The Best Time To Hit Up An Estate Sale For The Lowest Prices And Why

Estate sales, often run by professional estate liquidation companies, are like treasure hunts for antiques, furniture, art, and other soon-to-be sentimental items. Whether you're a collector, a reseller, or someone looking to furnish your home on a budget, the best time to hit up an estate sale is on the last day, as it significantly affects the prices you pay and the deals you find. 

First, let's understand what an estate sale involves. Unlike garage or yard sales, estate sales usually occur due to significant life changes like downsizing, moving, or the death of a property owner. These sales aim to liquidate a substantial portion of someone's belongings quickly. Items range from everyday household goods to rare collectibles, all priced to sell.

Conventional wisdom suggests arriving early at sales to get the first pick of the merchandise. While it's true that showing up hours early can give you access to a broader selection of items, it doesn't always equate to getting the best deals. Prices are typically set firm on the first day and gradually decrease as the company running the sale seeks to maximize returns for their client. The golden hour for bargain hunters is typically on the last sale day, often a Saturday or Sunday. By this time, the estate sale organizers are more motivated to sell off remaining items and are more willing to negotiate prices. It's not uncommon for prices to be slashed by 50% or more, according to Edith & Evelyn Home. The downside? The selection may be picked over, with high-demand items likely gone.

Why do the last days offer the best deals?

As the sale comes closer to its end, the priorities shift. This urgency creates a buyer's market where negotiation becomes more welcomed, and prices are more flexible. Also, since many attendees aim for the first day to snatch up the best selection, the later days are less crowded, allowing for more relaxed browsing and negotiation. Take your time and make the most you can with an estate sale nearing its end.  

On the last day, it's common for sellers to be open to bulk deals, offering discounts if you're willing to buy multiple items. This might sound overwhelming, but you can make the most of your estate sale shopping with a comprehensive strategy. Firstly, many estate sales now offer previews of their items online before the event itself. Matt Ellison, the Director of Marketing at EstateSales.Net, emphasizes the importance of this practice in an interview with Architectural Digest. He advises potential buyers to identify the items they're most interested in beforehand, thereby allowing them to strategize their visit more effectively. 

If something catches your eye, go early; otherwise, wait for the discounts. Even on the last day, there's an art to negotiation. Just ensure that you are always respectful and reasonable with your offers. Experts at Hall's Auction Services recommend several strategies for your initial bargaining attempt: always maintain politeness, begin with a low offer, and be prepared to walk away if the seller is unwilling to negotiate.

The final hour: last-minute deals

The final hour of an estate sale is a period ripe with potential for discerning bargain hunters, offering opportunities for securing the best deals. As the clock ticks down, the urgency to liquidate the remaining items intensifies, transforming the sale into a buyer's market. Side tip: if you're a frequent attendee and are starting to get to know the organizers, you might be privy to a better deal with the primary aim shifting to the clearance of goods. 

This final stretch is a scenario where the adage "everything must go" truly comes to life. This is the best time to acquire valuable items, whether for personal use, collection, or resale, at minimal costs. However, shopping during the last hour can be tricky and stressful. Patience and flexibility are key, as the remaining selection might not include the most sought-after items but still holds hidden gems. Finally, don't be intimidated by those around you. An estate sale can get populated, and this isn't the first rodeo for many of them. Learn from them and watch what they do. 

The rewards can be substantial for those willing to embrace the uncertainty and excitement of the sale's final moments. It caters to thrift enthusiasts and deal seekers and offers a sustainable choice for repurposing and rehoming items that might otherwise be discarded. With patience and a strategy, there is no best time of year for estate sales; there is only the best time to hit up one.