Shopping At Estate Sales

Shopping At Estate Sales

Shopping at Estate Sales – How to Get The Best Deals

Have you ever been driving around town and seen signs for estate sales and wondered, what makes them different than yard sales? Its common for people to think that a yard sale and estate sale are the same thing but, they are vastly different. A yard sale typically is a small snapshot of someone’s life, maybe they are moving or their small children have grown up, leading them to purge many items at once. An estate sale typically is the entire contents of someone’s home where they may have lived for decades. Not all estate sales happen after someone dies, they may be moving to a smaller home or in with family. This means an estate sale will sprawl through an entire home, with years of belongings, heirlooms, collectibles, and furniture for sale.

So how do you find out about these sales? And how do you get the best prices while you are there? This article will break down the best tips and tricks so you can take advantage of these sales and maximize your shopping.

How do you find estate sales?

You can drive around looking for signs on the road on the weekends, but you should start by searching online. There are several websites they estate sale companies advertise on including Estatesales.Net, Estatesales.Org and even Craigslist! You can search these websites for sales in your area but keep in mind, the address will not always be available until the day before the sale. This keeps the location secure since no one is living in the home at the time. You can also check out descriptions of the sales and any pictures that the company has posted of items for sale. Taking these steps ahead of time will ensure you get to your top priority sales first and get a head of the crowd.

What are the best days of the sale?

Estate sales generally run for three days, Friday through Sunday. Occasionally a sale will start on a Thursday or could only be two days ending on Saturday. Its important to start shopping on the first day and getting there early if you have your eye on specific items. We have seen sales where customers line up hours before the doors open just to get first dibs on the goods. Frequently the estate sale company will put out a sign up list an hour before doors open so the crowd does not need to wait outside in the elements (great for our rainy months!) and then call names or text when it’s the next persons turn. By the second and third day of the sale you will start seeing the discounts. Don’t be afraid to bargain with them but be respectful about it! The estate sale company is walking the line between selling items for the highest amount, moving the item out of the home and respecting their clients wishes. Most companies are willing to negotiate on tons of items in the sale but the first day is not going to be overly flexible. Make sure to come back for your best chance of talking them down!

How can you come prepared to make the most of your shopping trip?

This will mostly be determined by what items you are interested in. If you are looking for furniture specifically, make sure to bring any measurements you need to know for the room size and even your own tape measure for specific pieces at the sale. The staff there may very well have them on hand but it could be difficult to wait for them to be free. You will also need to have a vehicle large enough to haul your newly found items home. Some companies will let you come back later in the sale while that option may not be available for others. Having an extra set of hands to help you move the furniture out of the home is also a plus since many estate sale companies will not move the furniture themselves.


If you are shopping for medium or smaller items – bring your own bags, boxes and other protective wrapping as needed. Estate sale companies will not always have these available to you and may even advise you to bring your own.

Considering what you are hoping to find, think about if you want to bring cash or use a debit/credit card. Many estate sale companies will not take personal checks and you should contact them ahead of time if that is your preferred payment method. Keep in mind that many companies have a 3-5% surcharge for card transactions which isn’t much on $10 but it can add up quickly!

Hopefully after reading these tips and tricks of estate sales you will feel more confident shopping your next local sale. Don’t be afraid to branch out of your local area and search the greater Puget Sound Region! There are estate sales happening every weekend across the state!

If you are interested in estate sale services, give us a call today!

(206) 466-0759 or