What if you were sitting on a fortune and you didn’t even know it? With the power of an estate sale, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” can be very true. But you have to know how estate sales work if you want to get the treasure at the end of the sales rainbow!
Estate sales can be mysterious and confusing, both for those attending them and those who are hosting them. Knowing how these sales work is critical to making the most of the experience.
Keep reading to discover our guide that answers your question: just how do estate sales work?
More Than a Garage Sale
The first rookie mistake that most people make is to think that an estate sale is the same as a garage sale. After all, both of them center on selling items from around the house that you no longer want.
However, an estate sale is much larger in scale than a garage sale. It involves selling more items and ideally reaching a far larger market.
This makes the estate sale pretty intimidating for those who are hosting it. That’s why it’s important to figure out if you want to hire any professionals to help manage it.
Should You Hire Professionals?
If you’re hosting an estate sale, hiring professionals will make it much easier. However, it comes at a price: many professional companies will take a commission on any profits that you make.
That makes many people wonder if it is worth it to hire professionals. The honest answer: it depends, as there are a number of pros and cons.
The benefits of hiring professionals include getting more buyers. This is because they have existing networks of interested buyers as well as the experience necessary to market your estate sale to others. On top of that, they can help you value items and find alternative avenues for selling items of very high value.
We’ve already covered the main con of hiring professionals: having to pay a commission on whatever you sell. You may want to do the estate sale on your own if you have a large enough network of potential buyers and you are willing to spend the extra time organizing and marketing your estate sale.
Secrets of a Good Estate Sale
Whether you hire pros or do it yourself, there are a few surefire secrets to a successful estate sale. The first step: don’t throw anything away!
Many people try to combine hosting an estate sale with doing some spring cleaning. But if you focus too much on cleaning, you might end up throwing away something that could have brought you a tidy profit.
Don’t forget to keep family members in the loop. If you end up selling a beloved family keepsake that someone else thought they had a claim to, it may kick off years of family drama.
Make sure you have a Square reader or some other way of accepting debit and credit cards. The math on this is simple: the more ways people can pay, the more you’ll get paid!
How Do Estate Sales Work? The Bottom Line
Now you have an answer to the question “how do estate sales work?” Here’s another question, though: do you know who can help you with your own estate sale?
At Prestige Estate Services, we are the ultimate authority in successful estate sales. To see how we can boost your profits, reach out and contact us today!
You never know what you’re going to find at an estate sale. Much of it depends on the recently deceased’s tastes.
Not everyone enjoys Asian inspired furniture or artwork. There’s also no guarantee the items are in great condition.
But you also never know what types of treasures are hidden you might find. Often, there are a few gems to find and if you’re really lucky, it’s priced much lower than buying new.
Of course, that only works if you know what you’re looking for. To help you become a professional shopper, here are the top three things to look for at estate sales.
1. Art Work And Prints Are Among The Top Things To Look For At Estate Sales
One of the best things to buy at estate sales is art prints. You’ll always find a unique selection at every estate sale.
Oil paintings are among the top antiques to look for at estate sales. Stay abreast on which themes are the most popular amongst art collectors.
Find out which illustrators are worth the most amount of cash at an auction and look for their work at estate sales.
If you’re looking for yourself, find what you like that compliments your decor.
2. Vintage Toys And Games Are Great Estate Sale Finds
If you’re looking for antiques to purchase, look for old toys and games. The toys you played with as a kid are often worth a lot of money now.
Toys such as Legos are worth a lot of money. Especially Legos from the Star Wars line. Actually, anything Star Wars related has value, even action figures released now are expected to hold value in the future.
Any toys from the 1980s, especially ones with their own shows like “My Little Pony” is worth a lot now that nostalgia is high. Even board games are worth a good chunk of cash these days.
Look for toys and games in pristine condition that are still in its original box. It’s worth more if it’s never been opened.
3. Kitchenware Is What Sells At Estate Sales
One great estate sale find is any type of kitchenware. No matter what you end up buying, you’ll always get a better deal than if you buy it from any store.
That’s especially true for small kitchen appliances. Some vintage brands like Sunbeam are now collectibles.
If you’re looking for yourself, you can find tons of old china and fancy glassware. Most of it doesn’t have much of a market value anymore but some of it like Royal Crown Derby still does.
Look for brand names as they still can fetch its original value. Kitchen antiques to look for at estate sales include Pyrex, cookie jars, and cast iron pans.
Anything that’s unique, kitschy, and catches someone’s eye is also a great purchase. Either you’ll enjoy it as a conversation piece or someone else will pay good money for it.
Hosting Of Your Own Estate Sale
Perhaps you’ve recently lost a loved one and are finding it difficult to sort through their things.
We understand how hard that process is. We’ve helped many people like you through the process.
Sometimes, the hardest part is just getting started. Click here to learn what your first steps are.
You may not think some of the collectibles, antiques, or toys you have now could be valuable. But the truth is, they might gain more value in the years to come.
Some of the collectibles we had as children are helping those who thought ahead to cash in and make some money.
Keep reading for a list of popular collectibles that are gaining in value.
Popular Collectibles That Are Gaining in Value
If you have any of these, keep them around and cash them in later. If not, you’ll want to think about making them your next investment.
Knowing how to sell your collectibles will also help you make the most profit. Do plenty of research before placing your valuables on the market.
Comic books aren’t solely for kids. They’re perfect things to collect that will be worth money in the future.
If you have comic books from days gone by, or newer ones, in great condition, do some research on the value. Anything that is a first edition will most likely sell for a good price. Keep an eye out for comics with a characters first appearance as well.
We all have hand-me-down Christmas ornaments. Ornaments that came with instructions to remember who’s side of the family owned them.
If you’re not as nostalgic at others, you could sell them at an estate sale for a pretty penny. Glass ornaments from Germany are the most valuable. But there are ones with handpainted details that can also make a profit.
What we’ve always called costume jewelry is gaining value at estate sales. You can find all kinds of pins, necklaces, and earrings that you might have seen family members wear.
If you have a stash of vintage jewelry someone passed down to you, try appraising it to see how much it’s worth. Gemstones aren’t the only pricey jewelry anymore.
First Edition Books
When you come across old books at garage sales, they’re usually piled together in a bargain box. If you find a first edition, hold onto it.
Older and more popular books will sell for the most profit. Signed editions are also a plus.
There’s no guarantee for all books and how well people will receive them. But there are websites where you can find the precise value of your book.
These items, intrinsic to some of our childhoods, are now seen as vintage products.
VHS tapes may not be modern entertainment anymore. But they have definitely gained value. These collectible items are exactly what people are looking for to rewind time and have a piece of the past.
When looking for treasure in the dusty storage room, look for rare items. Collectors editions and controversial material will also be on the list of valuables.
Buying and Selling at Estate Sales
You can find popular collectibles that are gaining in value at estate sales. You’re bound to find treasure if you search hard enough.
Antique appraisals are perfect for antiques or collectibles you believe to be valuable. Read “What You Need to Know About Appraisal Services” for more information.
You never know what you’re going to find at an estate sale. Some people even make a living out of searching for rare and unusal items at estate sales.
But, how do those people find such great deals? Are they just lucky, or is there some skill involved? How does an estate sale work?
While there is some luck involved, there are also some estate sale tips to follow that will help you find incredible deals on unique pieces.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to find the best deals while shopping at estate sales.
How Does an Estate Sale Work?
Before we get into finding the best deals, let’s look at how estate sales work.
When the majority of someone’s belongings need to be sold, an estate sale is held. Often, these happen when someone passes away, and their family sells everything they owned.
Although a family can hold an estate sale themselves, it’s often an outside company that comes in to take care of this process for them. The company then gets either a portion of the sale proceeds or else a set fee.
As a buyer at an estate sale, all you have to do is go in, find what you want, and buy it. But, getting the best deals will take a little more work than that.
Tip 1: Do Your Research
Many companies will allow you to take a peek at what’s available in their upcoming estate sales. This will help you choose which sales you want to go to since there will likely be a few going on at the same time.
On top of researching the companies, you may also want to research a few items to be on the lookout for. Some items that can turn you a big profit are rings, watches, and antique furniture.
Tip 2: Get There Early
Estate sales operate on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, so if you want to make sure you get the best stuff, you have to get inside first.
Some people line up several hours before the doors open, so arriving even a few minutes before the start of the sale could put you surprisingly far back in the line. When lining up, be sure to be curteous to the other people.
Tip 3: Know Where to Look
What you’re looking for will determine where you want to start. If you’re looking for jewelry, for example, you likely want to begin at the checkout table of the organizers, since small valuable pieces are usually kept their watchful eyes for security reasons. But, if you’re looking for decorative pieces, the living room might be a better starting place.
Although not everything will be where it was when the owner had it, many times, items have simply been moved out into the open so buyers can easily find them.
Tip 4: Have a Plan
If you’re just looking for yourself, then you’re free to spend as much as you want on items. However, if you’re looking to make some money from your purchases, then you’ll need to know how to sell them.
Do you have a booth at an antique store where you can sell them? Will you be listing them on online? Or do you have a buyer lined up who requested specific items? Knowing how you will sell items in advance will help you understand how much you can spend.
Your Next Step
Now that you know how does an estate sale work, you can start going out and getting some incredible deals.
Check out our list of upcoming auctions to find great deals at estate sales.
Are you a jewelry collector? Did you know you can sometimes find beautiful and unique pieces at estate sales?
Items at estate sales are usually priced to sell, so they provide an excellent opportunity to find quality pieces at a reasonable price.
If you are interested in checking out an estate sale on the hunt for antique jewelry, check out our five tips to ensure you end up happy!
1. Research the Seller
If you can see some pieces ahead of time, be sure to do some online digging. This is especially true for any online estate sales.
Be careful if you research a piece and find the seller is offering multiple of the same article. In such a case you can usually assume it’s not a real piece of vintage jewelry.
Check any available feedback for the seller. This can tell you a lot about if other customers have been satisfied.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
You likely will never regret asking too many questions about an item or sale. When possible, speak with the seller to investigate a piece you have your eye on.
A good question to ask is how they came to acquire the piece. Stories like family heirlooms or a purchase from another estate sale are usually good signs for the piece being authentic.
Honest sellers will be happy to give you as much information as they have, including remarks on the condition and age of the piece.
Be sure to have a look at our list of the top dos and don’ts of estate sales.
3. Check for Patina on Antique Jewelry
Vintage jewelry should look just that, old. When buying antique pieces, you want to see some signs of aging. Always look at any prongs to see if they look worn and check out the enamel.
If the enamel looks new and barely touched, the ring or bracelet is probably not hundreds of years old, regardless of what the seller says. Patina should be present to at least some degree on old pieces.
Check every angle of the piece, not just the front.
4. Be Familiar with Maker’s Marks
When buying jewelry at an estate sale, look for a maker’s mark. Antique jewelers usually left a signature mark one very piece they made.
You can easily research online well-known jewelers’ marks. Use this information to match up any marks you find while shopping at the estate sale.
5. Evaluate the Price
The saying “If it sounds too good, it probably is,” definitely applies when shopping for vintage jewelry. Be cautious of any pieced priced at an extremely low point.
If a piece is genuinely antique and high-quality, the article will not be selling for cheap. For example, if you find an antique ring with a mark priced under $30, be sure to do extra investigating.
Snag Your Perfect Piece
With these five tips, you are well-equipped to find the antique jewelry of your dreams. Whether you are looking for a ring, bracelet, or necklace, you never know what you will find at an estate sale!
If you still have some questions about a specific estate sale, please contact us, and we would love to help!