PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While hoarders have crossed a line, a house that’s jam-packed with stuff is exactly what excites Jacquie Denny and Brian Graves.
“You tell me the house is full, floor-to-ceiling, and I can’t wait to go see you because I know I’m going to rock your world with what we do,” said Denny.
The two of them started a company called “Everything But The House” in Cincinnati eight years ago. It allows you to shop estate sales from the privacy of your home.
When they started, they say other auction houses in the area made fun of them.
“People were calling it our online garage sale,” laughs Denny. “Every time they told their clientele about it, they were driving them to our site, and we were just thrilled with the negative publicity.”
No one is making fun now. EBTH had $30 million in sales last year.
They’re in 27 cities, including Pittsburgh. EBTH opened an office on the North Shore a few months ago.
If someone wants to downsize or has to clear out a relative’s home after they’ve passed away, you can call EBTH, and they take care of it.
Most items are shipped to the company’s distribution center outside Cincinnati where they’re cataloged, photographed and placed on the company’s website. Some items in homes are donated to charity. EBTH also arranges for trash removal to get rid of junk.
Their fee is 35 percent to 45 percent of total sales.
Each sale lasts seven days and all lots start at $1.
“Everything starts at a dollar, so it’s very approachable,” said Graves.
A quick look at some of the sales this week on the site revealed a number of interesting items:
- A signed Terry Bradshaw replica Steelers helmet and the bidding had only reached $72 with six days left.
- Bidding on collection of Elvis Presley records had reached $1.
- No one had bid on 50-inch Panasonic flat screen TV.
- Bidding on a vintage mink coat had reached $100.
- This World War II combat knife had reached a high bid of $139.
- A 1987 Corvette had reached $700.
All the items come from people’s homes where EBTH is called in to survey what’s inside.
“The thing is, if I let the family do it, they’re going to give away or throw away probably half the value of the house,” said Denny.
She says because of their experience and wide reach, they see value in items other auction houses might throw away.
For instance, a box of old pens and pencils might be thrown out by many people, but Denny says there’s a market for them.
“There’s people who will actually collect these as a box for the vintage advertising on them,” said Denny, who believes the box she’s holding might go for as much as $40.
One of their families thought they had a ring that was merely costume jewelry, but it turned out the sapphire was real. It went for $47,625 on EBTH.
Graves says paintings are another example where families often undervalue their worth.
“Sometimes we come into a home and the family is like, ‘We hate that painting! That’s the first thing we want out of here,'” said Graves. But he says they like them much better when told one might have some real value.
He showed us a painting done by an artist with a specific following and says it could go for anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000.
Denny loves it when they can tell families they’ve found something valuable.
“There’s nothing better than that moment when they find out that bracelet in the box of grandma’s jewelry is actually real diamonds, not rhinestones girls,” said Denny with a smile. “And by the way, this is going to blow your socks off when this goes.”
It costs nothing to make a bid on EBTH. Buyers do have to pay shipping, and in some cases, taxes.
They say their site gets about three million visitors a month from around the world.
And Denny and Graves say the thrill of discovering what’s inside the next home they’re called to, never goes away.
“I walk up to house and never in a million years can you guess what’s in a house,” they say.
You can check their online auction at: https://www.ebth.com/