Frequently Asked Questions from Shoppers
Why buy from an estate sale?
There are many reasons to buy from an estate sale, in fact you can find vintage and antique items that in some cases are one-of-a-kind. Add to this the fun-factor, and it's a win-win for everyone.
Are there any rules of which we need to be aware ?
There are a few rules that everyone must follow, most of which involve common courtesy:
Never park to block a driveway or the street and always park legally.
Do not park in the driveway of the house unless you are loading. When you are done loading, please move your car so others can load. If you get blocked in, you will have to wait for them to move.
Be courteous and do not push or shove. Many of our customers are older and it’s easy for them to lose their balance or be injured.
Do not be rude or impatient. Everyone wants to buy all the good stuff and get out the door fast, but delays will happen and sometimes other people will get to the bargains first. We are all adults and we want everyone to act like it.
Have fun. Remember, this is your day off and it is time to slow down and not be stressed.
Do all estate sale companies operate the same?
Not really. Every estate company is owned, and operated by an individual who runs their companies by rules they think are appropriate. Many companies copy techniques of others, so there will be some similarities, and some will have large differences. Some are better ran than others, and if you have questions you should check with each individual company as to their rules and policies.
Do you allow purses into the sale?
Yes, and we always will.
Do dealers get the best deals?
Not really. Dealers need to make money on their purchases so they have a limit on how much they can spend on an item before it's not profitable. This gives the retail shopper an edge, as you can still get a great deal on an item for under retail, but slightly more than wholesale. Most dealers shop with us on the first day to see if there are any “sleeper” bargains, to leave bids on items they want, and to see what would be worth waiting in line for the second day. They usually do their bulk buying on the second day, so non-dealers have a great opportunity to get fantastic deals on Saturday.
Who can shop with you?
It always amazes me when people think estate sales are for dealers only. Most of our customers are normal people just looking for furniture and household items. Some are first time home owners furnishing a new home, some already have a home but are looking to trade up to nicer things, and some just shop as a hobby.
Do you allow children?
Yes, We allow your well-behaved children. We ask that you keep your children with you at all times for their safety and for our other shoppers' safety, do not let them run where they can trip someone. If they are being loud, crying, or unruly, we ask you to take them outside until they are calm.
Do estate sale companies buy all the good stuff?
We can only speak for ourselves, but the answer is no. We do not buy for resale, so we are not competing with other dealers. We only allow our employees to buy things after the first day.
Is everything listed in the ad and shown in the pictures really for sale?
Yes, but often things change. We do our best to make sure every item is for sale when we open for our sale, but occasionally our clients change their minds. They may decide to keep some items or bring us even more things to sell, and if we are doing a family presale they might buy it before the general public sale. This is an unfortunate inconvenience of doing estate sale, and we have no control over this.
When are the best times to attend a sale?
Although some people show up hours early to get the first places in line, even being 30 minutes early will get you a position close to the front of the line. Being first in line will give you the best chance of getting something you really want. Alternatively, we have lots of experienced shoppers who wait until we have been open for about an hour so the initial rush will be over and they can shop without it being as crowded. They take a chance that an item may be sold, but they also get closer parking and fewer crowds. I would say pick which way appeals to you and make it an enjoyable experience.
Do you have a sign-up sheet?
We do not use sign-up sheets, as I do not feel they give everyone a fair chance. If a customer is willing to wait at the front of the line, I feel they deserve to get in first. Many times people will cheat the list, either by adding names of friends or dealers that are not there, or in some cases, switching out the lists with lists of their own. We usually let everyone in when we open anyway.
Do you hold presales?
We do not hold presales for the public. On rare occasions, we will hold family only presales or a presale for the family purchasing the home.
Does an estate sale mean someone has died?
No, most of our sales take place because our clients moved to assisted living, downsized, moved out of state, or in some cases got married and has two of everything.
What should I bring to estate sales to make it easier?
This depends on what types of things you buy. If you buy smaller items, shopping bags and wrapping paper is always a good idea, as we tend to run out very fast at some sales. Boxes to pack if you tend to buy lots of stuff, and if you buy furniture, you should bring a vehicle to haul it in, rope to secure it, a furniture Dolly, a willing helper, and a measuring tape. It's not a bad idea to pack drinks and snacks as you might find yourself spending a day when you hit the right sale.
Do you allow food and drink into homes?
We prefer you leave food and drink in your car if possible unless you have blood sugar issues. We ask that any food or drinks that do get brought inside are properly disposed of in the trash.
How do you come up with your prices?
We price everything based on how well it has sold in the past. If something doesn't sell well, we price it lower, and when there is high demand for items we may price them higher. New items are usually priced a percentage off of the new prices.
Are estate sale prices too high?
Every company operates differently so we can only speak for ourselves. We price everything based off our past selling experience. You will pay less than new prices but more than garage sale prices. Unlike a garage sale, the items are not for sale because they are worn out or broken, they are simply not needed any more and have plenty of life left in them. Price is also relative to each individual. 4.00 for a used pair of shoes may be high to some people but a bargain to others.
How do I buy something?
For most items, all you need to do is pick it up and carry it with you. We will have a sold area where we will hold it for you, located by the cashier. For furniture, or large items, most will have a large yellow tag. Simply pull the tag off and carry it with you and tell one of the many estate sale employees you are buying it so they can mark it sold. It is very important to let us know so we can tag it sold for you, so we won't sell it to someone else. If you are buying an item in a locked case, the item will be placed with the cashier and you may pick it up when you pay for it from the cashier. If in doubt, just ask one of us and we will be happy to assist you.
Can I take pictures of items or research items on the Internet?
Of course you can. We encourage you to look up items to see how good of deal you are getting and you may send pictures to all your friends and family for approval. We are very dealer friendly and even have some dealers who bring in book scanners and research books while shopping. Our goal is to sell it.
Can I leave a bid on an item?
Yes! We have an entire bid page dedicated to how to leave a bid and the rules to follow. You may click the link in the previous sentence to be redirected to information about bidding.
What form of payments do you accept?
We accept cash, and credit/debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
Can I return an item?
The general rule of estate sales is that there are no returns. However, we may allow same-day returns under certain circumstances. These circumstances are usually negotiated before you buy an item it and you should check with the cashier for more information. A good example of a returnable item would be if we were selling a phone, but had no active phone line to test the working condition. We would allow you to take it home and test it and bring it back if it didn't work. An example of a non-returnable item would be a sofa that you bought but it didn't work in the place you wanted it to go.
Do you load furniture?
The general rule-of-thumb is that we don't help move furniture. We have had many injuries from helping people move items ranging from hernias, cracked ribs, torn ligaments, and twisted ankles. We may, at slower times of the day, help the elderly or handicapped with lightweight items, but it is always best to plan on having your own helpers to move whatever you buy.
Do I have to pay sales tax?
Yes, we are a licensed business and we have to charge sales tax, just like Wal-Mart unless you have a sales tax resale number or are a disabled vet with a state-issued card.
Can we negotiate on prices?
We always allow you to place a written bid on any item. However, every sale is different and we work under ever-changing situations. We normally only negotiate with sales over $1,000 or at the very end of the sale.
When do you do your discounts?
We are full price Saturday from 9am to 5pm. At 1pm Saturday, we offer 25% off every item, and on Sunday from 9pm to 4pm we offer 50% off everything, except on excluded items.
Can I get 50% off on Saturdays after you close at 5PM?
Unfortunately, no. We give our clients the opportunity to do a walk through and decide if they don't want certain items to be reduced. This usually happens on Saturday evenings and we often don't know until Sunday mornings what will and won't be reduced. If you are seriously interested in an item you should purchase the item before this happens as sometimes the family keeps an item and not offered for sale the second day.
Can I get some great bargains at the end of the sale?
Every sale is different, but normally, no. Most sales we do will be donated to a local charity, and this donation has cash value for our clients. Any discount more than 66% off is usually worth more as a donation than as a sale. Like we said, every sale is handled differently, but this is our general rule.