3 ways to make money when moving house


For most people, moving to a new house means discarding what many consider to be ‘junk’. Packing your moving boxes includes some difficult decisions. You must decide which things you're going to keep and what you're going to get rid of.

For the sake of time and efficiency, it's tempting to simply throw away all the stuff you don’t want to take with you to your new place. If you’re downsizing you might need to maximise space in the smaller place so certain knick-knacks just have to go.

In our throw-away society, the usual plan is to hire and park a skip bin out the front and turf all of the clutter. But before you think of spending money on skip hire, consider making a few dollars from the things you don’t want or need any more.

In fact, it’s possible to cover the full cost of moving just from getting rid of what you might consider your ‘junk’ wisely.

Here are three ways you can actually make money when you're moving house.

1. Have a garage sale.

Garage sales are:

  • Easy to set-up.
  • Easy to advertise.
  • An easy way to make a quick sale.

Most of the advertising for a garage sale can be done with hand-written street signs, flyers or online via a local group like on Facebook or Gumtree in their garage sale section.

Garage sale tips: Separate the items which you no longer need or use and plan to offload. Lay them out in your garage or undercover veranda on tables in pricing categories (under $2, $5 and $10+) the day before your garage sale. Also, be sure to visit the bank and get a bag of change.

Remember, you’re pricing things to sell. If you price them right, you’ll get buyers and make some money. Depending on the things you're prepared to get rid of, you could make a few hundred dollars in an afternoon.

Always be open to bargaining as your goal is to sell everything you can. Remember it’s better to make some money than none for something you would have thrown away anyway.

2. Sell unwanted home & garden items online.

The second-hand economy is currently a 4-billion-dollar-a-year economy. Some of the places where the second-hand economy thrives include Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and of course eBay.

For the savvy seller who is prepared to do a little bit of research, the Gumtree Home and Garden category can net you in excess of $3,000 in a single month.

Tips for selling online: Start by setting aside items which you think might sell well. Do a little bit of research to find out the price you’re most likely to get in the online second-hand marketplaces.

There are so many options online and you may be surprised what bargains people are looking to pick up. Popular items include used garden sheds, second hand mobile phones, light fittings, tiles, bricks, fixtures that are lying around in the garage and used furniture.

Be prepared to take some good quality photos of your items. Most buying choices are based on what people see. There are also plenty of guides on online marketplaces with tips to help you sell items efficiently and for the best price.

Make the description of the thing you’re selling detailed, interesting and honest. Be sure to include any defects and curious details about your item. Perhaps a brief history of the item, or the reason that you're selling it.

Be sure to publish it for sale online at a time where you can be available to manage the listing. You need to be able to answer any questions that people might have and arrange postage or a time for pick-up or delivery.

Remember too, that Gumtree is a community site so they encourage you to buy and sell locally and meet face to face. So, before you head off to sell your item make sure that you're comfortable with the person you're selling it to.

Doing this a month or so out from your move can still give you time to pack those things which didn't sell, or find alternative ways to sell or donate them.

3. Head for the local auction house.

If you have the time before your move date, selling things at a local auction house which specialises in home-wares and household items, can be a very enjoyable and profitable experience.

With an auction, it’s a more exclusive process and geared towards a narrower range of household items. Provided the things you want to off load fit the scope of the auction house, you can make some great cash, quickly.

Tips for selling items at auction houses: The first thing to do is decide which auction will suit your items. For fittings and fixtures, old furniture, right down to raw materials, there are auction houses for almost everything.

Fowles Auction Sales, for example, run home renovator auctions in Victoria. They’re a reputable place to consider auctioning unused fittings and fixtures, timber and building materials. If you’re renovating it can also be a great way to happen across a bargain.

You'll also find other auction organisations who specialise in antiques, artwork, collectables and heirlooms.

Before you go to an auction house with your things, consider the following:

Firstly, based on solid research or a professional evaluation, know what each item is worth (also known as an appraisal). Most auction houses will give you an appraisal at no cost to you.

Usually, auction houses will engage an expert in an area to carry out the appraisal. They will make an accurate estimate of the value of your item at auction.

The factors that affect pricing and a sale at auction include; how in-demand or rare the item is, as well as its current condition. Any evaluation takes into consideration current market value for your items.

There may be occasions when it's not possible for you to get an appraisal in person. In those cases, the auction house may allow you to get a photographic appraisal.

Once the appraisal is complete, the auction house will also tell you the best way to sell or auction off your items. From there you'll be able to consider a reserve price.

Bear in mind that auction houses will usually include a commission. Commissions for auction items in Australia typically range from 11 to 25 per cent.

Although there is more preparation involved in selling items via an auction, the added work often brings a greater reward if the item is rare or highly sought after.

Some auction houses may also charge a fixed price entry fee on some items, plus commission. Another consideration before you sign up for the auction option is the conditions of sale document.

Whichever option you choose, the idea of making money (when people are usually moaning about how much a move is costing them) is one you should consider. It may even make the move a little more enjoyable and a little less stressful on the bank balance.

For more tips to get organised before your move check out our guide to cutting down clutter and our week-by-week moving checklist.

Author bio:

David Anthony is the owner of Real Life Homes. Real Life Homes is a real estate, renovations and lifestyle site offering tips, reviews, property investment and real estate trends along with plenty of information on how to build, rebuild and renovate your home.

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