Never Pay for a Storage Unit!
Every day, I speak with potential clients ready to free themselves of the burden of unwanted heirlooms left to them by family members and loved ones. They are uncertain about how to handle this “stuff.” My team is frequently able to provide gentle advice on the best way to settle personal property conundrums, but we cannot decide what, if any, things to keep. That’s up to our clients. Once those decisions are made, we can implement a plan to get the project under way.
Let me tell you a story:
I walk into the home of an executrix, Molly. Her parents have both passed away. Molly needs help with Mom & Dad’s “stuff” after she sells the family home.
What should she keep? What should she trash? What should be sold? What should go to Goodwill? Molly has spent the past few months arranging a memorial, managing financial reports & completing numerous other tasks. The last thing she wants to do is go through every item of the 5-bedroom home to determine what she or her siblings from out-of-state want to keep.
To complicate matters further, the siblings have different opinions about the monetary value of the belongings. Mom & Dad told the family that their heirlooms would be “worth a fortune by the time you inherit them.” Because some family members believe they are sitting on a goldmine & others think all the personal property is junk, it is nearly impossible for Molly to get her siblings to agree on what to do.
“Maybe I’ll just put the antiques in storage until my life calms down a little bit,” Molly says to me with a sigh.
No! I scream silently in my head. No! No! No!
I’ve had clients like Molly before. They are overworked, stressed, and under a lot of pressure from their families. The burden of the home contents under their care feels overwhelming.
However, putting inherited items in storage is almost always HUGE mistake. If Molly put her items in storage, she would likely forget about them (or ignore them) for at least a year. After a year of renting a $100/month storage unit, she’s thrown $1,200.00 down the drain. It is often $10,000s that families spend on storage units, and it almost never pays off when they try to sell the contents after years of disuse.
Even if Molly has high-end objects, storing them frequently results in damage. Paintings and artwork generally require temperature-controlled environments for preservation. Mildew and mold are rampant in storage units, destroying art, furniture, files, and other contents. Water damage, dust, & animal droppings are other concerns.
Rather than pay to put the contents in storage, I suggest Molly’s family receive a verbal consultation from one of our appraisers. The verbal consultation can reveal the value of what they have & provide the family with advice on the best sales methodology to apply.
Every day, the Magnusson team helps executrixes like Molly with their problems. Our verbal consultations advise families on how to handle personal property. Once you know what you are keeping, our sales teams can take care of the rest. Our estate sales typically sell nearly all the viable home contents and we can leave your home broom swept clean. Our consignment staff will sell your items in the most appropriate fashion and send you the check.
My Advice: Never pay for a storage unit! The only exception is for items that will be removed by a clear date & that you care strongly about.
If you are unsure what to keep & what to discard, hire a professional.
Remember, you hire a professional because it pays!
Co-Authors: Lynn Magnusson, ASA, AAA and Becky Lipnick, Communications Coordinator