by John

I have sold 130 acres of my 135 acre farm.  My 1500 olive trees, which I planted, nurtured, pruned, fertilised, and watered through a 10 year drought are looking magnificent (we have had more normal rainfall for the last 3 years, since signing the sale contracts).  But we succumbed to the lure of the dollar, and sold.  The olives were not profitable.  Our land was too marginal.  In  an average year we get 390mm.  In the drought years we were less than 300mm, officially a desert.  The olives and the eucalypts and the peppercorns were the only trees to survive.

While olive trees are incredibly tolerant of drought, they will not produce decent olives if it is too dry.  Plus, it costs me at least $20 per litre to produce olive oil, and European olive oil is being sold here for $5-10/litre, (?? being dumped again, like in the 60’s).  So it is just not an economical proposition  to continue.  So the birds have been getting our crops for 7-8 years.  But the trees look superb.  I love them.

 So we have sold up, and I had lots of farm stuff to sell.  How to to it?  Have a clearing sale, or list it on ebay?  Clearing sale advantages are getting it over and done with in one day, 15-20% commission,  everything goes, lots to organise, local buyers only.  ebay:   list one thing at a time, Australia wide market.  Pick up only.  10% commission.

So I listed stuff on ebay, including items I considered junk.

I described them honestly.  rust and all.   lots of photos.  pick up only.

And I have to say that I am very impressed with ebay!

Most things have sold.  Some required 2-3 subsequent listings.  Most items I started with a very low price.  And I have had sales from as far away as Canberra (8 hours drive) and Ouyen (7 hours drive).  Some things went rediculously cheap, but that would happen in a clearing sale.  some things achieved quite good prices.

Sale prices have been quite OK.  Ebay’s 10% commission seems high on a $7700 item , but fine on the $10 item.  Overall acceptable.  

Main problem has been travelling to the farm to be present at all of the pickups.

So overall, if doing this again, I would happily use ebay.

ps.  I have retained my shed, including the workshop, for the time being.  Not sad at seeing equipment go, but I know that I will be devastated when the olives are bulldozed.