The estate sale is over and we brought in a record haul. Tammy and Leah with Step Back in Time Estate Sales did a great job and brought in three times more money than they have ever raised. Granted, we had a lot of stuff to sale. Way too much stuff.
In fact, we left in such a hurry that friends and family were left to complete so many things on our to do list. We are forever indebted to them now. People thinking of picking up and moving to another country should not use us as an example of how to do it. So here is my post on how not to become an expat.
- Procrastinate. Your departure date will creep up on you before you know it. Don't put things off. We were still packing past the moment we should of left to the Airport. We had put off selling the cars until the last minute and even thought we were selling them to CarMAX, the whole process took longer than we thought and threw our whole schedule off. We didn't even have time to return the rental truck to the car return at the airport. Thanks Tracey for helping us out on that one.
- Take too much stuff with you on the airplane. We almost did OK on this one. I restricted every family member to two checked bags and a carry on. We went out and bought the biggest bags we could find that were still within airline regulations. I also let everyone check a standard rollaboard. The only problem... each of the big bags were more than 10lbs over weight when we arrived at checkin. We had to sit in the middle of the ticket counter area and repack everything into an extra bag we bought from the airline. It wasn't a pretty site with our undies frantically flying from one bag to another.
- Don't purge early and often. It is amazing how much stuff you collect over the years. The minute you decide to move, start throwing things out. Take all the CDs, videos and books to stores in your area that take them back for resell. It is amazing how much money we made off those things. If you are having an Estate Sale, your sellers might not be too happy about it. However, you need to declutter your house as soon as possible to get it ready to sell. eBay and Craigslist are your best friends. Also plan on several garage sales.
- Can't decide: professional estate sale vs. do it your self. As mentioned above, eBay and Craigslist can be your best friends. Also, if you are good at holding garage sales, go for it. However, if you have a lot of stuff like we did, you might consider a professionally run estate sale. The advantage is that you get to skip town on your adventure and leave all the hard work to others who know how to price everything, market the sale, run it and clean up afterwards. The downside? They take around 35% of the profits. Trust me, for a very large house it is a lot of work and they easily earn their fee. We went the estate sale route and are glad we did. We maximized our return for the least amount of effort.
- Forget to cancel everything you don't need. It is two weeks into our adventure and we are still remembering about magazines, utilities, and insurance items we no longer need or can use. Thank goodness for Skype and email. They make canceling those things from afar not too much different from sitting in Arlington, TX.