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I'll Admit it I'm Overwhelmed


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I've been whelmed before, but not quite like this. Here's the deal.

I've been playing for 65 years, playing guitar for well over 55.  In that time I've amassed a stupidcrazy amount of stuff.  Something like 35 fretted instruments (to include ukes, half a dozen basses, banjo, mandolin and several "special use" instruments that I bought for use in various bands, etc. etc.) a dozen or so amps, from MicroCubes on up, so many stompboxes I've lost track, raw speakers, parts, accessories and on and on a little bit of hi-fi/studio gear in there too.

Most of it is decent quality and well cared for, but definitely workingman's stuff.  Most of the "choice" pieces are gone to other HFC'ers or locally.  If I were to put all of it into one room (most of it is already) it would effectively fill the room.  But... my health is going, one finger on my left hand has gone into business for itself and, in general, any playing i can foresee doing will be to amuse myself or a teeming horde at a coffeehouse open mic.

So here's the rub.  How to vacate the premises and realize some cash toward a nice hi-fi system and a comfy couch without A) breaking my back  B ) working at it for years and, perhaps most importantly, C) not giving half of it to the IRS.  It could be viewed as a "pre-need" estate sale.

Local message boards via Facetube have yielded some results, I live in a neighborhood with a number of musicians and a couple of things have gone that way.  In the past, I've unloaded some stuff on the local Craigslist.  What I DON'T want to do if I can help it is use Reverb unless i can get compensated for the taxes and the hassle (might explain some unrealistic prices over there) and FeeBay has become overrun with thieves and charlatans.

So within the parameters of "I want this stuff gone reasonably quickly but I ain't gonna give it away", I'm open to suggestions.  Bueller?  Bueller?

TIA

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29 minutes ago, tomteriffic said:

Local message boards via Facetube have yielded some results, I live in a neighborhood with a number of musicians and a couple of things have gone that way.  In the past, I've unloaded some stuff on the local Craigslist. 

Just knuckle under, tom. If you don't want to consign gear (generally 80/20) at local shops, you're gonna have to bite the bullet, inventory everything you have and start listing it. Shit ain't gonna sell itself.

Edited by RobB
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I can, sorta, relate. I took stock about 4 years ago and started a gradual plan to reduce my excesses. I have sold may things on this site, although I have taken a break on shipping after a pair of time consuming mishaps (NOT with HFC folks!). I have had the good fortune of stumbling into some enthusiastic gear hounds on my local Craigslist who became repeat buyers (accumulators?) And I have connected with some distant (out -of-state) buyers who worked out fine after a fair amount of prequalifying....A few of which connected me to one of their friends. And a few people that are willing to make a round trip of nigh on to 1000 miles once or twice a year to try out some gear they cannot find closer to home (at least all in one place) before deciding what to carry back home.

And, yes, I know more than one buyer has managed to flip some of the gear on Reverb or TGP  or shipping out of the USA.  For myself, I have not sold on eBay in many years. Reverb, more recently, but still years ago.

If I was more adventurous, I would post all the excesses and see what happens. God knows how many idle pedals and other accessories. Let alone all the extra cabinets I have built. It just seems more of a hassle than it is worth. Even though I know many of them would be well received. I mean I must have at least a dozen Lovepedals alone. And I do not want to admit how many things I have built.......As in list a couple dozen relatively lower value things and try to stay on top of way too many inquiries. So, I just move really slow....Fortunately, I am not in a great rush. And not worried about a profit (AS IF!)

From the sound of things, you must have some gains coming (IRS reference). If not, you may still need to file when the sales are reported to the IRS. A bit of a hassle, but if you have records (or can make reasonable estimates as to the date and cost of purchases) it might not be that big a deal. I cannot see the IRS being too crazy about pursuit IF a person lists reasonable numbers. Even all those new agents will not get too enthused about someone selling relatively small dollar amounts....Just not much for them to gain to justify their existence......Now if a person was selling thousands of dollars worth a month,maybe.

CL is doable if you have patience, set realistic prices and are willing to wade through nonsense offers from people hoping you are a crackhead dying for cash. You are not likely to get top dollar (though I am sometimes surprised.....something will be posted for MANY weeks, then someone rushes over with cash, asking why you are selling so cheap. And I have met some good folks that way, Have people reply through the anonymous CL email, DON'T post your phone number. Ask for a phone number so you can call them back. Sort through the obvious idiots and scammers that do not merit an answer.

And, of course, most folks will expect you to compromise.

Not sure if that helps. But making up a list of what you have and want gone might move you ahead a little quicker than you think.

Good luck.

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Compensated for what taxes?  I sold tens of thousands of dollars of gear on reverb last year and when the smoke had cleared I followed the simple instructions posted by our friendly Floridian tax guy here and owed nothing. 
 

Reverb is reporting sales to the IRS but it’s up to you to calculate what amount from the sales qualifies as income. 

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My local Guitar Center will pay 60% of the retail value of items they can resell.  They'll take most guitars, amps and pedals. It's not an unreasonable solution when you consider the fees, sales tax and shipping charges associated with Reverb sales.  Not to mention the potential hassles of shipping damage, questionable buyer ethics and IRS scrutiny.

 

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Do you have kids or siblings that could help for a small % incentive or fixed price per listing?.. you could list everything give it to them and watch the results from either Reverb or Ebay 

Edited by Dave Scepter
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My problem with the new process is that, while I'm 100% certain that I will not make a profit on my Reverb sales, I have no way of conclusively proving that to the IRS.  I understand that I don't need to do so unless I'm audited, but it still creates certain level of anxiety.

I have gear that I purchased years ago, acquired in trades or assembled from parts.  I didn't think about keeping receipts.  I wonder how flexible the IRS will be? My guess is that if I can't produce a receipt, they'll start at taxing 100% of the sale price.

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When this started I bought a package of these.  I now record new purchases on one and file it away.  For things I've owned since before the rules changed, I'll create receipts as needed.  I'm not trying to be unscrupulous by creating false records, but I've never looked at all this buying/selling/trading thing as anything more than a zero-sum game and that's exactly how it's being presented to the powers that be. 

 

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I did a lot of ebay around 10 years ago. Then, I stopped going through gear and was actually playing these things (!!) instead of constantly chasing things like a collector.

 I'd go through a few years of accumulating more guitars and gear than I needed. Then, look around and say this place looks like a music store, I need to sell the excess and concentrate on playing! Then I'd sell everything for a few hundred to a couple thousand bucks. 

I would concentrate on playing for awhile before the money was burning a hole in my pocket and would start buying things again...rinse and repeat. 

I've never did anything with Reverb and all the horror stories of FeeBay etc. Has me more concerned about online selling. I'd trust people here more than other places. But, I've been here for 20? Years or so and a lot of these people on the board are unknown to me now. So, I guess every way of selling has potential problems. 

The guitar center option doesn't seem too bad considering all the above.

Having said all that I'd probably try here first.

The way I usually pump myself up for posting stuff online to sell is by earmarking the money for something else I want, music related or not. Or, if you want to be altruistic you could set the money aside for a favorite charity if that will get your butt going.

I need some new motorcycle boots so maybe that can inspire me... but don't hold your breath!

In other words OP, I feel your pain.

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, BadgerDave said:

My problem with the new process is that, while I'm 100% certain that I will not make a profit on my Reverb sales, I have no way of conclusively proving that to the IRS.  I understand that I don't need to do so unless I'm audited, but it still creates certain level of anxiety.

I have gear that I purchased years ago, acquired in trades or assembled from parts.  I didn't think about keeping receipts.  I wonder how flexible the IRS will be? My guess is that if I can't produce a receipt, they'll start at taxing 100% of the sale price.

Aside from going back and trying to create a database, you might consider whether you have some existing info. For example, my insurer requires that I "document"
any covered item worth $1000 or more. Where I did not have actual records (like cash buys from 30 or more years ago) I was able to satisfy them with "comps" from current listings of similar gear. I usually insure for a bit less than I paid recognizing resale potential. UNLESS I got a demonstrable deal.

I suppose if need be I could extrapolate back to that many years ago, factoring in inflation, market changes, etc to support whatever I might claim as a cost. FWIW, my memory of what I paid is pretty good......Like the George Benson (Japanese)  for $365 over 30 years ago.

 

ETA.....It should not be too hard to get comps for parts.....All those necks and bodies and hardware add up. There are enough vendors to make it easy to look up, if a nuisance.

Edited by django49
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Kick it old school and have a yard sale. Whatever doesn't sell, take it to GC. What's left after that, donate it. Finally, be honest about what probably belongs in your trash receptacle and deposit it there.

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I have one prior experience with the IRS claiming that I under-reported a tax liability.  Their protocol is to determine that an amount is owed, add a 10% penalty and demand immediate payment. It is nearly impossible to communicate and if a call is answered, the entire discussion history begins over with no prior progress or information retained.

I expect that this new policy will result in such a huge influx of 1099s that they will not have adequate resources to perform audits on even a tiny fraction.  So, they will either ignore them or create an automatic process demanding estimated additional tax.

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I hear you, I hate selling stuff online solely for the shipping aspect.

You could do a big lot sale of all of it or just like items and stipulate it's all or nothing and come pick it up type of situation.  

The ultimate question is:  Do you want it to be the easiest for you and yours to do or do you want to get the highest sale price?   

I think if you decide what dollar amount you want or a range, go to a GC/Music Go Round/Local shop and see if they can meet that for the majority of it.  Hold back something like the pedals and tell them if they meet your price, you'll throw in the pedals.  You're done, they've got stuff to sell, and you get your Hi-Fi and sofa.  

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I agree with what django49 said "CL is doable if you have patience, set realistic prices and are willing to wade through nonsense offers from people hoping you are a crackhead dying for cash. You are not likely to get top dollar (though I am sometimes surprised.....something will be posted for MANY weeks, then someone rushes over with cash, asking why you are selling so cheap. And I have met some good folks that way, Have people reply through the anonymous CL email, DON'T post your phone number. Ask for a phone number so you can call them back. Sort through the obvious idiots and scammers that do not merit an answer."

I always put "$xxx firm, cash and local only please" in my ads. I've done a ton of CL deals, overwhelmingly good experiences. You will often end up with close to what you would have netted off ebay, and you can avoid packing/shipping, and waiting for the buyer to be happy with the guitar.  Many buyers will make you an offer anyway if you put firm in the ad, they just won't offer a ridiculously low amount as often.  When I eventually sell off some pedals, I'll probably put the low value ones on consignment at a local store, but those are pretty easy to ship, - guitars take me forever to pack and shop so I avoid that.  Bring something like a Boss microcube or headphone amp with good batteries for the buyer to test the guitar with if you meet them in a guitar center parking lot.

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Also, I've always have had good experiences with Facebook Marketplace... but regardless of which format/formats you choose, you will always have knuckleheads to deal with... it's just how the world is nowadays 

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2 hours ago, Dave Scepter said:

Also, I've always have had good experiences with Facebook Marketplace... but regardless of which format/formats you choose, you will always have knuckleheads to deal with... it's just how the world is nowadays 

Same here. Nearly all of my CL and Facebook Marketplace meet ups have gone well, but a small number made me reprise this classic line after driving away from a no-thank-you deal:

 

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13 hours ago, Steve Haynie said:

Put up with the crap of selling.  Just do it constantly.  It will end in a few months. 

That's what I did years ago.  It gets easier as you sell one right after another.   And the money of course

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14 hours ago, cynic said:

Reverb is reporting sales to the IRS but it’s up to you to calculate what amount from the sales qualifies as income. 

The best advice.

Cost of Goods Sold and "operating expenses" to be specific.  The Form 1099-K must be reported.  It's those that don't report on Schdule C or other appropriate forms that have trouble with the IRS.  I tell my clients, "It's time to keep good records".

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11 hours ago, BadgerDave said:

I expect that this new policy will result in such a huge influx of 1099s that they will not have adequate resources to perform audits on even a tiny fraction.  So, they will either ignore them or create an automatic process demanding estimated additional tax.

Yeah. I think I saw somewhere that the IRS would need something like 87,000 more IRS agents to be able to cover the case load caused by reducing the 1099 requirement from $20k annually to $600. 87,000 agents is an insane increase, so I wouldn't expect any way that could be covered. 

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9 hours ago, veatch said:

Yeah. I think I saw somewhere that the IRS would need something like 87,000 more IRS agents to be able to cover the case load caused by reducing the 1099 requirement from $20k annually to $600. 87,000 agents is an insane increase, so I wouldn't expect any way that could be covered. 

Yeah, they have four thousand openings already.  Nobody wants to work for the IRS.  And the people that do jump immediately, if approached with a good offer to go private or governmental.  Pay and benefits at the IRS is substandard.  If they pay more, they might be able to hire a bunch.  But 87,000?  No way.

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I hear you. You might ask a local gear enthusiast friend to help also, when you get a sense of how you want to divide it all up, as far as 1) Craigslist, 2) GC or consignment, and 3) Craigslist FREE/ Donation, or however you like.

Like, “Hey, I’m really overwhelmed with all this stuff and I need to do it in a few different ways. Would you mind helping me sort out some gear and get it taken care of? Maybe a CL meetup, or trip to GC, whatever” (If there’s anything in your collection they have a hankering for, give it to them cheap or free) I *wish* more of my friends would ask me such questions- it’s the perfect GAS itch-scratcher for me haha!

A friend is a big help, and a co-conspirator is a big comfort too 😁

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