The arrival of a new year always elicits plans for new routines and new adventures, and for some families, a plan for downsizing or even totally selling a beloved home and its cherished contents. Devoted to their clients and the community, the father/son team of Larry and Ryan Laster is well-versed in taking the next step when it comes to family treasures, and they place a personal focus on making the process as smooth as possible.
Open to the public in Winston-Salem since 2011, but with 40 years of experience in the art and antiquities industry, Laster’s Fine Art & Antiques combines valued expertise with discerning taste and a genuine compassion for what can be a challenging move. Those homes full of furniture and accessories are also full of memories.
“We see all kinds of situations where people need to get rid of antiques, art, and other household items,” says Ryan. “Whether we handle a few pieces or an entire state, the process is very similar.”
If you’re facing this scenario in the New Year, know that the estate sale process with Laster’s begins with a thorough assessment of the value of everything to be sold, accomplished by a walk-through of the family’s entire home, room by room. With a rough estimate on the value of the contents in mind, and based on the overall value of the house, the details come together to project a proposed commission.
“Estate sales usually take a few weeks to set-up and execute,” says Ryan. “There’s often more trash inside a house than you might think, which we remove before the sale begins.”
The typical estate sale runs for two days – most often a Friday and Saturday – and at the end of the sale, the Laster’s team leaves the family with an emptied house, ready to be cleaned, prepped, and processed for sale to a new family who will begin their own adventure there.
If you and your family prefer to simply consign items in the store – in lieu of an entire estate sale – items are individually priced and displayed until the item is sold. Certainly the beauty of Laster’s Stratford Road store is its constantly evolving inventory, with something for all tastes, including furniture, books, maps, unique jewelry pieces, and a variety of home decor. For consigned items, the client receives 60% of the actual selling price once the item is sold; if after 30 days the item has not sold the price will be lowered by 15%, 20% after 60 days, and 25% after 90 days.
“While we see quite a bit of foot traffic in and out of our store, we also reach buyers by listing sale items on our website,” says Ryan. “We are always looking for chests, side tables, sideboards, desks, and secretaries, and these kinds of pieces need to be solid wood – typically mahogany, cherry, or walnut.”
Antiques may be their specialty, but Laster’s will also accept high-quality, well-constructed, newer items as well.
Arriving at the stage where it’s time to consider an estate sale can be cleansing, but also emotional.
“Each estate – and each family situation – is different,” explains Ryan. “Every family has different attachments to items from their childhood home. Some people grew up in a house where specific pieces were considered ‘decorative’ rather than functional, and cabinets were filled with pretty things to be admired, but never handled. Others grew up in homes where every item was used and appreciated.”
He stresses that they work solely within a client’s comfort zone and personal timeline, proceeding with a full estate sale only when the family is truly ready to let things go. A sale may cover everything from living room and bedroom furniture, to kitchen basics, draperies, and even linens, requiring a wide range of decision making.
Not only are Ryan and Larry trusted experts on the history of most antiques, they have orchestrated literally hundreds of estate sales in the area – most notably, that of Maya Angelou. You can trust your transaction to be handled professionally, with integrity, and in the strictest confidence.
After all, that’s what families do.
Laster’s Fine Art & Antiques is located at 664 S. Stratford Road in Winston-Salem. Reach them at 336.765.5919, visit them online at LastersFineArt.com, and follow them on Facebook for news of special events and specific estate sales.