If all of us at Next Chapter got together and ranked the questions we get most often from one to ten, we imagine our most frequently asked question is: “So, what do you think it’s worth?”. Of course, we completely understand why our clients want to know how much money they can make on their cherished household goods. Given that we set up the houses as retail “stores” and don’t really do auctions, determining the value of each piece is important.
The simple answer is that it’s worth what people are willing to pay. As our dad used to tell us, something is not worth anything unless you can sell it. Although that may sound like a curt answer, that’s pretty much the truth.
Of course, we at Next Chapter have a couple of actions we take to determine a more detailed answer. Here’s a few ways we look at things:
• Age. This point is pretty obvious, but we all understand that the difference between an antique and a vintage piece is its age. As a rule of thumb, a simple item that is an antique sells for more. The challenge is determining age where there are no records to back up the claim.
• Condition. The Next Chapter valuation folks add the condition of the piece to the equation as a way of determining how that affects value. So many factors affect condition, and all of them are used as we review items.
• Market. Certain types of items sell better in different markets. We’ve seen what sells well in Greensboro, for example, doesn’t do as well in Charlotte. Certain collectibles have a stronger market in certain areas. We use our experience to estimate value.
• Authenticity. Is it really an Edwardian Desk as your grandmother claimed or is it more of an Eddie desk from the 1950s? (It could be a great reproduction, but not authentic nonetheless.) There are tricks to determining the truth!
At Next Chapter, we use a number of resources to come up with our best estimate on the value. One thing we always remind our customers is that it’s to our advantage to get the best price possible in order for everyone involved to make the most money. After all, that is the main goal!