Trash Or Treasure? The Pawning Planners Explain Appraisal Appointments…

Every week is a new opportunity to dig through trash looking for a treasure with my twin sister.  We require clients requesting sponsored Events or those wishing to barter items to give us an opportunity to look for something of value. 

Cindy and I love Appraisal Appointments because they give us an opportunity to meet new clients and every request is different.  

Variety actual is the spice of our lives in a mission to “Change the Wedding & Events Industry One Family At A Time From Fort Worth, Texas.”

Twin Sisters- Wendy Wortham & Cindy Daniel Owners Of Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures & The Pawning Planners

A few of these meetings are surprising mainly because no one tells us if they are a hoarder “up front.”  It isn’t until we roll up to their address and get our first clues as to what their home might hold.  

Surprisingly, many of these hoarder homes have little (of anything) of value inside if there are several animals, water damage or other unforeseen issues waiting for us inside.

A few years ago, I wrote a blog on my sister site, The Pawning Planners regarding hoarding–Appraisal Appointments With The Pawning Planners And Hoarding.  many of our readers laugh about a few of our unexpected adventures but being honest is essential to sharing our story.  

Risk, Reality and occasionally, Rewards all play a part in the bartering business of The Pawning Planners because finding something of value is far harder than anyone realizes.  

Often, the prospective client believes their item is worth far more than it is.  

Appraising any item requires us to factor in the condition and more importantly, the cost of refurbishing items that can’t be sold as is.  Transporting items isn’t free to us unless we can fit them into our suvs.  

Evaluating whether or not a trade is worth the expense of renting a box truck is essential because truck rentals add up year after year for us.

Truck rentals cut into our bottom line so we rarely rent a truck to go to Appraisal Appointments.  Whenever possible, we cram items into one of our three suvs to save the expensive of renting a truck.

Walking a trade gives us far more information than photos uploaded at Barter Your Event Services With The Pawning Planners.

We have had our fair share of odd suggestions for a trade including Moonshine and livestock.  Because of this, we now “go over” what clients are considering to barter.  Farm equipment, antiques, cars, trucks, tools, jewelry, furs and other items are of far more interest to us.

A few years ago, one man wanted Estate Liquidation Services so we loaded up to dress be to the home and evaluate whether this venture would work.  It didn’t, and the reasons for this were “Pie In The Sky” expectations.  

The home was full of feral cats and discarded junk with the only item of value being an antique organ that (of course), the client wanted to keep.  Cleaning out that home would’ve required truck rentals, weeks of labor, and numerous trips to the dump which aren’t free.  

Traditionally, Estate Liquidation Services involve selling items of value and recovery of fees involved for the work involved organizing, pricing, advertising and finally-selling the items involved.

Explaining to someone who wanted to “clean out the house he had inherited so he could sell it,” might sound good to him because he had a vision of doing nothing while everyone else did the work for him but the reality is that we don’t have an easy button or magic lamp and our clients don’t either.  

Frankly, my sister and I nearly threw up after leaving that house due to the smell of cat urine.  Yes, a few of our Appraisal Appointments are far from glamorous ya all!

Since we live in Texas, patio furniture Flips come across my websites now and then.  Often, the client has “discovered” that the price of replacing the cushions is half the cost of replacing the furniture which surprises them and is also why so many of our Pawning Planners Clients want to barter patio furniture.  

The best selling patio furniture is wrought iron and although there are numerous brands of wrought iron, O.W. Lee is the number one selling upscale wrought iron for a very good reason, its hand crafted and has a reputation of excellence.  

O.W. Lee is an investment but long term, the best investment I’ve bought or sold and continues to be a well sought after item when I hear about anyone wanting to barter patio furniture.This California based company compromised over half of my patio furniture sales for 15 years because no one is ever dussapointed with quality, durability and style.  Many of my O.W. Lee buyers often returned to buy more pieces and expand their collection.  In 15 years of selling this line, I never once had a problem customer to give you a better idea.

My pool furniture years ago was entirely, O.W. Lee too.  Salt water pools can wreak havoc on any outdoor furniture and the popularity of these pools is probably the primary reason that we come across patio furniture that’s so damaged, it’s lost any value but, occasionally even a blind squirrel can find a nut!  

Salt damaged patio or deck furniture can often be too damaged to deal with if rust has attacked the frame.  I talk about turning furniture over a lot because it’s essential to the value of any furniture item.  

Walking a trade gives me the advanatage of knowing what will be required financial to make something ugly something sought after.  I know the expenses involved because I have a background of selling specialty brands or items.  Knowledge as a seller actually is power.  If you know what you have, you are far less likely to lose money on a flip.

Bent frames, broken legs, or even a rusted out base are expensive to overcome.  Sure, everyone thinks they can fix broken furniture but patio furniture often requires a welder or other professional to do the job right and welders aren’t cheap labor.  Save those DIY projects for something else than wrought iron or aluminum patio furniture.

Vintage wrought iron is often handcrafted and so unique that regardless of the condition, it’s worth sandblasting and repainting.  Taking into consideration as to whether a cushion is required or not can save you money but based on the design of the seat in Texas summers, can and does prevent anyone from sitting on it.

Replacement cushions are expensive and an investment for anyone undergoing the process.  The problem is that no one wants to buy patio furniture without cushions so reupholstering or replacing the cushions is a hefty investment.  How hefty? Replacing or reupholstering a club chair alone can easily run $300-500 with acrylic or outdoor upholstery.  The ottoman? $175-300.

Cheap “Big Box Store” cushions rarely last through one season because the fill isn’t made to sustain freezing temperatures much less, water.  You get what you pay for with cheap import patio furniture and/or cushions.

Since I’ve sold millions of dollars of patio furniture throughout my career, I’m well aware of the selling points of quality furniture.  Replacement cushions are truly, an investment.  If you buy furniture with a frame that will outlive you, it’s worth investing in good quality fabric and fill for cushions.

Strap furniture was popular for a number of years but replacing vinyl strap furniture isn’t for the faint hearted.  Hiring a professional to do it for you is strongly suggested due to the number of injuries that DIYERS have suffered attempting to stretch a vinyl strap piece of patio furniture.  

Winston and Homecrest sold tons of aluminum or steel framed pieces with vinyl inserts but these lines also required a cushion and by the time you factor the expense of replacing vinyl straps AND cushions, it might be a good idea to back away from buying those second hand chairs or bartering them either.

The best investment for junkers or second hand thrifters or even The Pawning Planners is solid construction of patio furniture.  These Meadowcraft Spring Chairs or Village South Settee or Dining Set can easily be used without cushions.  Sure, they might be hot in July or August but whether a piece is wrought iron or aluminum, solid construction and feet that keep them out of standing water will give these pieces years of use.  

Replacing feet is far less expensive than cushions, vinyl straps or even sandblasting.  Another key difference of quality patio furniture versus big box throw away furniture is that quality furniture has replacement parts widely available on the internet.  Leaving wrought iron without the small plastic inserts that cost less than $1 will result in rusted through feet or legs than no one wants to buy or barter.  

Flipping over furniture to check the casters or plastic inserts should be done at least every Spring.  Quality outdoor furniture is resilient but maintaining it will help the lifespan immensely.

True outdoor fabrics and fills are very expensive.  A few of the names of these durable and not inexpensive fabrics are Sunbrella or Outdura. Custom cushion replacement on unique lines or designs that no one is sure of the manufacturer on are really expensive.  

The reason for this is that we have to transport the furniture to our upholsterer who measures and “mocks up” a pattern.  If you have an old cushion–never throw it away because it’s far easier to duplicate the original shape and dimensions if we have something to go by.

Acrylic or Awning fabrics can easily last 6-10 years in full sun which is why they are so expensive either by the yard or by the cushion.

These “upscale” fabrics and furniture were designed to be worry free unless a crazy squirrel is involved.  

Since I spent 15 years selling Meadowcraft, O.W. Lee, Brown Jordan, and others, Cindy often watches me explain why a trade won’t work or the value a client placed on it is far from accurate.  

Knowing the value and investment necessary to successfully “flip items” isn’t always appreciated by prospective clients but essential to keeping our bartering business going.  

Of course, clients who disagree with what we’ve appraised their items at can still go through Texas Twins Events to book services and use the deep discounts offered but Pawning Planners Clients benefit from free photography while Texas Twins Events Clients pay for photography.  

The reason for this is that most Texas Twins Events Clients have booked a venue and dan afford $175 an hour for photography.  The average cost of a photographer is far more than either of my teams charge because Texas Twins Events is a low cost budget friendly People Over Profit based Events business.  Traditionally, event photographers charge $300 and up an hour for event photography.  

We have never raised our prices based on the market but recognize that if one client can afford the venue, the cake, the band and/or DJ, then for obvious reasons, that can easily afford to pay our photographers.

Pawning Planners Clients can’t afford a venue, a DJ, a limousine, or other “traditional expenses.”  To fix a lopsided problem, we offer a Complimentary photographer at Pawning Planners bookings.  This way the “haves” pay for services that they dan easily afford while the “have nots” don’t.

Military families are a special exception as are Fire, First Responders & Police.  We make these families event requests a priority for a number of reasons but mainly because my family is compromised of Military and/or First Responders, take their schedules and budgets into consideration.  

It’s not unusual for my family and I to volunteer numerous “extras” to these families because they do so much for so many.

As we load up to head out to Hillsboro for another client meeting, it should be noted that not everyone’s trash is another man’s treasure.  

At least 40% of our Appraisal Appointments are disappointments and time consuming but can’t never could and our journey continues in homes, barns, trailers and fields across Texas…