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Saturday, November 22, 2014

EstateMax- Our New Sister Company & Re-Sale Showroom!

EstateMax is the new name, the re-branding, for the full menu of estate and property services we will provide starting in 2015. EstateMax.net

I've been doing "this work" since 1999. Starting with Organization, Efficiency planning for interiors, Clean up of Homes, Re-arrangement of furnishings, staging and design consultation. I added estate liquidations within a few years because the need was apparent with my downsizing clients and the market was ripe with the greying of America. 

I've handled thousands of items for clients, sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of pre-owned possessions for estates and downsizing clients (one item at a time, at on-site estate sales), recycled thousands and thousands of items from properties and unfortunately trashed tons of non-usable possessions.

Now, I'm adding a re-sale showroom in Frederick, MD- to open in January 2015, to sell ends of estates, partial estates, pre-owned furnishings, decor, accessories, tools, vehicles, and anything that is sales-worthy!

 My newly appointed Director of Business Development, Steven R.Berryman, a seasoned pro in marketing and sales and sales management  of consumer goods, merchandising, construction estimating and business processes, is On Board as of December. 

We look forward to a new year in 2015 of productive transitions projects and processing lots more product sales through ON Site estate sales and IN Showroom sales. 

Please call Steve or I with your questions and requests. We welcome collaboration and referrals from realtors, estate and elder care attorneys, estate managers, physicians and social workers. 

We work hard to make our clients lives better. Let us know how you need us to help!  301-332-5585

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Teamwork, Charity and Accountability

April holds my record for running estate sales. Our team conducted 4 sales from set up, organization, conducting 3 to 4 day sales through property clean up and housecleaning on several of the projects. 

From the last weekend of March, holding a "divorce" sale, through rain and snow through the last weekend  in April the weather was in the high 70's.  On last day of the month, my final clean up day and the drop-dead date to be out of the property, we had torrential rain storms. 


Habitat for Humanity RESTORE, arrived during a lull in the storm and picked up half of the donations, and took a hike, when it started raining again, leaving behind the best pieces of furniture and boxes of donations. I had scheduled 3 weeks prior and was counting on them to do their job. Not only did they not have rain gear on board their truck, they refused to work under anything less than optimal weather conditions. 


The truck driver, a paid position at Restore, vs. a volunteer, let me know that in his opinion, he was "doing me a favor".  I was incredulous...I told him the way I look at it, it goes both ways. Teamwork is key in my business. Obviously charity needs great donations and I give them. The week prior, on my client's behalf, I had donated 9 pieces of furniture and a dozen boxes of decor. I've donated thousands of objects to charity over the past 14 years. 


Regardless, of the let down by this entitled charity, and two changes of clothing, we persisted...Thanks to my stalwart help, the landlord's cooperation, and my client's daughter, who removed a lot of the better glass and furniture that had not sold, we made it out by evening. 


I took 10 loads to the Goodwill in my Ford Transit, where I was assisted by a large man who at the receiving entrance had to step across a very large puddle many times.  He also didn't wear a rain coat, or hat or boots and seemed waterproof.  He was cooperative and considerate.  He didn't say he was "doing me a favor". 


I got my job completed on time for my client, and made money for them in the process; the landlord was the benefactor of several very nice pieces of furniture that should have gone to charity and I stopped by the Restore and told them they would never, ever again, be asked to pick up any of my donations. Ungrateful and unprofessional is what I consider them to be. 


I need a new charity who will do what they say they'll do, on time, and not leave me and my client stranded because of adverse conditions and circumstances. Please send them my way. 



MEDIA HOOKER: The Consumer Economy and Trends



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Notes From the Downsizer's Nest:


Notes from the Nest:

Common Characteristics of "Pack-Rats"- 
(in no Particular Order.) 
Note: These descriptions can be telltale signs of Mental Illness: OCD,  Depression, etc, and other physiological degenerative disease. Alzheimers, Dementia in general.

  • Denial and Resistance to change
  • Obsession with Minutiae
  • Complete blindness to overall ( mess) disarray but will fixate on things like arrangement of art on a wall or objects on a shelf
  • Does not get rid of things that no longer serve them on any practical basis.
  • Has clothing that does not fit, stashed away, in graduated sizes, for years.
  • Holds onto mounds of their children’s clothing
  • Holds onto mounds of papers, of all sorts: newspapers, old bills, cancelled checks, etc
  • Can sleep in a bed, having mounds of mixed items and their pets sleeping with them, night after night: this is called the “Rats Nest”
  • Mildew, Mold, Cobwebs and Dust is not an issue, although they might complain about it.
  • Every room might look alike because each room has the same piles of boxes and stuff (extreme cases)
  • Surfaces are unattended: countertops, shelves, tables, desk, bed, and on.
  • Lots of small framed photos on many surfaces. Too many to focus on. Used as decoration.
  • Obsession with “keepsakes” as if they are the event where they came from, itself.
  • Full Suitcases with tiny scraps of things in them, clothes, medicine, forgotten for weeks, months or years.
  • Duplicates of many items…lost track of posessions
  • Old Rotting Food in Fridge and Cabinets
  • General shoving of things to the back of cabinets, closets and piling on top of surfaces and shelves
  • Resistance to moving things out that are no longer useful or are in bad condition
  • Collecting of things, for the sake of collecting stashing them here and there. No specific interest in what is collected, just that things have “value” in their mind, for whatever emotional reason, and perhaps buy them because they know they have true market value but hold onto them, and never liquidate.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Angie's List Reviews of 2013


You Say You Want to Have an "Estate Sale"?

Unlike most estate sale companies, I will sign a contract with a client to conduct their "estate" or "downsizing" sale before they have made final decisions on what they are retaining from the estate or home,  from the sale domicile. 

I've come to realize over the past decade that knowing exactly what will be there for sale, is secondary to the sale itself- meaning, the party is greater than the guest list.  It is, of course always preferred that what the client says will be for sale, on the initial visit to the property, will actually be on hand to sell, during the period of our contract. This is a rarity, however. The day I pick up the keys defines the "NO MORE REMOVAL" from the sale inventory. 

Most "estates" are typical in the assortment of inventory they contain with exceptions of course. The dining room set, the living room sofa, two to three chairs, coffee and end tables, den with much the same. Bedrooms...it all depends on the size of the home. 
Regardless, as the "Sales Agent" it is my task to sell as much as possible for the highest return. Period. 

The exceptional estates are what all of us estate sale companies want to find: those houses packed full of antiques, old documents, collectibles, fine art and great decorative items- those things that make us ( and our client) larger dollars. 

I have been conducting personal property liquidations for 14 years. It's hard work like nothing else I've done, other than house work, or maybe mucking out a horse barn.

It demands attention to detail, a knowledge of product of many, many types, antique or used, the ability to work under pressure, a true sense of planning and organization, physical strength, good general health, managerial skills to oversee staff, the ability to think fast, on your feet, to negotiate, to handle cash ( it belongs to the client and you better have it handled properly, ) and on. Ad nauseum. It is not "fun work", I hate to say it. It is demanding in most respects. The fun comes when I add the receipts and see if I have topped my personal goal.

Over the past few years, with the decrease in gainful employment and  the increase in Television shows about "pickers" and Pawn shops, I've seen a bunch of newbies to this industry in the DC Metro. Who are these companies and how does a client decide who to hire?

Here are a few basic considerations that I feel are important to uncover when hiring an estate sale company. 

  • Who is the company? 
  • How long have they been in business? 
  • What is their knowledge base of furnishing and decor? What's their background? A lawyer, a tailor, a candlestick maker? What motivates them to do this?
  • How do they know how to price the goods?
  • References? Should have at least a half dozen very satisfied clients.
  • Do they have a "pet" group of buyers they sell to first, therefore removing product from the floor before the sale starts? 
  • How thorough is their marketing?
  • How soon do you get paid after the sale is over?
I'll be happy to answer all these and more for you. Call me anytime. 301-332-5585. Laurie





Thursday, December 12, 2013

In 2013 
Mission Transition 
and Ameri-Estates

 produced and expedited 10 estate sales- with the exception of January and December. 

Sales volume overall was a record for us- and it took total commitment to planning and organization, customer service and follow through. 

We pay our clients within 10 days of the end of their sale.(See our Angie's List Review page for our client's comments!)

 Our schedule was established a month to six weeks in advance. Every project has it's unique personality but most estates and downsizing sales have very similar qualities, too. 

We work for both small and large estate clients. Small jobs can be great treasure troves of antiques and collectibles; what dealers and the public are looking for. Family and estate representatives need professional help to liquidate these properties and clean up afterwards, and we are happy to do so.

The goal is always the same: To maximize returns for our client and minimize waste!

What doesn't get sold is donated to charity in the Washington DC Metro area OR, if the item(s) are of the quality that calls for consignment sales, we put them on-line or sell them at our TAG Sales in Frederick: The "Classique Trash" Tag Sales. 

Held several times a year, these sales are held at the Mission Transition headquarters, a stand alone row house in the historic district of Frederick MD, over a long weekend, arranged like a vintage and antique shop,  in the house, adjacent garage and parking lot. 

Please call us with all and any requests and questions regarding our services before you sign with the bigger guys.  

Since 1980 in the design and furnishing trades, since 1999 in transitions, staging and liquidations!


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