Now that yard sale season is winding down you may notice more estate sales. If your like me and love a good bargain than these tips on how to shop estate sales successfully are for you.
Shopping estate sales is a great resource for finding amazing and unique pieces for your home.
There are some valuable tips to getting the best value for your money and having a great shopping experience.
Table of contents
- What is an estate sale
- Best way to find estate sales
- How to shop estate sales
- Items to look for at estate sales
- What to have with you to be prepared for shopping
What is an estate sale?
An estate sale or tag sale is simply, the liquidation of a family estate of the deceased or family member moving into a facility of sorts.
Typically estate sales are handled by an outside company.
Either done by an auctioneer or a professional estate sale agent.
The company running the sale takes a percentage of the total earnings as payment for running the sale.
Typically the rate is anywhere from 25% to 35%.
Now that you know what they are, you may be wondering how you go about finding these sales.
How to find estate sales
There are three great resources for finding estate sales in your local area or an area you may be traveling to.
The one that I have used the most in finding estate sales is Esatesales.net.
This site allows you to see photos of the items available and sometimes prices a well.
It also has the time and location of the tag sale.
Taking a look at the photos in the app allows you to plan ahead for items you may be interested in purchasing or looking at more closely.
Other sites to search for estate sales are Estatesales.org and Estatesales.com.
I have not used the other two but they all work about the same.
Once you have searched the app and found the estate sales you want to attend, there are some things to know before you go.
How to shop an estate sale
The first step in shopping estate sales I mentioned earlier by previewing the sale before hand.
I think it is best to go on the first day and take pictures of any items you are interested in along with their prices.
If there is an item you really want or one you think may be a hot ticket item, go ahead and purchase it the first day at their full price.
Otherwise, only take pictures on the first day and return the second day for half off day to see what is left.
If there is an item that is still there and I am really interested in I will go back at opening on the third and final day.
Often on the final day items are marked 75% off, but that depends on the company handling the sale.
Of course remember there is no guarantee that the item will still be there so you have to weigh the risk of losing an item.
You may be wondering what are some things to look for at an estate sale.
What to look for at tag sales
Tag or estate sales are a great place to find unique and well made pieces of furniture.
Furniture that was made completely different than today’s furniture and meant to stand the test of time.
Tools are a great thing to look for at tag sales and the prices are generally great, often you will find unusual tools as well.
It is often a great place to find beautiful vintage wool rugs.
Just be sure to look wool rugs over very well for sign of moths, stains or odors.
Aside from furniture and tools I love going through art work.
You can usually find original pieces of vintage art in beautiful frames.
Finding original are is so much fun, you just never know what you will come across.
Oh and always look though dishes and flatware, you might luck out and find transferware, ironstone and crystal.
Of course there are many other things to look for but those are the big items.
When shopping estate sales there are some things you need to be sure and carry with you.
What to have with you
If you can, carry plenty of cash as most companies running estate sales charge a fee to use a card of at least 3%.
This is not true for all of them so be sure to check on the app to see if it states their policy for a particular tag sale.
The app should tell you the forms of payment accepted and when large pieces must be picked up by.
Be sure to have your phone charged and ready to take photos of items you are considering.
If your intention is to purchase furniture pieces be sure to drive a truck to take furniture pieces with you when you leave.
Another important thing to take is your patience as these are often in the person’s home with lots of people working inside and shopping.
Most of all, enjoy the adventure of estate sales you never know what treasures you will come across.
If you are looking for more ideas on shopping vintage, read here.
Till next time
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