“To the sellers the flooring represented their homeland,” says Padovan. “They thought it increased the value.”
And in some very unofficial research, Liana Rivas — who owns the Miami consignment store Sarah Magelena — found the effect works in reverse: we’ll devalue an item representing an identity we can’t wait to unload. She recently sold for a client a coveted Hermes Birkin bag originally purchased by her ex-husband.
“She told us to get rid of it at any price,” says Rivas. “It was very unusual.”
So how can you set fair prices? For garage sales, says Tavarez, label good condition appliances, sporting equipment and designer items for about one-third of the original price. Kid clothes should sell for $2, $3 and $4. Men’s shirts for $3 and T-shirts for $1. For furniture, sites such as ebay — which show the going rate — are your best friend.
“Never refuse a first offer,” she says. “It’s usually your best.”
When selling your house, make sure your broker does a CMA — comparable market analysis — says realtor Padovan. You can add on to that amount for garages, extra bedrooms, bathrooms and pools. Condos get more expensive as they get higher, she says.
“Usually upgrades to the kitchen or bathrooms aren’t as valuable as you’d think,” says Padovan. “You don’t want to over-improve.”
And a trick from Swaminathan: imagine you own 10 of whatever you’re trying to sell.
“You become more realistic,” she says. “And your attachment goes down.”