When I first started in the Estate Sales Business almost 13 years ago, “Hey,” what did I know? Not much…!
My first estate sale was in Point Reyes Station, Ca. When I went to look at the estate, it literally was under tarps in the front and back yard of a small white clap board house close to the center of town. The heir had removed everything from her mother’s house to make it easier to paint the interior. I remember lifting an edge of the blue tarp, and looking under it, and seeing all manner of household items and collectibles…
So my partner, and I moved everything back into the house, priced as much of it as we could, and then we made the premises ready for an estate sale.
I priced everything according to my limited knowledge of collectibles, and antiques, as well as, my own raw instincts. The estate sale took place over a holiday weekend which I later learned is not always the best time to stage a sale – but like I said, what did I know?
We advertised the Estate Sale extensively
I advertised this estate sale in two of the local newspapers, and put up estate sale signs on utility poles around the neighborhood, and lo and behold they came. It seems that lots of people were looking for the perfect excuse to leave San Francisco, take a ride in the country, and add to the trip, the bonus of shopping at an estate sale in the country.
On the morning of our first estate sale, my partner and I made our final preparations to the staging of the house; having no idea what was in store for us. It was just the two of us, we never thought we would need extra help.
The house was set back from the street surrounded by a tall hedge in front of which was a white picket fence. You could not see the street from the house, it was private and cozy back there. I left my partner in the house, and I walked towards the gate to let the people in – I was kind of excited. As I got closer to the gate, I could hear the sound of many people talking, and when I arrived at the gate, I saw that there was quite a crowd of estate sale shoppers there.
Estate Sales crowd control is important…
But like I said, what did I know? I let them all in at the same time…it was like a stampede – 50 or 60 people intent on finding bargains descended upon and entered the house.
I followed them all in, and standing at the front door, I can still remember looking across the front room, over the tops of their heads, to my partner, both of us with puzzled faces, and shrugging shoulders as if to say, who knew?
People loved this estate sale, they snapped up arm loads of dishes, linens, collectibles of every shape and size, and then proceeded to my hastily arranged cashier’s station in the front yard. It was incredible. There was a line at times as long as twenty, or thirty people, and they just kept on coming all day.
I learned a lot about the estate sales business during this sale, and the first thing I learned was that people will buy the most surprising things. And the second thing I learned was that I had to do much better homework, and learn how to properly price things.
One of my favorite Estate Sales Memories…
One of my fondest memories of this estate sale, was when the owner of the largest estate sales company in San Francisco arrived. She, and her family had a second home in the Point Reyes Station area. I had shopped her estate sales in San Francisco many times, so I knew her fairly well. She asked me if I had any costume jewelry for sale, and I said that I did, but that I had not put it out because I did not know how to price it. She asked if she could see it, and I set her up in the bathroom, away from the clamoring masses to look at it.
Every once in a while I would check in on her, and there she was, the undisputed queen of the San Francisco estate sales business, sitting on the edge of the tub, in the bathroom of my first estate sale, going through a mound of costume jewelry…which she of course purchased for a song…but like I said, what did I know?
My name is Martin Codina and I am an estate liquidator who loves his job…