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Friday, October 1, 2010

Here’s to Pre-owned

I was talking with Kyle the other day about cars.  Not an uncommon subject with him.  He loves ‘em.  He’s like an auto-a-pedia.  He knows everything about them.  It doesn’t matter the make or model or the decade it came off the assembly line, he can fix ‘em and knows all about their power, how they are rate, etc.  He can talk liters’ and mpg’s, abs and suv’s with the best of them.  If my math is correct, in his seven years of being of legal driving age, he’s owned eight vehicles.  And that doesn’t count the go-carts or the go-peds.
This time, we weren’t talking about torque or tranny’s.  We were talking about their values.  “Cars have crazy depreciation.  You lose instant money the minute you drive a new car off the lot”, he said.  We’ve all heard that before, but he knew his stuff.  I did some research, and some say you can throw away about 20% of the value the second you take possession and drive off to Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles.  And, you can flush 65% down the toilet by the fifth year. 
I was pondering that concept and came to the conclusion the same is true for other things if you stop and think about it.  Many other things, if my hunch was correct.  We are all buying new things when there’s a choice to buy used.  In this economy, maybe we should apply Kyle’s wisdom to our everyday life.  After all, we think nothing of buying a pre-owned car or re-sale home.  What about our household items?
Enter EBay, Goodwill and countless other businesses that specialize in pre-owned, used, re-sale and refurbished.  There are a number of businesses that flourish off of someone else’s stuff.  Even Kyle practices what he preaches.  He has some rims for his Lexus, a bed, a computer, a refrigerator and even a couple of dogs that all had belonged to someone else first.
Like father, like son?  As for me, since moving to Arizona, I’ve become a huge fan of consignment stores.  And, the Valley has a ton of them – really great ones to boot.  There’s of course Terri and My Sister, and so many more.
My current home is largely furnished from treasures found in consignment stores.  Ok, most of it came from Recreate in Scottsdale, with a few items sprinkled in from Fabulous Finds and My Sister’s Attic.  Not only some great furniture finds, but you can discover some terrific lighting, great art, stuff for all the pot shelves and the patio, too.
This time, I needed to find a dining set and a new couch (new to me that is to say).  So, off to two my favorite consignment shops.  My first stop was Recreate.  I didn’t see a dining set that was suitable, but came across an incredible sectional, with a tag that boasted Crate and Barrel.  Great color, looked like it never even was sat on.  But, being my first stop, I made a mental note and moved on.

Lamp & glass top table are recycled treasures!

Next was to Switch.  If you haven’t been to this shop, fasten your seat belt. Amazing. Leather couches you would think came right from the pages of Architectural Digest.  Bar stools from a NY nightclub. Coffee tables you’d be hard pressed to find on the showroom floor of Robb & Stucky.  A vintage desk – stainless steel, mind you, with an iridescent glass tiled top.  I saw an amazing bamboo dining set in charcoal that was incredible [out of my budget, I’m afraid].  But, alas, around the corner was a Tommy Bahama styled set that was perfect.  And, the price was less than some dinners out!  Sign me up.
As I settled my check, we started talking about sectionals.  I mentioned the one I had seen earlier at Recreate. They told me any Crate and Barrel sectional they get shoots off their floor in just a few hours.   Now I was nervous.
I stopped at home for a sandwich, and fired up the internet.  I googled Crate and Barrel and discovered the very sectional I had seen at the consignment shop sells for $2400.  It was priced at Recreate for not even a third of that price.  I spat out my sandwich, picked up the phone and called Recreate.  “Yes, it was still here”, Stacy said.  “Hold that baby because I’m on my way”.
In less than an hour, my shopping was done.  And, that counted time out for lunch.  I doubt I could have found better choices with new - and the prices are unbeatable. 
Ah, the rewards of being a frugal shopper.  Cheers to re-sale.  What’s old is new.  Let someone else take the hit on the depreciation.
©2010 Tom Weiskopf, PLLC. Tom Weiskopf, PLLC is an AZ licensed real estate agent with John Hall & Associates serving the Phoenix area. For more information, Tom can be reached at (602) 953-4000 or via e-mail at

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