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10 Tips For Shopping Estate Sales

Estate sales are treasure hunts for people who love finding good deals. You can find various items at estate sales, like old furniture, vintage decor, kitchenware, and unique collectibles.

You need a plan to be successful at these sales. Here are ten tips to help you have the best estate sale shopping experience.

1. Research and Plan Ahead

Before you start exploring estate sales, look into upcoming sales near you. Use the Internet, community boards, or apps made for estate sales to gather helpful information.

If available, look at photos online to see which sales have items you are looking for or that interest you. Then, make a route plan for your trip.

2. Arrive Early, But Respect the Rules

Getting to the estate sale early can be a good idea because early shoppers often find the best deals. There may even be a line at the door 30 minutes to an hour before the sale begins.

It’s important to follow the rules the organizers have set. Some sales might have specific times when you can enter or ask for sign-ups. 

3. Bring Cash and Small Bills

At estate sales, they accept cash, of course, and may also accept Paypal, Venmo, and similar pay apps.

Bring cash, including small bills, to make things easy. Bringing cash speeds up the buying process and makes it easier to negotiate prices.

4. Come Prepared with Essential Tools

Bring tools such as a measuring tape, pocketsize flashlight, and packing materials. These tools will come in handy for measuring furniture, and packing breakable items.

5. Inspect Items Thoroughly

Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

When you’re at the estate sale, take a good look at the items. Examine them carefully to see if there are any damages, missing parts, or signs of wear. At estate sales, things are usually sold “as-is,” so checking everything thoroughly is a good idea.

6. Negotiate with Respect

São Paulo / São Paulo / Brazil - 08 19 2018: Man with black shirt negotiating with a vintage telephone seller at a flea market
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Negotiating prices at estate sales is common, but do it respectfully. Ask politely if there’s a chance for discounts, especially if you’re buying more than one item. Being courteous and polite makes you more likely to get a good deal.

Most estate sales are 2 or 3 day events. Usually, the second and third days will be discount days. So if you are interested in an item that is over your budget check back on the last day of the sale. Just be prepared….because that item may be sold.

7. Build Relationships with Organizers

Building a good relationship with the people organizing estate sales in your area is always in your best interests. They might share insider information about upcoming sales or let you know about special deals. If you attend regularly, it can lead to exclusive opportunities.

8. Keep an Open Mind

You can often find surprising treasures at these sales. Stay open-minded and be ready to check out things beyond what you first had in mind. You can find exceptional pieces that bring a unique touch to your collection or home.

9. Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks

Looking for bargains can be tiring and shopping in outdoor spaces is common at estate sales. Make sure to drink enough water. Take breaks and recharge between estate sales.

10. Respect the Estate

 Often family members will be at the sale to make sure things go smoothly and to answer any questions. Be courteous and don’t be negative about any of the furnishings or decor.

These tips should help you make the most of your shopping day. Do you have tips you would like to share?

Jessica Clark

Jessica Clark is a writer and blogger living in the Midwest, who is also a dedicated mom and wife. Since 2011, she's been sharing her stories and thoughts online as a freelance writer. Besides writing, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, singing, crocheting, reading, and playing video games.

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