What is an Estate Sale and How Should You Shop at Them

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What if the best deals you’ve ever seen were hidden inside your neighborhood?

Estate sales are a great way to find deals on many rare items. However, many people miss out because they’re still asking “What is an estate sale?”

Are you feeling a little “buy-curious?” If so, keep reading to discover our guide to what estate sales are and why you should shop at them!

What Is an Estate Sale?

We’ve put together a solid guide to the many benefits of estate sales. Before we go further, though, we need to define exactly what these kinds of sales are.

First, estate sales are not garage sales. A garage sale usually occurs when someone just wants to get rid of the many items that are cluttering their homes.

Estate sales are planned further in advance. They occur when someone is planning to make a big move to another home or, more commonly, when the owner of a home has passed away.

The items at an estate sale are likelier to be of a higher price than a garage sale. However, they are arguably of a higher quality as well.

Now that you know what an estate sale is, let’s dive into the benefits!

Negotiating Power

Like we said, an estate sale is not a garage sale. However, they do have something in common: the ability for you to negotiate prices.

Think about it. What happens to items that are not sold? Ultimately, they will end up being thrown away or put into storage.

Both of these options present additional time and effort, and the sellers are usually motivated to make a deal. That gives you an opportunity to haggle, but only to a point.

For bigger items, the seller is likely to know what the relative value is. That means they are unlikely to accept if you insult them with a really low offer.

Solid Prices

It’s true that the seller isn’t going to let items go for an insanely low price. So, why do we recommend estate sales? Because the prices are still really competitive.

If someone is selling a set of tools from the 1980s, they are going to be a lower price because of their age. However, tools that have been taken care of are still going to work like new.

As a buyer, this means you have a chance to have it both ways. You can get high-quality, like new items for a fraction of what brand new ones would cost.

Art of the Deal

For the most part, garage sales only last one day. However, estate sales are likely to occur over a period of several days.

This actually gives you enhanced negotiation power as a buyer. For example, let’s imagine a sale that is running from Friday through Sunday.

On Friday, the sellers are less likely to bend on prices. They have the whole weekend ahead of them and are hoping everything sells for exactly what they are asking.

By Sunday, they are worried about the items that haven’t sold. And they will be far likelier to take a lower offer just to get an item off of their hands.

Long story short? Try to show up on the last day to maximize your chances of a lower price. You can use this website to find the days and times of a sale near you!

Great for Furniture

You can find all sorts of things at an estate sale. If we had to pick our favorites, though, we’d start with furniture.

Good furniture typically costs thousands of dollars when it is new. And when you do find furniture on sale at garage sales or thrift shops, it’s often in poor condition.

At an estate sale, the furniture is likely to still be in good condition. However, it will be “priced to move” compared to new furniture in your area.

Plus, there’s usually multiple “eras” of furniture being sold. Whether you want vintage fashion or modern style, you can find it at an estate sale.

Back to Basics

So far, we’ve been guilty of focusing on big items such as furniture. Don’t forget that estate sales are a great way of getting many basic items at a low price.

As an example, the sale may include cleaning supplies, including cleaning solutions and accessories. These are items that would have already been cheap in the store, and now they will be sold for an even lower price.

Been wanting to clean the house up as part of a spring cleaning push? Visit an estate sale today to find everything you need.

Friendly Policies

As we said, the sellers at an estate sale are typically motivated to sell. And that means that they typically have seller-friendly policies that you can enjoy.

If you are buying electronic items, they are likelier to allow you to test if the items work. And if you are buying large items, they are likely to hold the item for you if you need to come back with a truck to move everything.

Just make sure you check on the pickup policy before you make a purchase!

All the Clothes

Our last of the estate sale tips concerns clothing. In fact, clothing is the “hidden gem” in just about every estate sale!

As you may know, it’s tough to find used clothes that are in good condition and also have a good price. Many thrift shop items are stretched and stained, and many consignment shop clothes are, frankly, overpriced.

With an estate sale, you are likelier to find designer name clothing sold at non-designer prices. And while it will certainly be more expensive than at a thrift shop, the prices will be far cheaper than your nearest retail clothing store.

The Bottom Line

Now you have an answer to, “What is an estate sale?” But what if you are trying to buy something bigger?

We help people just like you with the buying and selling of real estate. To see how we can make your life easier, check out our top tips for buying your first home!

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