Estate Sales For Collectors
Are you a collector? Find out why estate sales need to be on your radar and how to approach shopping them.
If you're a collector of almost anything estate sales are something you should consider visiting to enhance your collections. I collect knives and audio equipment, and I have visited many estate sales in search of items to add to my collection. Usually I don't find exactly what I'm looking for but I have found a few gems. The important thing is that I'm looking where other people aren't looking. Most collectors go to shows, they go to large retailers, or they go to online sites. If you go to the common places that collectible things are sold at you can expect one thing universally.... high prices!
So every collector should have estate sales on their agenda, not only are they just fun to go to and root around in, but you might find something amazing to add to your collection.
Figure Out What Region To Look In
One of the things you want to do as a collector of things is understand where to look for what you're collecting. If you're trying to collect farm equipment, attending estate sales in the city is probably the wrong strategy. Try to understand your market, take note of the areas that you find certain items you're looking for and keep an eye on those areas in the future.
What's The Reason For The Sale?
Sometimes people will list the reason for the sale like "Moving To Europe". An Estate Sale for a family that is moving can be very different from one involving a death. If people are moving think about what they might be leaving behind, perhaps unwillingly, it will most likely be larger items like furniture and other things that they might not be able to take with them.
How Big Is The House?
It can seem counterintuitive but some of the worst sales are in the biggest houses. For one, big houses means the sellers can afford to hire the right people for the job and they make sure everything of high value goes to an auction. Big houses also attract the most people. Everyone thinks they're getting a rich persons things so prices are high and the good stuff is gone quickly. If you really want to score something for your collection look out for the estate sales in smaller homes and apartments, you may find that these humble people have some nice things in their collections.
If you're new to Estate Sales you also want to keep in mind a few rules of thumb to help you be a successful Estate Sale shopper.
Estate Sale Rules Of Thumb
One of the things you always want to do is be there on day 1 when the sale opens and make a b-line for the things you're looking for. Don't stop by the kitchenwares because you just remembered you need a new coffee mug, no, stay the course and look for your specific kinds of items because the good stuff will go fast. If you're one of those people who thinks there's never anything good at estate sales you probably never get there early on the first day. Get there early, and hold on to the things you want, don't leave it and come back. If people see you admiring something, trust me, they will smell blood and will snatch it up if you put it down.
Learn how to browse. People are social animals and we take our cues from each other. If people see you admiring something they will naturally be interested in whatever it is you've found. If you make a big deal about it they're going to look at you, it's the equivalent of making a scene in public. So if you see something, just kind of look at it with a blank expression, keep your voice low, pick it up casually if you must, and put it back down. Be particularly careful if the item is something you can't carry with you. Other people may have been eyeing the item before you even got there and when they see you start exclaiming about how great it is that feeling that something is slipping through their fingers will take over and they may go buy it while you're busy admiring.
Research your sales and prioritize the ones you think could have what you're looking for. You can't be in all places at once so checking photos at online estate sale listings can be an important decision making tool. At Mega Estate Sales they have a state of the art method of delivering photos so browsing photos there will be super fast. When you have dozens of sales to research every weekend having a site that works well can be helpful.
Be a good citizen. Remember that you're a guest in someone elses home. Just be respectful of the situation and try not to do or say anything that might be offensive.
Above all though, just have fun and enjoy the process of looking.
Good luck and happy hunting!
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