Finding Treasures At Estate Sales: Four Shopping And Etiquette Tips

Posted on: 25 September 2017

Estate sales can be great places to find estate jewelry and collectibles, but knowing how to shop an estate sale can help you to find the best deals and understand the etiquette involved. Here are some helpful tips you can use when shopping at an estate sale:

Arrive Early

Antique dealers and collectibles like to frequent tag sales to find rare or valuable pieces, and they tend to arrive right as an estate sale is about to start. Arriving late means you might be missing out on some fantastic pieces, so plan on being at each estate sale at the start time, if not a few minutes before. If the estate sale runs for more than two days, be sure to arrive on the first and consider coming back for each consecutive day. In some cases, the individuals holding the sale may have found more inventory to put out on the second day.

Be Respectful

Remember that you are walking through a family's estate, and estate sales are often held to liquidate personal items after a loved one has passed away. For these reasons, it's important to remain respectful. You'll be walking through the family home and property, so take care to look for tags before picking up items, as not everything in the home is always for sale.

Ask About Payment Options

Estate sales are sometimes run by the individual family, while other times they are handled by a company specializing in asset liquidation. If the event is being held by the family, you'll likely need to pay with cash or a check, while company-managed sales may be set up to accept credit card payments. It's a good idea to check in advance, particularly if there is a website advertising the sale. You may be able to email the organizers to find out which payment methods are acceptable. Bring your checkbook just in case, and be sure you have enough cash to make at least one moderately priced purchase.

Determine Which Areas Are Included

When an estate sale is held in a home, it is sometimes easy to determine which areas feature items for sale and which are off limits. However, it gets a bit trickier when it comes to the garage or outdoor shed. Ask the event organizers or security guards which buildings are included in the sale, and be careful to obey any signs that warn you not to enter. Remember that in some cases, the people selling the items at the estate sale may still live in the home, and they most likely will want to keep their private spaces closed off.

If you visit estate sales run by companies or corporations, make an effort to visit as many of their sales as possible. Over time, the sales staff may recognize you, and you may be able to build a professional relationship. This is important because it can also mean that the staff might contact you directly if a piece they know you will love is discovered. With some experience, you can become a regular treasure hunter at local estate sales.