by Sunny from SunnyDayVintage
I’m an estate-sale fanatic – not only when I’m searching for vintage goods for my Etsy shop, but also because I’m fascinated by the homes they’re held in.
What is it? An estate sale is a whole-house sale of furniture, furnishings and household goods, usually held over a weekend, when a person passes away or goes into assisted living. There are companies that handle estate sales as a full-time business, cleaning, sorting, organizing and running the sale.
Find one! Check newspapers and local estate-sale company websites (get on their email lists too). When searching Craigslist, refine the garage sale search with the word “estate” to narrow down the results.
What to expect: Like any other business, some sales are organized, and some… not so much. Usually, homes have organized displays, with like items grouped together and everything clearly priced. Some houses will be messy and disorganized, with items unpriced.
Bring cash. Some sellers take credit cards if you spend over a certain amount, or charge you for using a card. I always give myself a budget and go home when my cash runs out! Travel light. Don’t bring a big bag or purse into the sale. Besides, you need both hands free to examine and grab the goodies! If you plan on buying breakables like glassware, bring boxes and padding for the trunk of your car.
Know how to negotiate. At some sales, everything is discounted on the last day, or sometimes only during the last few hours. On the other hand, you’ll find the biggest assortment on the first day of a sale. You might get a discount if you buy several things. Just smile and ask, “Can you work with me a little on the price?”
Remember, what you’re seeing at a sale is probably one of a kind; if you like it, grab it – or someone else will!
Sunny is a happily obsessed estate sale shopper and owner of sunnydayvintage.etsy.com