tl;dr: the managed seller auction pickup process is so easy, we could have left the house for the day.
As discussed awhile back, we sold essentially everything we owned before leaving for Portugal. Our belongings were divvied into lots, and those lots were listed on a website to be auctioned for approximately two weeks. (You can read more about it at that link above to Part 8 of Moving to Portugal.) Once the auctions were completed, auction winners were slotted into times on Saturday to pick up their plunder. Three ladies from a company called MaxSold showed up about 30 minutes prior to the first scheduled pickup. (We do not have an affiliate relationship with them, they just happen to be who we used.) They went through the house making notes about where the various lots were and if any buyer had several lots to pickup (many did). They put out an A-frame with a big “MaxSold” logo on it, and divvied up responsibilities. One mostly handled the upstairs lots, another the downstairs ones, and the third the ones in the garage. Both of the downstairs ladies took turns checking IDs and managing the number of people in the house at any given time (for COVID protection). We helped a bit, but were pretty superfluous and even left before it was completely done. When we returned, we found our house tidy and locked up tight. The MaxSold team was professional and courteous.
There were a few minor issues:
- One person showed up for pickup about an hour early and sat in her truck out front until it was time. (Turns our she’d been given the wrong time by Maxsold, a minor problem and no one fussed.)
- One person picked up half her items and then lost track that she had more and left. We figured this out about an hour before the pickup window closed and MaxSold called her. She came back that evening (at our convenience) and picked up the rest.
- People came when they came, and it rarely had much to do with the time they were scheduled to arrive. This made for some VERY BUSY and intense periods when we had people getting their items while others waited in the chill because we had to restrict the number of people inside at any time.
One thing I can’t stress enough: you need to be ok with your belongings going for fire-sale-level prices. It doesn’t matter that you paid $3k for that couch from Pottery Barn, and maybe could have sold it on craigslist for $200. It sold at auction for $30. (Or even $1.) Maxsold makes it clear that part of their mission is to re-home rather than send to landfill, and you need to make that part of your acceptance process. This is probably the same emotional process needed for a garage sale, but it’s definitely true here. People hunting through these auctions are looking for steals, not for reasonably priced merchandise.
Now for the Plus!!! part of this post.
The first auction went so well, we went ahead and signed up for a 2nd auction, but this time managed by us, to get rid of the things we had to keep on hand while we waited for the house sale to close. This selection mainly included the bare necessities of furniture and sundries that we needed to keep living during the month or so that our house sold and then closed on the paperwork. So, a bed frame, a few chairs, television etc… We negotiated (that is, we asked and Maxsold gave us) a flat 30% fee on the auction.
Hard numbers: The first auction was 80+ lots and netted us just under $1000, the second auction was 28 lots and netted us just under $900.
|First Auction||Second Auction|
Unsurprisingly, you don’t “make” money from Maxsold, but doing the lots yourself nets you more. That said, $700 for someone else to put together so many lots and then manage the pickup process was worth every penny. If I were to do it all over, I would have done smaller auctions, managed by us, over 4-6 weeks. The numbers likely would have looked more like:
Three auctions $3600
potential increase $673