Is the idea of shopping at your first estate sale intimidating? Fear no more! We’ve gathered some tips and tricks to demystify how to shop estate sales like a pro.
1. Plot your route, preview online, and commit!
Most companies will release the address about 48 hours before upcoming estate sales. You can use Google Maps or your favorite navigation system to plot the best route for you. Make sure to take a peek at all the preview pictures online before showing up. Elliott’s Estate Sales is proud to offer Facebook Live previews with each estate sale we conduct. Join us on Facebook here.
Bonus Parking Tip: Do not block driveways and do not park near stop signs. It is not uncommon for the local police to leave a ticket on your windshield for disobeying parking ordinances at estate sales.
2. Consider keeping these helpful items in your car: bags, wrapping paper, boxes, a tape measure, rope, magnifying glass, moving blankets, and a flashlight.
You’ll wish you brought at least one of these items! Sometimes you could end up in a dark attic needing that flashlight. You could likely end up needing boxes, bags, and wrapping paper if you end up purchasing furniture, decor, or dishware.
3. Bring cash. (And a backup credit card – just in case.)
Most companies will accept credit cards but bring cash for convenience. Sometimes you can negotiate a better deal when you pay in cash.
4. Wear comfortable tennis shoes!
You may find yourself walking quite a bit spending a Saturday morning going to several estate sales. Some estate sales can span across tens-of-thousands of feet! That’s a ton of walking. Check out our awesome Edmond Estate Sale from earlier this year where we liquidated five full buildings spanning a huge Edmond, Oklahoma estate.
5. Bring a truck and a friend!
You might need help taking that big beautiful buffet back home! Also, be ready to haul off anything you buy. Merchandise at estate sales will sell as-is where-is. You are responsible to lift, load, and carry your new possession out the front door.
6. Know what you want to spend and when to negotiate.
Most items at estate sales will be priced. If the doors have just opened you likely won’t have much negotiation power. If you’re shopping near the end of the first or second day then your chances are greater to negotiate a better deal.
7. Be respectful if told no.
You can always make a higher offer. Some items may have a reserve price that the family would like to fetch. Although the objective is to sell everything in the home – our clients occasionally choose to exercise this option.
8. Leave a bid with the cashier.
You truly want to buy that vintage hall tree but the price is just not right. What can you do? If you just aren’t interested in negotiating simply ask the cashier about leaving a written bid. We will take your name, phone number, your offer, and get back to you if we are interested.
9. Sign up for email newsletters!
The sure-fire way to stay apprised of estate sales in your area: simply ask how to subscribe to newsletters. Often you can write your email down at the cashier stand but these days you mostly sign up right from a company website. (Sign up for Elliott’s Estate Sales Upcoming Sales Newsletter here. You can download our App here.)
Have fun! You never know what you will find.
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Now that you are ready to shop estate sales like a pro, be sure to check out our article Six Flippable Estate Sale Finds to Lookout For This Summer.
If you are in the Oklahoma City area see our article Elliott’s Favorite Spots to Shop Antiques and Vintage in OKC!