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You just discovered the wonderful world of estate sales! Congratulations, you have a lifetime of bargain and treasure hunting to look forward to! Estate sales are great ways to furnish your home, find deals, even find some treasures to flip for extra cash. No matter why you are hitting the sales, avoid these mistakes to make your shopping experience the best.

“I don’t have any cash. Can I use my debit card?”

Dude, you don’t $4 for the 2 tools you found in the basement? Be prepared with multiple forms of payment: cash, credit card, checks. If it’s a private or family run sale, they probably only take cash. For that matter some companies only take cash too. Some companies take credit cards but with a strict minimum, and it will be higher than $4. Others will take checks but want to see your ID and write down a backup credit card number. Personally, I take cash, credit and sometimes checks (I take checks from regulars that I have gotten to know over the years. You know that your in my club when I tell you that you can write a check.)

“Oh, this is a garage sale!”

No, it’s not a garage sale. It’s the whole house and we carefully stage and research the items. We worked very hard to make this sale nice and if you call it a garage sale, you hurt our feelings.

“Is this your best price?”

It’s five minutes after opening, so yeah, it’s our best price.

It’s the last day and we are offering a 50% discount on everything, but you are holding a $5 dollar item and want a better deal. Put together a BIG pile before you ask that question. Otherwise, if really the only thing you found was that $5 item, which is now $2.50, just pay it and please do not argue for another quarter off.

“I bought this drill and got it home and it doesn’t work, so can I have my money back?”

All sales are final. This is true across all estate sales. We set up extension cords so you can test your drill before buying it. If you do not see a good area to test your electronics, just ask, but it is your responsibility to test these items before buying them.

Honestly this goes for anything at an estate sale: check for stains, chips, cracks, be thorough because all sales are final.

“Can you hold this while I go home and measure?”

No, we cannot hold items. If you are in the market for large items, like a couch, measure your space BEFORE going to the sale. Write down the max dimensions that your space can handle and bring them with you along with a tape measurer.

If you forget to do all this and find the couch of your dreams at an estate sale, and you have to go home and measure, let a staff member know and tell them that you will call as soon as possible. Be prepared to pay for it over the phone and be prepared for it to already be sold.

“I came for that huge set of 48 crystal wine glasses!”

You saw the pictures online and fell in love. Fabulous! And you didn’t bring a box or paper. Pack some bags and paper for your purchases. Estate sale companies will love you for being prepared (and when we love you, we are more likely to negotiate with you).

“Will that couch I just bought fit in my Fiat 500?”

No, it won’t. Part of the reason why estate sales are a deal is that you have to figure out how to get your couch home yourself. Borrow a friend’s van, rent a U-Haul, ask the estate sale company for the name of a small mover, but have a plan. Most companies will be happy to wait for you to come back at the end of the day with a big vehicle for the couch, but be on time, because we are tired and need to get home and let the dogs out.

“Can my 27 children come in?”

This is a controversial one, like child-free weddings. Some companies say absolutely no children. At Sophia’s Estate Sales, we are fine with well behaved kids as long as the house is safe, but I have had a couple of sales in condemned properties where I did forbid kids because it definitely was not safe.

Respect every company’s policy and don’t get mad if your children are not welcome.

PS I also love dogs, so we are cool with well behaved dogs too, as long as the house is safe for them.

“I didn’t see the sign.”

If the estate sale company took the time to put up signs that list prices, policies, etc, please read them. If you missed the signs and then you are directed to read the sign, please do not get annoyed, just read the sign.

For more information on how to get the best out of an estate sale, check out these other blog posts: How to Negotiate at an Estate Sale and How to Behave at an Estate Sale.

Since 2015, Miss Sophia and Sophia's Estate Sales has been Chicago's premier estate sale and appraisal company. Call us today at 773-729-0638 for a consultation.


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