One of the toughest challenges faced by senior move managers can be valuing a client’s possessions for disposal. Here’s why: When a senior relocates, it is almost always to a much smaller residence. That’s why they must leave behind a lot of possessions. A senior move manager must first determine what can be moved to the new residence and what must be sold, donated or hauled to the dump or recycling center.
Most seniors will let you know where they would like the donated items to be sent, such as a thrift shop connected to their church or a smaller, local charity. If they have no preference, the larger national organizations like Goodwill will take the clothing, furniture and household items that are in good condition.
Once the senior move manager has finished sorting the possessions, they need to evaluate all the items in the “sell” pile to determine what has value and the best way to sell the items to bring top dollar. This is when internet research can quickly establish values.
Where senior move managers can find accurate valuations
There are literally hundreds of websites that allow senior move managers to find the value of even the most obscure items, like a document signed by a famous person, antique china, baseball cards, even old vinyl record albums.
eBay is the best known site, because you can find almost anything that has value listed there. eBay and many other specialized sites also offer a way to sell an item after you’ve learned how much it’s worth.
To quickly find out what an item is worth, visit www.ebay.com and go to “advanced search.” Then enter the name of your item. Where it says “search including,” click the “completed listings” button. This will allow you to see what similar items have actually sold for. To explore further on eBay, scroll down to the bottom of the home page. There you’ll find a link to “community,” where you’ll find discussion forums about every imaginable antique or collectible item.
Other valuation resources for senior move managers
While eBay is the top site for selling items, there are dozens of other sites that can help senior move managers price and sell as well. Most offer free pricing, but charge a fee, as does eBay, for selling an item. Here are a few of the more popular sites:
- Lofty.com uses professional appraisers to provide free pricing for antiques, art, collectibles and jewelry. They will list your items in their online marketplace to give the item national exposure, with a selling fee of 10%. They take care of the shipping as well.
- ValueMyStuff.com uses a team of expert appraisers to evaluate items in 50 categories, and charges $15 or so per appraisal.
- Kovels.com publishes a yearly price guide for almost a million antiques and collectibles, with prices based on actual sales. If you have several items that may be collectible, you can purchase the latest price guide at their web site. Your local library may also have a copy.
- My favorite is Collectorsweekly.com, which is linked to eBay auctions as well as many other more specialized auctions, so you can find prices for a wide variety of collectibles from postcards and baseball cards to musical instruments. To use their website, just enter the name of the item you want to price or sell, such as a Mickey Mantle baseball card. You’ll see a wide range of prices, from around $100 for an “average” quality card to over $1,000 for a perfect specimen.
In addition to the web sites that cover almost everything, there are dozens of specialty sites devoted solely to specific items, such as Beanie Babies or rare coins. Here are a few you should know about:
- Marketplace.Beckett.com – sports memorabilia
- Numismedia.com – rare and collectible coins
- Bluebook.sagese.com – used electronics, such as cameras, phones and computers
If the items you plan to sell are bulky or heavy, list them on craigslist.org. That way, they will appear in the listings for your city or area so a local buyer can inspect or pick the item up to avoid shipping expenses.
If your client has lots of items to dispose of, check with local auctioneers to see if an auction or living estate sale makes sense. To find an auctioneer in your area, do an internet search for “your state” auctioneers association.
By using these mostly free online resources, you’ll be able to quickly value most of the items you come across at a client’s home, which will save them money. In addition, with accurate pricing information, you can sell or auction the items for better prices, which also benefits your client.
For more information about starting your own senior relocation business and becoming a senior move manager, read How To Start A Profitable Senior Relocation Service.