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Here’s Why You Should Shop Estate Sales on the Last Day

Antique metalware laid out on a table at an estate sale.

Whether you’re shopping estate sales for stuff for your home or you’re buying in the hopes of reselling what you score, there’s a method to getting the best deals: wait it out.

Not All Estate Sales Are Equal

I’ve been to too many estate sales to count in the past few decades, and one thing I know for sure is that no two are exactly alike. I’ve had people tell me they don’t like to shop at estate sales because stuff is too expansive—which is both true and false. Some estate sales are, in fact, overpriced and some have what seem like fire-sale prices. There are a lot of variables at play, including whether or not the estate sale is hosted by the family or a professional company.

You won’t know until you go whether or not it’s a sale with good deals. You might learn over time which companies to avoid when it comes to putting on estate sales, but with family participation in pricing, there’s no way to tell if the same estate sale business will have similar prices at multiple events.

How to Save the Most at Estate Sales

Unless you see a picture in the ad for the sale of something you’ve absolutely got to have, don’t go on the first day of the sale. For those times you see the last piece you need to complete a life long collection, it’s worth going right at the start to get it. Otherwise, wait it out.

If you do go on the first day, go to scope things out and get an idea of what there is and what prices are. If there’s something you have to have, you like the price, and you’re sure it will sell before the final day of the sale—by all means, buy it.

As someone who buys most of their estate sale finds to resell online or vending in stores and flea markets, I’m always looking for the best prices possible. That’s why I like to wait and go to the final day of the sale, and here’s why:

Everything is discounted.

Whether it’s a two-day sale or drags on a week, the final day usually has some sort of discount. I’ve found that some three-day estate sales taper the pricing over the course of the sale (like the full price the first day, 25% off the second day, and then 50% off the third day). And while 50% off is great, it isn’t the highest final-day bargain you’ll come across.

Image of final-day estate sale discount listing
An example of a cash-and-carry last day estate sale technique. Three Sparrows Services/Facebook

Here are some of the final day sale experiences I’ve had shopping at estate sales, that go beyond 50% off:

  • 75% off everything.
  • All items for $1-or-less.
  • Pay-per-bag, like $5 for anything you can fit in a paper grocery bag.
  • Everything you are able to carry out in one load for a fixed price. (For these, you can usually bring your own bags or a box, or they’ll have some available.)

That last one is my favorite, but it’s rare to run into a sale like that. I attended one recently and took two large tote bags with me, paid $10 at the door, and walked out with at least $50 worth of stuff. From a disposal standpoint, that method makes sense even if you don’t see it very often: Once the sale is over, if the house is still full of stuff, then the family and estate company have to deal with it. Rather than pay for a dumpster, you can have people pay you to haul it away!

Of course, if you don’t run into that kind of fantastic deal, a final-day-sale of everything for a dollar or less is a great deal, too.

If you want to know what final-day prices estate sales near you are doing there are better ways to go about it than poking around Craigslist. Scope out the sales on the EstateSale.Net, then find the listing company on Facebook. It’s a far more efficient way to get a bead on what’s going on and what prices to expect. Good luck!

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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