Tips for Going to Estate Sales

Tips for Going to Estate Sales: What to Bring and How to Act

Estate sales are great places to get inspiration and find your next DIY project. Rare finds including vintage pieces and antiques are the best pieces to repurpose, collect, salvage, or display in your home. A great online source to find Estate Sales in your area is  This site offers photos, maps, and directions. Other sources are Craigslist and your local PennySaver magazine. Here are a few tips for going to estate sales.

Tips for Going to Estate Sales

Are Things Cheaper at Estate Sales?

The short answer is, it depends. It depends on what you are looking for and the type of neighborhood. Generally, common household items are a great steal, however estate sales can be filled with all kinds of interesting collectibles, artwork, furniture, and antiques which can be more expensive than a garage sale. Another general rule is that the more expensive the neighborhood, the more expensive the estate sale items.

Where to Find Estate Sales

You can check with your local real estate company, Craigslist, or the newspaper for estate sales in your area. Facebook groups also have great local resources. Just search for your city and estate sales. As I mentioned above, you can find estate ales in your area at Simply plug in your zip code. You can search by date, time and distance.

What to Bring

  1. Cash it king. Bring cash. Many sales accept cash only, and if you don’t have cash, maybe you don’t need it anyway! Note that some estate sales take credit cards, but usually charge a fee. Call in advance or check the website so that you are prepared.
  2. Bring a face mask and gloves. Remember that it is unlikely that the items being sold are cleaned and sanitized.
  3. Measuring tape and will come in handy if you are shopping for furniture. Also, don’t forget your own list of space measurements.
  4. Bring your own shopping bags. Sometimes they run out or don’t have them at all.

When to Get There

Get there early, kinda sort of but not really. Ha! A lot of people feel the need to get there hours beforehand in order to get first pick, however the first day of the sale is very competitive. If you get there later, usually you have more negotiating power. Also, if you come on the last day, items are usually marked down significantly.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

  • Go there with heightened sensitivity. Some estate sales are often conducted by someone who has lost someone that they love and the items they are selling have meaning to the seller.
  • Be nice. When negotiating, don’t play hardball especially if it is early in the day. They will say “no”. Simply ask, “Can you tell me your best price for this.”
  • Stay socially distant. Respect yourself and others and remain 6 feet away at all times.
  • Roll with it… have fun and be patient. It may take a few sales to get used to.

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Estate Sale Tips - DIY Inspired

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  1. I would mark “love it” if there were such a facebook button. I have always wondered about the negotiating aspect of estate sales. I’m glad to read both your “Be nice” and “heightened sensitivity” hints, as these were the areas that have kept me from attending anything like this. Now that I know a little more, I’m a lot less intimidated. Thanks!

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