Welcome to part 2 of Estate Sales 101! Yesterday I ran through some of the basics of estate sales....and today I'm going to share some of the things we've learned over the years.
So here you go...
1. Obviously, the first day of the sale is usually the best. HOWEVER, sellers are less willing to negotiate prices and lines may be long on the first day. But if you do see something you really want, the first day is definitely the day to go...
2. The last day of the sale (most often Saturday) is usually 50% off everything (or at least off items). We love going on Saturdays because we love getting the extra deal. BUT, like I mentioned in #1, there aren't as many items available on the last day.
3. Don't be afraid to dig. I have found the coolest stuff at the bottom of a pile. And the companies hired to run the sale don't always have the time to go through EVERYTHING in EVERY pile.
4. If a price isn't marked, ask. Or offer an amount you think is fair. It never hurts.
5. If you find a bunch of things you love, negotiate with the cashier. Frank Fritz on American Pickers is famous for this...it's called "bundling." If your individual items cost $18.00 all together, offer to pay $15.00 for the lot...I'd be surprised if you don't get it.
6. Don't expect to get something for nothing. Even though the workers are not attached to the items, they are still interested in making money...don't think that you will get a Mid-Century Federal-Style writing desk for $20...it's not gonna happen.
7. Be nice. The people who run the sales are just people. They have worked really hard to get everything prepared in a neat and orderly way. Sure, other customers can get pushy...but we've rarely found this in our experience.
8. If you see something you want, grab it. It may not be there if you spend a lot of time roaming around the house trying to decide if you should buy it.
9. If you saw something online in a photo, but don't see it in the house, ask a worker. Sometimes things are in remote places that may not be readily visible.
and 10. HAVE FUN! Unless you are a serious collector, don't be upset if you don't get what you want...there will always be another sale. I can't tell you how many times we've been disappointed at one sale only to be pleasantly surprised at the next.
Here are just two of the fantastic deals we've gotten at estate sales...
My sewing table...which included a machine, tons of bobbins, a sewing book & a boat-load of attachments...$10. Yep, TEN DOLLARS! The one knob is missing now, but it was there when we bought it. Eventually I will get around to painting it and it will be perfect. I can't tell you just how invaluable this purchase has been...
Our awesome camera lenses...
When we walked into this sale we saw a whole bunch of SLR camera equipment, both Canon and Minolta. It just so happens that our SONY DSLR can use Minolta lenses...so BINGO! I did a quick search on my phone just to make sure and then I checked the price on the Minolta stuff. $20. FOR. EVERYTHING. That included these two lenses (A70-210/4 zoom and an 28-85mm 1:3.5 (22) - 4.5...both with macros). awesome. PLUS a camera body, filters on both the lenses, and storage bags. $20 bucks. Doug did a little quick research and found that each of these lenses still go for over $100...score!
Pretty cool, huh?
So, what do you think? Do you hit estate sales? Or do you think you'll start? And if you already frequent them, what's the best thing you've found?