications

By Rescue Union | From Page: B4

Band of Miwoks fund mission

By Shingle Springs Band Of Miwok Indians | From Page: B12

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: March 25-27

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Weather stats 4-15-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Numa Edward “Ed” Roberts

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Ronald Russell Rohrer

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Horoscope, Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A10