Hyperinflation … of Stuff

You may have heard of or remember from history class stories of “hyperinflation,” where the value of money drops to zero. Above are the most iconic images of this concept that I can think of. They are from the post-World War 1 German Weimar Republic.

How does this relate to us here today? How does it relate to real estate? Real estate is expensive. Space is at a premium. We have so much stuff that we can hardly fit it all in! In my first year in real estate, this has been one of the most striking surprises. My clients, who are moving, try to sell their things. Beautiful china cabinets and kitchen sets cannot find space on the floor of a consignment shop.

Sellers are happy if somebody can come pick them up and take them away. Working refrigerators on Craigslist have to be dropped to $20 or even free to get rid of them. I sold a nice desk and perfectly good adjustable rolling office chair for $30, but had to let the desk go by itself for $20 and I even delivered it for the buyer.

No space for the chair! I let it go for free so that somebody would come and get it. Consignment shops, re-purpose stores, and Goodwill are jam packed with stuff and there are more re-use stores popping up all the time. “New Uses” in Columbus is the latest one that I know of. There are three locations.

Have you been to the dump lately? It costs anywhere from $10-$50 and they are getting more and more picky about what they take. That’s right. Even the dump is picky about what they take. There are only a few dump locations who will take items with refrigerant (Sims in Delaware has the required equipment) and I have yet to find one that takes old fluorescent bulbs.

What to Do?

Trade in used goods. Use Craigslist. Garage sales have great stuff now. Check out this post here for several good options. Get a deal on the purchase, because you may find that selling actually costs you more money!