Estate sales can be a great place to find unique items at low prices that you cannot find anywhere else. However, there are rules and estate sale etiquette that you should follow whenever you are looking to make a purchase at such an event. What are a few of the dos and don’ts of buying at an estate sale?

Do: Wait Until the Last Minute

You can usually get the best prices on goods at an estate sale on the final day of the sale. In fact, waiting until the final hour of the sale could result in getting rock bottom prices on everything from vintage jars to a painting of Jimi Hendrix.

Don’t: Try to Talk the Price Down on One Item

If you are only buying one item, you should be prepared to pay the full asking price for that item. This is because the company running the estate sale needs to make a profit and the family holding the sale needs the money to pay for funeral and other expenses for the deceased. Therefore, it may be considered insulting to try to haggle on purchases of a single item.

Do: Take Notes of What You See

As the estate sale will last for several days, you should take notes of anything that you are interested in and its original price. This allows you to canvass the sale for items that others may have overlooked because they did not take notes or do a thorough inventory of what was for sale.

Don’t: Expect a Refund

Sales are final at estate sales. This means that you cannot return or exchange what you have purchased for a refund or another item at the sale. In addition, you should be prepared to pay in cash for all of your purchases. While some estate sale organizers may have credit card processing software on their phones or on a computer, it is rare for that to happen.

Do: Inspect Purchases Before Buying Them

If you are buying a couch at an estate sale, make sure that you inspect it for any holes in the fabric or any mold or mildew under the cushions. If you are buying a work of art, do your best to authenticate its authenticity before you buy it. By inspecting your purchase ahead of time, you reduce the odds of buyer’s remorse after you hand over your money.

Don’t: Assume That the Small Boxes Don’t Have Anything Interesting

The smallest boxes sometimes have the biggest rewards inside of them. Small boxes containing coins, jewelry, or old watches could have items in them that are worth thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Attending an estate sale is a great way to find items that aren’t available in stores or in typical auctions. If you know what you are doing, you can get interesting items for reasonable prices that can be proudly displayed in your home or donated to a museum.