Estate sales are the answer for thrifters who have become tired of the routine nature of their local antique homewares store or estate auctions. "Estate sales are like treasure hunts in real life," explains Lauren Caron, founder of Studio Laloc. "I went to each sale with a specific goal in mind, but I always came away with something absolutely unexpected!" So, what precisely are they? An estate sale is a sale in which all of the contents of a person's home are for sale.
They could take place over several days or be completed in a single day. And, at most, you'll be able to glimpse a few images of the inside before you go. Rodney Lawrence, principal at Rodney Lawrence Inc., adds, "What I appreciate about estate sales is you never know what you're going to find." "I enjoy the thrill of a good hunt." If you go in with no expectations, you might just come home with a hidden gem."
An estate sale is open to the public. It's as simple as finding out about it, showing up, and making your purchases. Here's how to get started.
What is the best way to find out about an estate sale?
A slew of aggregator websites and apps have sprung up to assist homeowners in marketing their deals and helping customers find them. "I go to www.estatesales.net, which also has an app that shows where estate sales are." "You can quickly 'favourite' the weekend sales, which adds them to a map that makes it easy to jump from sale to sale," Lauren explains. "I'm also on the EstateSales.net email list, which gives out weekly notifications about future deals."
Browse estate auctions near me if you want to find local auctions. There are several online auction sites where you can explore for the items you want.
Lawrence uses www.estatesales.com and www.estatesales.org, which allow you to "limit your search by location," and also looks for listings in local newspapers. (You've surely seen signs promoting estate sales on streetposts; that works, too!) According to Rodney, if you have a good relationship with any local antiques sellers, they may be ready to let you know about the finest upcoming sales before they're featured in listings.
Aside from these aggregates, there are companies that run estate sales, which are paid by the family or individual selling everything. (It's understandable that the family left behind seeks professional help organising the sale because estate sales often take place quickly after the homeowner passes away or is moved to an assisted care facility.) "I'll ask the hosts to add me to their private email list for my favourites." Lauren writes, "This typically gives them early access to the addresses and images of the sales they're hosting."
What kinds of stuff will you come across?
Most likely, there will be a lot of personal items, such as closets full of the recently deceased's clothes, photos, and keepsakes. (You know, the kind of thing that makes for a fantastic TikTok.) But there's also an entire house full of coordinated ornamental elements! Lauren refers to them as "instant collections." "At an estate sale, the previous owners have already put in the effort." For example, one could buy a sofa set, art collections, china, glassware, novels, and so on." Lawrence looks for "a property that hasn't changed hands in a long time, or has been in the same family for generations," as these are often hidden gems.
Examine the photographs to get a sense of what will be available at a given auction and whether it is even worth your time to attend. Lauren adds, "I always look at the furniture, paintings, and rugs in the listing photographs first." "It's highly likely that there will be a big sale if there are any distinctive artefacts, such as antiques or particularly fine rugs." I also make a point of inspecting the kind of sofas in the house. Great lines, nice upholstery, or anything special are all signs that the sale is going to be worthwhile. I went to one sale that was held in a Parish-Hadley-designed home! It was fantastic. I examine the listing for key terms like antiques, Baker furniture, silver, antique carpets, and so on if there aren't any images, which isn't very often these days."
How can you get your hands on the excellent stuff?
"Arrive as soon as feasible. "In these cases, the early bird absolutely gets the worm," Rodney explains. If you "must" have an item you've seen in the images, Lauren recommends visiting an hour before the doors open: "Otherwise, going early on the first day provides the most opportunity to acquire the best goods, then attending towards the conclusion of a sale is ideal for getting the best discounts." If you're on one of the hosting firms' email lists, like Lauren is, you might be able to sign up for the sale through email ahead of time to guarantee a spot in line.
Because prices for goods in an estate sale are not publicised ahead of time, you should conduct some research on any pieces you like in the images to see what they generally cost. Breuer chairs, Marcel Breuer's cane-and-chrome 50s staples that have resurfaced in fashion, are now selling for $300 on Etsy. So if you see some at an estate sale, you'll know how much they're worth, ensuring that you get a good price and don't overspend.
"Some sales allow you to bid on products," Lauren explains. As a result, I always inquire if the host accepts bids. If that's the case, on the first day, I'll place a bid on an item that's out of my price range. If it hasn't sold by the second day, I will 'win' the item."
Published by William Thomas