Whether you're an estate sale newbie or a seasoned veteran, this list of unofficial estate sale shopping tips will get you through any sale that comes your way.
1. Bring cash
Many estate sale companies can now handle credit card transactions and most will note in their ad what other types of payments they accept. But, it's always best to take cash when estate sale shopping, in case the company running the sale doesn't accept any other forms of payment.
2. Call a sitter
Serious shoppers may want to leave the kids at home. Most companies have a "you break it, you buy it" policy, which means you're responsible for any damages, whether accidental or intentional. Some estate sales get hectic and keeping up with a small child while maneuvering through a house full of valuable items can be difficult. We recommend leaving the kids with a sitter so you can take time with your spouse or for yourself. Trust us, you'll be glad you did!
3. Map out the sales
There are almost always multiple estate sales going on at a time in any given area. Wasting time mapping out the sales as they're beginning could cost you a smokin' deal. We offer a few tools like daily email blasts and an app for Android and iPhone.
We suggest taking a few minutes the night before shopping to browse the sales on our site in your area. Utilize our routing feature to map out the best route using your favorite app. REMEMBER: The early bird catches the worm. If you want that table you've been drooling over for the past six days, be sure to arrive at the sale early so no one else snags your find and blows your mood.
4. Dress comfortably
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that you can easily move around in, but leave the work boots at home. Sometimes people still live in the homes where sales take place, so you wouldn't want to track dirt through the house.
5. Ditch the purse
We've found that many companies no longer allow large purses, so we recommend not bringing one at all. If leaving your purse isn't an option, try wearing a crossbody bag or carrying a small wallet instead.
6. Clean your car
You never know what sort of treasures you'll stumble upon while shopping at estate sales. Clear out your car before shopping and dodge this beginner's mistake.
7. Go green
Have reusable shopping bags, newspapers, and towels available in your car. Some sales may provide bags or boxes for you, but stay green by returning them after your things are delivered to your car. The towels and newspapers make great bumpers for fragile items and the shopping bags will help hold everything in place. Make sure not to skip step six, should you find any unexpected treasures!
8. Bring the muscle
Be ready to haul your own load to your car. That's right, many sales' workers are very busy and don't have someone handy to help carry items out to your car. You'll want to bring someone with you or have them on-call, just in case you strike estate sale gold.
9. Have transportation
Have a truck on standby in the event your estate sale find is too large for your vehicle. Most companies ask that the items be removed from the sale as soon as possible, so we suggest keeping your friends with trucks on speed dial.
10. Let the good times roll!
In my humble opinion, the best part of any estate sale (aside from finding great deals) is discovering treasures both old and new. It's always a treat to run across something you've owned or dreamed of owning as a child. Or maybe it's the designer purse you've always wanted. Either way, I encourage everyone to have fun and enjoy your walk down memory lane.
Keep in mind that every sale is different and each company will vary on leniency with things like accepted forms of payment, hauling large items to your car, and allowing children. It's a good idea to check the ad before heading out to any sale because the company will oftentimes disclose any shopping and sale terms inside their sale's Terms & Conditions.
Be sure to check back here for more tips and tricks when estate sale shopping!