As you can imagine, I receive all kinds of emails searching for answers, needing guidance, and some which also center around “How much is my stuff worth?” But every once in a while, I get an email that just about knocks me off my chair. Here’s a sample:
“Everything I own is very expensive and worth a fortune. I know this because I pay a fortune for quality. I have unique and very expensive collections, including a large assortment of cut glass pieces. All of these currently sell on E-bay for high amounts and a lot of them could sell in the $1,000s. I also have a collection of collector plates that are worth several thousand dollars. I have a Hummel collection worth at least one thousand dollars. I have a shoe collection worth thousands of dollars. I have several other smaller collections that are worth thousands. Even my older furniture is worth thousands. Can you sell them for me?”
Surely, you jest! While I always do my best to assist and even educate my clients so they can empower themselves to make the right decisions, there are some people I just can’t help. They won’t or can’t accept the whole picture. This person is one of them.
Despite my best intentions, you just can’t squeeze blood from a turnip. The market will bear only what it will bear, and their cut glass or shoes or Hummels are really not that much different from the rest of ours. It is unfair to apply this kind of unreasonable thinking and pressure to a professional in the industry, who can only do their best in a very soft market. Often the blame and complaint lands on the estate professional, when in reality we have done our best, and our best just wasn’t good enough for the client. Some of this will fall back on how well we discussed “expectations” of what things will sell for.
Other reasons for the motivations behind selling are numerous. Perhaps this person needs immediate financial relief from the sale of those items. Perhaps the person is not well. Maybe they really do believe their things are worth a fortune because they paid so much for them. As you’ve heard me say before, what you paid for something means nothing now. If I invest several hundred dollars in designer shoes, in the end, they are USED SHOES, designer or not.
Perhaps she doesn’t want to see it, but I wouldn’t be The Estate Lady® if I didn’t reply with my usual flair. So, I gathered my senses, did some sales comparables online which I could share in the form of “SOLD” prices, in easy links they could click on. I wanted to show them ever so politely, that their things were not worth what they originally thought. They are not selling for thousands. They are selling for $25, maybe a little higher or lower. I get the feeling they didn’t like that.
It took me a lot of time to find and send that information to them; I never heard back from them. I guess they just weren’t ready to hear what I had to say. I silently lifted up a quick prayer that no matter what challenges they were experiencing, someone out there could be more help to them than myself.
Unfortunately, someone like that will never change their thinking no matter how much proof is offered. Many years and ample experience have taught me they would only be upset with me, even if I did my very best.
I wish them well.
©2014 The Estate Lady®
Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.
No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent. Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com