Estate Sales 101: Shopping and Selling

Insider Tips for Buying and Selling at Estate Sales

Ready to start shopping estate sales like a pro? Or do you want to hold one of your own? Learn everything you need to know in Estate Sales 101:

  • 01 of 07
    woman browsing antiques at an estate sale
    Zero Creatives/Cultura/Getty Images

    New to shopping estate sale sales? Or just not having much success?

    Read this step-by-step guide to getting the good stuff at estate sales. It covers everything from arriving at the right time to being the first to find the finest items.

    It's the next best thing to having a pro show you the ropes in person.

  • 02 of 07
    Woman shopping for artwork at an estate sale.
    Cavan Images/Taxi/Getty Images

    Now that you know the basics of shopping at estate sales, it's time to get really good at it. You can do that by reading and following these crucial estate sale do's and don'ts.

    After all, there's nothing worse than watching other shoppers going home with things you wish you'd bought.

  • 03 of 07
    estate sale at the historic Annesdale-Snowden house in Memphis, TN
    "no goes" by theogeo / CC BY 2.0 / cropped from original

    All the shopping do's in the world won't help you if you don't know estate sale etiquette.

    Though the same rules of good conduct apply to yard sales, they're especially important at estate sales. After all, the same handful of professional liquidators likely organize most of the estate sales in your area. If they catch you doing any of these things, you may get banned -- and they probably will remember your face.

  • 04 of 07
    Antique and vintage furniture at an estate sale
    Paul Viant/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    What can you find at estate sales?

    The answer is anything and everything used to furnish a home, function in life, and enjoy during your leisure time. In short, you can usually find everything the owner or heir to the estate ever owned.

    However, some items are particularly choice finds at estate sales. Here's a list of things you might ought to buy.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    estate sale sign
    David H. Lewis/E+/Getty Images

    Wondering where to sell your stuff?

    Are things you want to seller finer than the average yard sale fare? Do you have a house full of them?

    Do you want to sell everything all at once instead of piecemeal over several weeks or moths? And, do you have an indoor location to hold your sale?

    If you can answer yes to these and other questions, an estate sale might be the right place to sell.

  • 06 of 07
    Elderly couple meeting with liquidator for an estate sale
    kristian sekulic/Vetta/Getty Images

    If you're downsizing, divorcing, or dealing with the property of someone deceased, you may be thinking of holding an estate sale.

    The easiest way to have an estate sale is to hire an estate sale pro.

    Estate sale companies and professional liquidators usually do all of the work for you in exchange for a fee or percentage of the profit. But, don't sign anything unless you ask these questions first.

  • 07 of 07
    Small estate sale goods at the checkout area.
    Richard I'Anson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    If hiring an liquidation pro doesn't appeal to you, it's possible to organize an estate sale on your own. That way you get to keep all of the profit -- but you also have to do all of the work.

    Here's a step-by-step guide to holding your own estate sale. It covers pricing, advertising, display, and running things on the day of the event. You'll also learn about things you might not have considered, such as hiring security and someone to help load.