Julie's Experience with Tobacco Road Downsizing
Updated: Sep 29
Need some tips on how to make your sale a success, feedback about why a recent client chose us and what they thought about the process? Then look no further! Mariah sat down with Julie, a recent client, and downsizer, and asked her to share her story regarding her Tobacco Road Downsizing sale at her gorgeous home in Chapel Hill.
Julie's sale, which we hosted at the end of July, was a tremendous success. When the doors opened, we had over 100 people waiting in line to come in and shop. We estimate about 1,000 people walked through her doors in one weekend based off of sales reports! Estatesales.net views were over 12,000 eyes and we ended the process with a very pleased client (and throughout!).
Keep reading to learn more about Julie's experience.
Tobacco Road Downsizing: "Can you briefly tell us why you were in need of a downsizing sale..."
Julie: "I was moving out of a 4,200 square foot house with a cottage and a pool on three acres. And I was downsizing. And in the time that I lived in that house, I had pretty much filled it all up...."
Tobacco Road Downsizing: "How did you come to select Tobacco Road Downsizing?"
Julie: "I've always liked to go to estate sales and tag sales, so I had been to Mariah's sales before and just became really good friends with them. I looked at other companies, but I felt like the size of the job could only be done by someone who has enough staff to pull it off and make it an easy thing to do. I had 3 attics full of stuff. Plus all that square footage! I knew I need a company with a staff big enough and with resources to have a smooth sale.
The other reason why I selected them is because of their expertise in marketing. That's a huge thing! It's one thing to get on an "estate sale kind of listing" in the area (such as the list of all sales on estatesales.net). But it's a whole other thing when they're using all of the venues of social media, their email list, and their connections to really drive traffic."
Tobacco Road Downsizing: "In the process of figuring out who to hire to help you and learning the ins and outs of having a tag sale in your home, what did you do to make the process easier? What would you have done differently?"
Julie: "The first thing I did was call. I said, "How do I do this?"... I was doing this by myself and I was just very overwhelmed by the size of the job. They gave me really good recommendations.
She told me to "start with the rooms that I use the least and work through the house."
It was a luxury to be able to go through the house and just pack up the things I wanted to keep and leave the things I didn't, instead of having to deal with dispersing all of the things I didn't want or need any longer.
She also told me to use blue tape (painters tape) on boxes, which was a great tip! It actually stays on! So I started packing well before and stacking up the things in the garage that I was going to take and then leaving, and using, the things that were going to the part of the sale until I moved out of the house.
I made it so I bought a house that I had access to 3 weeks before I closed on the sale house. That might have been a mistake actually... Because I found that once I got out of that house, I left to many things and I had to go back and forth and back and forth to get those last few things. I should have just done it all at once.
But as far as the sale, I packed up, got what I wanted and walked out the door and that was it!
They found things, I didn't even know I had in the house. I had never seen them before, I don't know where they came from... Past lives? I'm not sure!
I don't miss anything that I left. So it turned out well. But I gave myself a lot of time and I had a lot of help packing so I really thought it through. I need more artwork now, though! So I'll keep shopping at their sales. I plan to do this all over again...
Originally, they (Tobacco Road Downsizing) thought it was going to be a smaller sale and anticipated that they could block off parts of the house. But by the time they got finished pulling everything out of the attics, everything room was staged and full!"
Side note... Originally we didn't even plan on using the pool house. We were going to close that off, but 3 attics can hold a lot of treasures! Those that were able to join us for the sale certainly weren't disappointed about the sheer volume of treasures Julie was able to offer in her downsizing sale.
Julie: "You (Tobacco Road Downsizing) always had the customer and their comfort in mind. I think that's critical. From having coffee and passing out candies when they were waiting in line to having 4 separate checkout stations... That's just a thought of, 'Gee, what's it going to be like?'. It's not just thinking about your crew and handling the crowds and your client, but also the comfort of all of those people who come to the sale. Which makes it so they want to follow you everywhere you go! Brilliant!"
Tobacco Road Downsizing: "What advice would you give to someone downsizing and deciding whether a downsizing tag sale is a good fit for them?"
Julie: "I think that some people think of this as a very daunting task. They think that it's just easier to load up their vehicle and take the things to charity. But then they're overworking tremendously. The friends I have that watched me do this said: "Oh my gosh, I wish I had done that!"
I think people think, "Oh this is going to be really difficult!". It's not! The downsizing sale was the easiest part of moving in my view! You (Tobacco Road Downsizing) really made it easy! Once I walked out that door, and I had to stay out while you staged and got ready for it... I didn't have any issue with it, because then I could focus on getting my own new house in order and not worrying about it.
Tobacco Road Downsizing: "People don't like to talk about money or commissions, but how did it meet your expectations walking into this?"
Julie: "It exceeded my expectations of what I would get out of that sale. But like I said, there were things in there that I didn't even know I had.
It was all very smooth and easy. You came over and got the check to me quickly. It's all a very smooth process. It gives you a little bit to make sure you have things that fit in your new house. The furniture and furnishings in houses need to be to scale, so you always need to change things up when you're moving between one and the other. And this gives you a little stash to do that.
As for the commission, even though the percentage that you charge is a little higher than some others that I spoke with, the difference was you completely emptied the house after the sale. The remaining items were all moved into the garage by the day after the sale. And then you had charity come in, some furniture buyers come in and then the rest of the things were taken away from the house. That was huge.
To have to tackle that on your own and coordinate it, you could spend a career on that. It is well worth the money. It's a lot of work. It's like starting back from the get-go and trying to do it yourself.
And so, a little bit more, and that's true in most things, more expensive gave me all of that clean out, but it also brought me all of that marketing expertise that brought in way more, in the sale, than we ever thought it would. Don't look for the least expensive option.
As I walked through and looked at a few prices, I thought- "This is exactly what I would have said!" I think you (Tobacco Road Downsizing) value the things appropriately for the market. And it's different in every market. But I wasn't disappointed or felt like "oh gee, I gave that away... I should have kept that..." I didn't feel like that about anything."
We would like to thank Julie for her time to sit down with us and talk about the process of preparing for and her decision to hire Tobacco Road Downsizing to help her with her downsizing sale. We hope that her willingness to share her story with the readers of this blog shows the level of service that we aim to provide to all of our clients and answers some questions about what to expect!
If you have other questions about the process of having a downsizing sale, please don't hesitate to reach out!