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Get ready to meet your next online addiction: Everything But The House (EBTH) is an online estate-sale marketplace designed to help downsizers get the best prices for their unwanted stuff, from chandeliers to Chanel purses, without the hassle of hosting a sale at home. For buyers, the site is a bargain-hunter’s dream. Each month, EBTH hosts more than 400 sales nationwide and sells upwards of 70,000 items. Every bidding price starts at $1, and though the competition often heats up during the last hour of an auction, it’s not uncommon to score big—on everything from Bertoia lounge chairs to vintage Persian rugs.
Think of it as estate sales for “the Amazon generation,” says Graydon Sikes, director of artwork at EBTH. “Shoppers want to sit in their jammies, click a button, and have [items] shipped to them, as opposed to having to physically hunt for things.”
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Denver is one of 27 U.S. markets the Cincinnati-based company currently services. Here, the company staffs local experts who come onsite to help families manage the estate-sale process, which is designed to take just 30 days from initial in-home visit to online sale. EBTH helps sellers determine what to donate, what to trash, and what to sell in their online auction, from art and furnishings to jewelry, cars, and tools. Items are photographed, appraised, priced, and put on auction for seven days. EBTH typically takes 40 percent of the online sales (there are no up-front fees), and fees vary for the donation/trash process.
In return, sellers get convenience, traffic, and a good chance of selling everything. According to EBTH, more than 99 percent of items sell. “The difference is our reach,” Sikes says. “At a typical estate sale, you only have the people who physically show up making offers on things. We typically have 10,000 to 12,000 bidders looking at each auction.”
The experience is shopper-friendly, too. Easy search functions make it possible to search only Denver sales, where you can pick up items on site and skip the shipping charges. Or you can search sales nationwide for specific items, like china patterns, designer brands, or favorite artists. “We really recommend ‘following’ items,” Sikes says. “The more items we know you are looking at, we can send information when things will be coming online you’d be interested in.”
All items start with a $1 bid and (unlike at online giants eBay or 1stdibs) reserve prices are not allowed; each item will sell to the highest bid, no matter the price. “Sellers have to take a risk with us,” Sikes says. “We don’t have that reserve safety, but the low-start bidding and our marketing process bring more eyeballs to each sale.”
For shoppers, the only risk is a significant loss of workplace productivity. The combination of a tantalizing—and ever-changing—inventory, and low prices (a bronze Sid Burns sculpture for $170?!) is so addictive, you may never get back to your inbox.