10 Estate Sale Tips for Shoppers

Serious bargain hunters know that although yard sales are fun, estate sales are where you can find some incredible deals on jewelry, household items, antiques, and much more. It takes a bit of savvy to score the best stuff.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best estate sale tips to help you out! Ready to find bargains?

1. Go on the First Day

Want to find the best deals and steals? Plan to visit an estate sale on the first day. Otherwise, you might arrive to find items picked over.

2. Get There Early

Ideally, you will want to arrive at opening time, if not a little beforehand. You may have to get in line, or you may even need to secure an entry ticket. Organizers sometimes limit the number of shoppers who can enter. This is especially true when sales are held in smaller homes.

3. Don’t Take a Big Purse

Leave your oversized purses and large tote bags at home. Estate sales often have many small, valuable items — jewelry, collectible knick-knacks, tools — and there are unscrupulous customers who take advantage of this by stealing

Since the organizers can’t watch every room at once, they may ask you to leave if you have a large bag, or you might find yourself followed by their security team.

4. Don’t Plan on Haggling

At garage sales, haggling is the norm. But not so at estate sales, where prices are often set in advance. It never hurts to ask, but don’t expect a discount.

5. Take Cash

Many estate sale organizers accept checks or credit cards, but cash is always safest. If you fall in love with something but don’t have enough cash on hand, ask if they will hold the item for you.

6. Feel Free to Wander

Usually, estate sales take place throughout the entire house, so don’t be shy about peeking into every room and closet. Any areas that are off-limits will be clearly marked.

7. When in Doubt, Ask

Interested in things like electrical fixtures, curtain rods, window treatments, kitchen appliances, or large plants? These may not be marked, but they could well be for sale. Inquire about them and you may be pleasantly surprised.

8. Items Are As-Is

One of the most important estate sale tips? Make sure everything is ship-shape before you buy! Broken furniture, stained or smelly upholstery, chips and cracks are all real possibilities. And there’s usually no recourse or return policy.

9. Go On the Last Day

Yes, we know that this contradicts Tip #1! But it’s worthwhile to hit the final day, and even the final hour, of an estate sale. Organizers sometimes deep-discount items then, in order to liquidate everything.

10. Prepare for the Next Sale!

Now that you have the estate sale bug, check the company’s website so you are ready for the next round of sales! Most services will post details of upcoming estate sales, and sometimes even pictures of what’s available.

That way, you can get the jump on your next amazing find!

Want More Estate Sale Tips?

Prestige Estate Services’ blog has loads of great information and tips, including pointers on specific categories of antiques. Whether you’re looking for vintage cookware, antique furniture, or collectible beer steins, you’re sure to find something fun at a Prestige sale.

Prestige Estate Services
3126 W. Cary Street, #112
Richmond, VA 23221-3504