Halstead’s Helping Hands Estate Sales is More than Handy! …A Women in Business Special Feature

Phyllis Leilani Halstead, who owns Halstead’s Helping Hands Estate Sales, learned something from estate sales that she did not completely glean from the real estate business alone:

“Life is a continual negotiation.” As a human being and especially as a woman, “You negotiate every day.” She believes that there is nothing wrong with standing up for what you know. But negotiation is not just about your beliefs.

It is about respect, communication, and understanding of relationships. And she would know. She has relationships with her team, executors of estates, buyers, grieving families, collectors, vendors, and the general public.

Phyllis has surrounded herself with an amazing team of helpers and she takes care of them any way she can. With another abled member of her team and a couple who are great at selling automobiles and tools, she hires those with strengths to compliment her own. She also treats her clients and buyers with mastery in a delicate balancing act to facilitate win-win negotiations.

When asked how she got into estate sales, Phyllis explains that her skills, sales and marketing background, upbringing (her parents loved to entertain) and timing came together to make it happen perfectly. She was in the middle of a move and her own house sale and opened up her home to the public to sell big pieces of furniture and collectibles. Her sister watched in awe as she had a way with people and said, “You should go into business doing this.”

Since then, Phyllis has concluded, “I have the ability to see the big picture and the details too. Many people can do one or the other but struggle with both.”

Helping Hands began in March of 2009 and has grown into a thriving business with wonderful partnerships. The business not only handles estate sales but also “extreme downsizing.” What does this mean?

“There is a trend in Ashland in particular with people downsizing and moving to Mexico. They want to sell everything and buy again for their new home,” says Ms. Halstead. Radical downsizing could also mean that older adults are relocating from a large house to a condo and have a whole house full of stuff to sell. One caveat is that Helping Hands does not do a sale while the owner(s) is on-site. They must have moved on already.

This estate sales business covers territory from Ashland to Roseburg and even the Coast.

The process entails Phyllis visiting the site to see if it is a match for her business; scheduling a one to four-day estate sale; taking pictures and putting them up on digital sites; reaching out to her 600 plus database of interested buyers; setting up pre-sales; pricing and marking all items; holding the actual sale, and following through with after-sale details. The whole shebang takes, “Being wise, a good communicator and also being profitable.”

Not everyone wants “old” things, either. Another trend that Phyllis has observed is how millennials perceive collectibles and antiques. “Millennials are not into their grandmother’s china or old books.” But anything Danish or Swedish is a hit. And restoration hardware, mid-century modern furniture, and vinyl records have a “big draw” in general. At Halstead’s Helping Hands Estate Sales, they have many tools at their disposal. Sometimes, they do pre-sales for items like automobiles or collectibles.

For items that do not sell during a one or two-day estate sale can be returned to the executor of the estate or donated to a non-profit called ResQRanch (https://www.facebook.com/ResQRanch). This charitable organization rescues horses and critters and will pick and pack everything up. Phyllis works with vendors for hauling away trash, so clients are not left with a large mess. She also has a website where items can be bid upon and she works with collectors and auctioneers to get the best price for her clients.

What are the best-selling items?

  • Tools
  • Anything military
  • Vintage papers (memorabilia of past events)
  • Vinyl records
  • Jewelry
  • Mid-century modern
  • Automobiles

What does not sell as well?

  • Art unless it is well-known
  • Books
  • China
  • Tea sets
  • Fragile items with more sentimental value than anything else.

Halstead’s Helping Hands Estate Sales – Estate Liquidations
Halstead’s The Exceptional Estate Sale Experts’

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