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Should Kids Be Selling/Buying Online?

 

Online shopping is at an all-time high,with trends predicting one thing to come: more growth.

There’s really never been a better time to join…

…that is, if you’re an adult.

 

 

 

Online transactions have become common, almost expected in fact, with the clicking of buttons and sending of messages happening rapidly and with ease.  But it’s a whole different experience for a child… one that’s rather sophisticated and complex, actually.

Let’s walk through some of the main components involved in online transactions.  Each one will get a rating:

“child friendly” — “questionable” — “not best for children”

  1. Finding the Right Item: For shoppers, finding the “right” items require a decent amount of thought and attention.  Used items get tweaked (clothes hemmed, items upgraded, etc.), pictures may not match descriptions, electronics aren’t always compatible with all products, specific conditions may apply … the scenarios are unlimited.  Searching for products often requires attentiveness to detail and needed specifications.  For an adult, this can be quite the task to mentally map and organize.  For children? Might as well ask them to go memorize the dictionary.
    • Our final vote on finding the right item: Not best for children.
  2. Inquiring with the Seller: Essentially we’re communicating with strangers.  Back-and-forth asking questions to learn more about the product; offering answers to potentially many questions; sending or asking for feedback to reflect your online experience; even following up for confirmation.  Most online shoppers know the routine. But will your child be able to do all of that with confidence?
    • Our final vote on inquiring with the seller? Questionable.
  3. Negotiating Offers: Adults know the tricks of the trade: ask for more than you think you may get, verbally contemplate when lowering the price, offer a price in the middle between your asking price and their offering price, etc.  Success with reading between the lines and negotiating to your benefit isn’t a natural skill set.  It comes from a lot of societal interaction and experiences.
    • Our final vote on negotiating offers: Not best for children.
  4. Payment: With bank accounts being connected through PayPal, digital receipt options saving paper, and cell phones now processing payments, credit cards are starting to seem so old fashion.  The convenience is welcomed for many.  But for children, depending on their age, odds are slim they will pay by one of those trending ways, let alone with their own credit card.  Even if they arecomfortable using a credit card, odds are high it’ll be someone else’s like a parents or siblings.  This means that the person who is responsible for anything that happens it the adult. Not the safest bet.
    • Our final vote on payment: Not best for children.

*Don’t forget: you may be able to influence your child, but you won’t be able to influence what (adult rated) content they come across.

So there you have it. For 3 out of the 4 processes involved with buying and selling online, vote has it they are “Not Best For Children.”

 Here’s a few safe ways you CAN get your child involved (especially if it’s their items):

  • Have your child sit with you while you search for a specific item
  • Talk them through what things to look for and what things to avoid

Ex: “Look for ads that are in your area/city. It’s easier that way so you can see the product before you buy it AND also save on gasoline/shipping costs.”

Ex: “If you see an ad that doesn’t have a picture, keep looking.  You want to be able to see for yourself what the item looks like.”

  • Ask them if they can think of any questions for the seller/buyer – and then share the questions you’d ask.

This is all great exposure that comes with protected experience – a win/win situation.

Proactively help your child(ren) learn about the online world of transactions, as it won’t be long before they’ll be in the thick of more technological growth and teaching you!

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Crucial Real Estate Photo Tips

No matter how many times someone tells you not to judge a book by it’s cover, there’s that little part of you that just can’t help it!  If the cover looks boring or awkward… well, let’s face it, you’ve just lost some interest.

 

The same holds true with pictures of your home you’re trying to sell.

As someone who has been scouring the market for months for just the perfect home, I can personally attest to the simplicity & effectiveness of the below suggestions.

 

FIRST STEP SUGGESTIONS:

For those looking to utilize only the basics, while still having a shot at great photos.

  1. BRIGHT & LIGHT.  This suggestion is #1 for a reason.  If you look at professional photos, the one thing you’ll always notice is the grass is greener than green and the sky bluer than blue. And the sun seems to be shinning. Heck, the birds would be chirping too if you could hear them.  Why?  Because it sells.  When people are house-hunting, they’re on a mission for their “perfect home.” And nothing helps that more than a “picture perfect” feel with the curb appeal.
  2. MORE & CORE. A picture of the front of the house, a back yard view, and a kitchen view. Sorry, but unless that’s all your house contains, we want to see more! It’s all those other things, combined together, that help make a house into a home.  However, the second part of the saying is crucial, too.  “Core.” Your core is what’s at the very center, it’s the basic foundation, it contains a lot, but it’s the main thing.  And that’s the type of pictures that are best.  Don’t worry about the storage room that’s full of junk and the extra walk-way that’s kind of confusing to understand in a picture.  Stick to the main room and any “extra’s” that make people excited – like fireplaces, walk-in closets, large porches, or Jacuzzi baths.
  3. CLEAN & LEAN.  Moving is messy! But your pictures can’t be. Just like a bad book cover, a bad picture decreases someone’s eagerness to discover more.  Furthermore, rooms that are full of clutter make it hard for the buyer to envision how they’d stage that room.  Which results in one thing: confusion and discouragement. So pick up the mess, tidy the rooms, and de-clutter all the “extra” stuff.
  4. CLEAR & NEAR. Even if you have no place to go and your house is full of your living items, there are still solutions available to get great pictures. Your best-case scenario would be to clear select items out of the range of the camera while you take some shots of the house.  For example, move the beanbag chair, extra lamp, and picture frames off the wall in the living room when you take pictures.  And move the desk and pile of books/magazines out of the bedroom when you take a picture of it.  The second part of the suggestion is also helpful: keep it near.  No need to take a picture of your giant room and have the excess of wall and ceiling space in the photo.  Stay near to the main subject of the photo.

 

NEXT STEP SUGGESTIONS:

For those looking to take it to the next step.

  1. SIMPLE EDITS. Even if you don’t have Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, chances are you, or a friend, have Windows Photo Viewer, or an editing option that comes on the program you use to upload pictures to your computer.  Here are 3 recommended edits that will doll up that photo just right: (1) increase the contrast, (2) crop out unnecessary parts (ceilings, extra wall space, etc.), and (3) slightly enhance the saturation. If those last 3 tips were like reading a foreign language, here’s a translation: it will enhance the richness of the picture, enhance the colors to be brighter/deeper, and make the photo more balanced. Voila!
  2. SIMPLE STAGING. Depending on how close you are to moving, you’re either living with everything in your house still, living somewhere else with your house empty… or some combo of the two.  If you can afford to, leave the big items in the house: couches, table, flowers in vases, made beds, dressers, shower curtains, etc.  It helps warm it up and make the home feel welcoming.  And if you can’t make the home look completely staged, just leave a few items.  In one house I recently went to look at, it was completely empty sin 1 modern chandelier that hung in the entryway.  Even just that 1 light fixture, that they had intentions on taking with them, made a huge difference.  Maybe it’s a lamp, an extra couch, a glass kitchen container or two, or a pool table.

No matter how little you know or not matter your level of confusion.  Remember this: pictures are worth a potentially buyer looking at your home or not.  It’s 100% worth it to invest a little time and energy into this project.

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Items That Are Best To Sell Locally –VS- Nationally

If you cannot easily package the item up, pay for shipping, and/or transport it to the post office? You may need to consider only selling it locally.

 

The list of items people sell range from A-Z… plastic decorative fruit and kitchen ware, refurbished antique cars and used appliances, outgrown clothes and furniture, etc.  While there’s not necessarily a right/wrong decision to whether you sell locally or nationally, there is some strategy behind making a good decision.

The following items are a few of the most popular things that are currently being sold online.  Let this list not only help you in determining whether selling LOCALLY or NATIONALLY would be best, but also let it serve as a guide; Do you have any of the following items sitting in your storage room or unit? Have you contemplated selling 1 or more of the following before? Are you need of upgrades?

Perhaps this list will inspire you to sell some stuff, making some room, and profit some cash…

  • Children’s Toys Legos, figurines, dolls, stuffed animals, cars/trucks, battery powered entertainment… this is one of the broadest categories of things you’ll see.  A lot of children’s toys are in high demand.  So much so that buyers are willing to go out of their way to come get it (drive several hours, pay for shipping across states, etc.).  You may be doing yourself a financial disservice if you only took bids from the locals.  The other important factor here is what the buyer normally wants to know about children’s toys; 1- does it work & 2- what kind of shape is it in.  Those are questions that can easily be answered via email and pictures.  Our vote is NATIONAL all the way.
  • Vehicles / Furniture / Appliances: You love your couch, your friend would rather the sleep on the floor.  You hate the way your car drives, your mom loves it. You think your refrigerator is outdated, your sister would take it in a heartbeat.  There’s a reason dozens of makes and models exist.  Personal opinions come in every form possible!  And in addition to pure opinions, we’re dealing with maintenance, care, condition, storage, history, and too many other variables and estimations that aren’t black and white.  Not to mention that selling larger items like vehicles also includes transferring the titles, so add legality procedures to the list of variables.  Needless to say, these is a complicated items to sell and even more expensive to package and send.  We recommend you stay LOCAL.
  • Jewelry / Memorabilia / Collectibles: Luckily, size doesn’t impact this decision. So shipping it isn’t too much of hassle (and won’t cost a ton either!).  But!  Beware that the value of the item needs to be taken into consideration.  Insurance is a must with shipping. Remember though, even if you declare a value of the item for insurance purposes, that doesn’t ensure it actually arrives at Point B from Point A.  So the main questions to ask yourself are: Is it replaceable? Can I buy a new one tomorrow? Would the insurance amount make the situation all right if it was lost?  As long as you can answer yes to those questions, we say go for it! Go NATIONAL.
  • School/College/Text Books / DVDs: NATIONAL all the way. Simple. Books are books, DVDs are DVDs, and most people prefer to buy that stuff used, anyway.  Book stores sell them used, movie stores sell them used.  It’s very common and preferred.  Your goal with selling these items is to get as many people as possible to have access seeing, communicating, and/or purchasing them!
  • Electronics: Electronics range widely – different models, different years they were produced, different versions, and different compatibility features.  It may be an iPod or it may be an original Nintendo game system.  Depending on the specs, people are most likely going to want to hold it in their hands before they purchase it.  But that’s not to say you wouldn’t encounter someone who was ready to buy and pay from hundreds of miles away!  Although more bids will come from locals, there’s no harm in advertisings NATIONALLY.
  • Clothing / Shoes/ Purses: Pictures, descriptions, and conversations can go a long way with selling and buying these items.  The size measurements and standards will be to your benefit, here.  And making additional notes in the description like, “shoe runs ½ size smaller” or “original tags still in purse” will help people feel comfortable.  It’s standard to try things on before you buy them… so the more help and guidance you can give to your buyer, the more people will feel comfortable buying from afar.  NATIONAL all the way!

So there you have it, a handful of different categories that people sell online.  As you can see, most stuff is given the “green light” for national selling.  But obviously, no matter what the experts say, make sure to exercise discretion and your best judgment on a case-to-case basis.

Good luck!

 

 

 

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Clean Your Items Before You Take Pictures

 

Ever heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?”

Notice the phrase doesn’t specify whether those are positive or negative words?

 

Posting pictures of items for sell that haven’t been cleaned is just about as detrimental as writing your entire ad about why no one should from you.

Cleaning your items before taking pictures of them is simply a must.

Why?  Well… let’s look at the opposite scenario.  You take a picture of your un-cleaned items. And post them online for sale.

  • …a couch covered in animal hair
  • …a dusty wooden nightstand
  • …a dirty car with stains on the floor mats
  • …a kitchen appliance with some food still crusted to it
  • …a pile of old books (achoo!)

Grossed out yet? Yea, me too.

Presentation is everything.  That’s why first impressions are so powerful.

So what’s your potential buyer going to do when they see your ad with un-cleaned items?  Besides be less-than-enthused?  They’ll do one of two things:

1.) Go look elsewhere. –OR—2.) Offer you a much lower price.

Dirty items tell the buyer: “I’m old” … “I need work” … “I’ve seen better days”

And that translates into work for the buyer. People don’t want to pay for a used item when they have to turn around and invest more time into cleaning it.  Besides, that’s not the message you, as a respectable seller, want to be broadcasting.

Here are a few tips on how to get the most money for your items:

  1. Use a cleaning product (dusting doesn’t cut it)
  2. Use the correct cleaning product (suggested cleaners below)
  3. Do a thorough cleaning (20 second wipe down doesn’t fool anyone)
  4. Exercise precaution with collectibles (consult professionals)
  5. Specify in your ad that the item has been cleaned
Note: people pay most attention to the cleanliness of large cost items (like automobiles & real-estate), so make sure you invest a proper amount of time and cleaning-energy into those.

When your items are clean, they’ll look newer – which translates into more money for you!  That’s something no one will be upset about.

For the above tips #1 and #2, these are some of the highest rated and multi-purpose cleaners:

 OxiClean

  • Magical on stains, inside and outside
  • Suggestions: linen, furniture, cloth stains

 409 All-Purpose Cleaner

  • Great for disinfecting and cleaning surfaces
  • Suggestions: children’s toys, kitchen appliances, DVD cases, plastic tubs/bins, bikes

 Pine-Sol

  • Safe for almost all surfaces like porcelain, tile, wood, aluminum
  • Suggestions: wooden furniture without a finish, bathroom appliances
  • I’m not sure there is anything this isn’t good for.
The best news is, once you interact with a community of people who care about their stuff, care about their reputation, and care about your satisfaction?

…You’ll never go back.

Online buying and selling is at a revolutionary point.  There hasn’t ever been a better time to join.  So…if you’ve got items you’re looking to sell, we’ve got the place for you to do it.

Open that cleaning closet and get to it!  We’ll be here waiting.

—– —– —– —– —–

What’s something you own that is a bit dirty but worthy of selling?

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Is A Monthly Storage Unit Fee Worth It?

 

 

 

Furniture, bikes, old electronics, office supplies, seasonal décor, kitchen appliances…

…lions, tigers, bears, oh my.

 

 

The list of “Things people put in their storage unit” is an all-inclusive (and rather scary) list.

But is the convenience factor involved with storing things worth the expense?               …how many ways can one person say NO?!

Why is it NOT worth it, you wonder? Well, for the same reason that one is better off selling their belongings than keeping them.

—– —– —– —– —– 

Follow me down this all-too-common slippery slope…

  1. Nearly no one buys a storage unit with the intention of keeping it long-term.
  2. It’s convenient, so as time goes on, you add things to it here and there.
  3. The monthly amount isn’t that bad, so you justify why it’s “okay.”
  4. The storage unit increases in fullness while the likely hood of you one-day-emptying-it decreases in chances.
  5. Your monthly costs totals to a hefty annual amount…
  6. That annual cost begins to repeat year after year.
  7. The thought of emptying all those items becomes daunting.
  8. You justify the cost of the unit, because “it’s worth it so I don’t have to spend all eternity digging through my stuff.”

—– —– —– —– —– 

Perhaps you’re about to take the leap to step 1? If that’s the case, you’re probably investigating different storage units in your area.  Maybe you’re at stage 4 or 5 though? If so, it’s probably already overwhelming thinking of how much stuff you’ve accumulated.  No matter what stage you’re at, here’s one thing that remains true:

The amount of money you could get for SELLING your belongings is hefty.                             …Heftier than the annual amounts you pay to store it.

Don’t believe me? Go watch the show show “Storage Wars” on A&E.  In short, teams of professional buyers repossess storage units in hopes of finding hidden treasures.  If the fact that reality has been made into a show isn’t convincing enough, check out the ratings.  Needless to say, there’s value in selling belongings in one’s storage unit.

Here’s some extra thoughts…

  • Just because we live in society that’s adopted the hoarder-mentality as normal and natural, doesn’t mean it is…
  • Just because “someday it may come in handy” doesn’t mean it will…
  • And just because “it’s nice and worth a lot” doesn’t mean it’s making you any money by sitting and gathering dust…
But what could make you money, is selling it.
 
It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s one of the most fulfilling things in the world.  I speak from experience, as I once helped a friend empty 5,000 pounds of…what did he call it? Oh yes, his “childhood”…from the storage unit. A dusty, long forgotten about childhood.

You don’t realize the weight you carry just knowing you have a giant metal box that’s storing lots of random belongings…until it’s all empty. And you don’t realize how heavy that weight truly was on you, until it’s lifted.

The key to it all? HAVING THE RIGHT GAME PLAN AND THE RIGHT MENTALITY.

Sell it; don’t store it.

 

 

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Why CAPS LOCK doesn’t CAPtivate

CAPS LOCK: the perfect way to grab someone’s attention, right? Wrong.

 

Think of CAPS LOCK like sugar – powerful when used sparingly but dangerous with over-consumption.  And caps lock, just like sugar, doesn’t discriminate. …All who fall victim to over-consumption will be held hostage.

Instead of sugar-highs and stomach aches though, over-consumption of CAPS LOCK results in the wrong audience investigating your ad and fewer inquiries.

Let’s break it down.  You want people reading your ad to think you’re professional, you have your “stuff” together, you are experienced… superior… reliable… and probably a dozen other things, right?  In essence, you want them thinking that you are the one they should choose.

(PS – If you’re NOT thinking those things? Re-read this paragraph, take note, and start thinking them. Your believe will impact your success.)

(PPS – Did you see how I just sprinkled a little caps lock in that PS note? I made it so your brain had no choice but to digest my sentence upon the first time reading it.)

 

Unfortunately, when you become monogamous with caps lock, you don’t convey any of the above messages.  Overloading caps lock is sloppy.  It’s hard to digest.  It’s overwhelming.  And let’s face it, it’s just not attractive.

—– —– —– —– —–

HERE’S FOUR THINGS YOUR AD WILL SCREAM WITH TOO MUCH CAPS:

 

  1. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO CAPITALIZE THE BEGINNING OF MY SENTENCES.
  2. I’M LAZY.
  3. I’M NOT SURE WHICH WORDS ARE PROPER NOUNS, SO I CAPITALIZE THEM ALL.
  4. I’M DESPERATE FOR YOUR INTEREST.
—– —– —– —– —–

How do I know the above 4 things are true?  Go search some random online classifieds.  You know what you’ll most likely find in the ads that overdo caps lock? You’ll find misspellings, lack of punctuation, grammar errors, and a confirmation of the above 5 points.

…But you ARE experienced, you are confident, superior, reliable, and you are worthy of your desired audience’s interest.

 

So below are a few simple caps lock guidelines:

  • Never use all caps (this includes both your title and body).
  • Highlight a maximum of two words in a paragraph.
  • Occasionally use it in lieu of italic (easier to for the eye to pick-up).
  • If you’re not sure which words to capitalize, try this: when you’re reading your ad aloud to proof it, which yes – you should do – the occasional word you have an urge to emphasize? Is the perfect word to capitalize.
  • When in doubt, leave it out.  In other words, leave it lowercase.

 

Here’s a thought for you: imagine the caps lock button didn’t even exist.  Would you ever awkwardly attempt to hold down the “shift” button with your left pinky while trying to type your message? Perhaps if you’re one of those advanced chicken pecker typers you would…  But for those of us who type with the all ten phalanges? The answer is no and no again.

 

It’s not Halloween, folk.  Readers don’t want a sugar overdose. Leave them wanting more, not yearning for a bottle of Tums to aid their stomachache.

MORAL OF THE STORY? DON’T OVERDOSE ON CAPS LOCKS.