A couple of weeks ago I was heading out on Friday on my normal errand day. As I head to town, I always look for any yard sale signs and stop along the way. Just a few miles from our house I came across an “Estate Sale” sign. I haven’t really shopped any estate sales but it just sounded like a moving sale or a big yard sale to me, so I decided to stop! And I am so glad I did – not only did I find tons of stuff, but I was introduced to a whole new world of yard sale type shopping – shopping ESTATE sales! I even found a few more estate sales that day and have shopped one other one since then, so I thought I might share this new adventure with you. (Excuse the poor cell phone pictures…)
(This isn’t the sign I saw, but an example of an estate sale sign that you might see.)
I pulled in and didn’t have any problems finding the house because there were LINES of cars!
Now I have shopped a few moving sales where you walk through the people’s house so I was used to that, but estates sales are even much different than that.
There are 2 different kinds of estate sales:
- The family is selling their own stuff and it may or may not include everything in the house.
- A professionally run estate sale run by an estate sale company that the family has hired. Pretty much everything in the house, attic, basement, shed, yard, and garage will be for sale (the family has already removed everything that is not for sale.) Most things will be priced and the prices are not very negotiable if it is the 1st day of the sale. On the 2nd or 3rd day (if it is a Thurs.-Sat. sale) the company may reduce items up to 50% on the last day. You will have to pay tax on your items and they will probably accept credit/debit cards too! As you saw on the sign above – the signs will probably list the estate sale company name and also may include hours (which they strictly adhere to as well.)
When you go into the house, you will shop wherever and for whatever you want! Most things will be pulled out of cabinets and such, but some cabinets may just be standing open and you can pick what you want!
This kitchen had everything pulled out on the counters and you could buy pots, pans, dishes, silverware –whatever you might find in your kitchen.
If you want that picture or plate or mirror on the wall, there is probably a price on it and you just take it off the wall and pay for it!
You may be shopping in their closet – pulling clothes right off the hangars, shoes out of the box, etc. Want the curtains or the throw pillows – just take them down or pick them up and pay for them!
All kinds of cosmetics, cleaning supplies, and bathroom stuff was all for sale too (and for cheap.)
This house was massive and you could even shop in their Christmas storage room in the basement.
When I was shopping the first sale, at first it was a little sad. Here I am walking through someone’s house – in their closet, bedroom, bathroom, etc. And it was just like they were living there! Many of these houses were up for sale. There could be many circumstances of why the sale was happening – the owners died or needed to move into an assisted living or nursing home, etc. That was all just sort of sad to me. BUT one of the estate sale workers said that while it can be sad, think of the family that doesn’t need all this “stuff” anymore, but needs the money to care for their mom or dad in an assisted living home. So think of it as you are helping the family out!
Here’s a few more observations:
- Some of the prices were much more than what I was used to paying at yard sales and they weren’t negotiable at all or very little on the prices. And you will have to pay tax too which makes the price a little more. BUT I did find some great prices too! And on things that weren’t priced, I was able to negotiate or offer a set price for a box of items.
- The selection was much better than what you would find at a normal yard sale! Everything that you can imagine – tools, antiques, yard décor, flower pots, lawn equipment, glassware, furniture, pillows, blankets, sewing supplies, and so much more!
- Most things were priced so it was easy to shop. And everything was professionally done – there was a checkout where they usually totaled everything up on a computer or cash register to make it easy.
- It was crowded – each estate sale I have shopped at has been very well advertised and there has been lines of cars and lots of people inside. So if you see something you want, grab it quick!
- I read a few things online and many people debated about whether it was better to shop in the opening hours, whenever, or on the last day?? I guess it depends on the price you want to pay (less on the last day) or the selection of items (better on the first day.)
Now, the favorite thing I learned that day! A few people I talked to at the first sale highly recommended this website – Estatesales.net – to use to look up estate sales. They have a great mobile version of that site so I was able to pull it up and find a few more estate sales that day on my way to town. You can search by zip code and it pulls up the company, address of the sale, hours and everything.
So if you are headed out on the weekend – take a minute to check that site – Estatesales.net and jot down a few addresses or sales you want to hit as you yard sale shop or run errands!
Oh, here’s what I bought at my very first estate sale!
- 4 brand new pillow forms – $1 each
- Old coke bottles in carrier – $1
- milk glass dish – $1
- Tiara divided dish – $5 (yay, for finding my MIL’s birthday present – she is so hard to shop for!)
- turquoise candlestick – $3
- lace material/panel – 50¢
- 2 bundles of vintage type lace – 50¢ each
- white necklace – 50¢ (ha! my jewelry man that I usually buy from on Saturdays was THERE at this sale shopping too! too funny!)
Now I am still new at this so I would love any tips from YOU on shopping estate sales! How do you find them? Do you find that the prices are good or way to high?
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