estate sales

Estate Sale Etiquette 101

1. Want something? Go to the sale.

I often get texts or phone calls asking if I will sell something early. In most cases the answer is no, you must be at the sale during sale hours to purchase. I’ve found the only way for an estate sale to be fair to all shoppers is to operate on a first come, first serve basis during sale hours.

2. Go early.

There is always a line to get into an estate sale. If you have your eye on an item, go early, sign up, and be one of the first through the door.


3. Be patient. Be kind.

This rule applies to every aspect of the sale. It can be frustrating to wait in line or to have another shopper get to an item before you do. Being rude will not get you anywhere and it might get you kicked out of the sale.

4. Ask staff to help you find what you’re looking for.

Ask the staff member at the door where the item you’re looking for is in the house. If they don’t know, find the person in charge and ask him/her.

5. Don’t walk around with an item if you’re not 100% certain you’re buying it.

I know this is tempting, but don’t cost the estate company or the client a sale because you couldn’t make up your mind.

6. Leave kids under 5 at home.

This isn’t a hard and fast rule. If you are a responsible parent or guardian, feel free to take your child to an estate sale. It’s fun for them too! Just keep your eye on them (this includes teenagers!) and don’t let them wander on their own.

7. Don’t ask for a discount at the beginning of a sale.

Unless something is clearly overpriced, save the bartering for later in the day.

Also, do not expect a deal if you’re only buying one item and it’s marked under five dollars. The more you buy, the more the estate sale owner will be willing to work with you on price.

8. If you find something you love, get it, it’s unlikely to be there on half price day.

Many people have to learn this the hard way. If you’ve found something you love, chances are it’s something someone else will want. The only time you should not buy early is if you can’t afford it!

9. Again, be patient.

This applies to the staff, too. If an estate sale employee is rude, tell the person in charge. If the person in charge is rude, shop somewhere else!

10. Tip the furniture movers.

Again, not mandatory, but nice – furniture movers work very hard.

And last, but not least:

Get to know the estate sale owner – they’ll let you know when something your style is coming up for sale.


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