Thursday, 11 February 2016

Clearance Sale!

My washing machine broke down yesterday, but I wasn’t too concerned as I have two spare ones.  I’ll also be fine if the fridge packs in, if 9 guests need somewhere to sleep, if I want to host a dinner party for 20 people or if I have the urge to go skiing.  Allow me to explain….

A few weeks ago I sold a property and the owners asked me for advice on how best to clear out the furniture as they live in the UK and didn’t have any use for it.  Firstly I got the man from the ‘Troc’ round to have a look.  The ‘Troc’ is a large warehouse full of second-hand goods for sale on behalf of owners; there are several dotted around the region and they are fantastic places if you are looking for bargains and trying to furnish an empty property.  Unfortunately for my ‘owners’ while some of the suggested prices were very good, the Troc would take 50% sale commission, would charge to transport everything from the house to the depot and also wouldn’t take everything - so there would still be extra costs for taking the rest of the stuff to the tip and/or the charity shop.  The owners would have received a ridiculously small amount of cash for their furniture – so this got me thinking…..I suggested that I pay them a lump sum for the entire contents of their house, and that I would oversee the clearance of all the rubbish and unsaleable items, and also get the house cleaned ready for the sale date.

It is fair to say that on paper this had seemed like a good idea – the furniture was clean and modern and I had some clients who needed various items for their new villa, also I manage several rental properties that are always needing new items, and I have room in my house and garage to stock the ‘surplus’ and sell it at leisure.  In practice it was a different story.  The property was a village house but also had a separate apartment – so apart from the fact there were 5 bedrooms (9 beds, 7 bedside tables) there were also two kitchens (washing machines, fridges, microwaves, kitchen equipment) and two living rooms (Sofas, TVs, tables).  I also hadn’t thought too much about the contents of cupboards so there were several surprises – some good ones, such as Ski equipment, golf-clubs and a keyboard,  but also some bad ones such as out-of-date food and old tins of half-used paint. The final straw (or cherry on the cake) was the discovery of a huge quantity of garden furniture tucked away in the loft – solid teak that weighed a ton that needed removing through a tiny loft-trap on the 4th floor….. My partner and I were barely on speaking terms after all the trips it took to empty the house.

So far I think I have ‘broken even’ – but have lost the use of a spare bedroom and my garage, so if anybody needs 9 portable fans, a Play-station, two sledges, 4 sofas or a keyboard covered in Bart Simpson stickers, please give me a ring!