Estate sales have become a popular weekend shopping destination. Shoppers often look for mid-century furniture, fine art, collectibles, and glassware. On sale days, expect a feeding frenzy as shoppers and dealers search for good bargains on furnishings and collectibles. On the last day, you’ll find good stuff at drastically reduced prices. Learn how to find estate sales in cities and towns from New York to Los Angeles.
How to Find Estate Sales
Maybe you live in a rural area or a small town with limited resources. In these cases, your local newspaper may be the best bet for locating estate sales. In a good-sized town or a city, you’re likely to find estate sales & auctions on estate sale listing sites. Real estate agents may also have details on upcoming sales.
Local Newspaper Classified Listings
Many local newspapers continue to shrink their print editions while increasing more economical online publications. In small towns, however, daily or weekly newspapers are still a major part of the community landscape. These local newspapers generally maintain an online footprint as well.
If your local newspaper publishes a daily print edition, browse the classified section on the day before the sale. Most estate sales, also known as “tag sales,” begin on Friday, so check Thursday’s edition. If the estate sale company purchased a classified ad package, the ad may appear earlier in the week.
Most weekly newspapers publish on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. This convenient publication date gives you plenty of time to pinpoint upcoming sales before the weekend.
Your local newspaper’s online edition likely offers multiple-day classified ad packages. Therefore, the estate sale ads may appear several days before the sale. At the very least, the ad should appear on Thursday. If your local paper only publishes online weekly, the ads should go live on the publication date.
Community Bulletin Boards
Community bulletin boards remain a viable way to advertise for a business or event. When you visit the laundromat, grocery store, library, or any other popular local venue, look for a bulletin board in a highly visible location.
Estate Sale Street Signs
Looking for estate sale street signs is like going on a treasure hunt. Early on Friday morning, cruise your neighborhood and look for colorful signs or posters that point the way to a sale. It’s like typing into Google, “estate sales near me now,” except, in this instance, Google is your car.
Once you find a sign, just follow the arrows and directions. You’ll soon come upon a home full of intriguing furnishings and collectibles. Stated another way, a good estate sale is much more interesting than a garage sale or a yard sale.
Estate Sale Companies’ Marketing Efforts
To keep the company growing, estate liquidators must continue to work both ends of the business. First, they need a steady stream of customers to purchase the ever-changing influx of furnishings and collectibles. Companies tend to email sale notifications, advertise on social media, and send direct mail advertising. Be on the lookout for marketing materials from estate sale companies.
Upcoming Sales Publicity
Let’s say you find a great estate sale in your neighborhood. After you purchase your treasures, ask the estate sale manager for a list of upcoming sales.
In addition, ask the company to add your name to the email notifications list. Simply put, you always want some options for estate sales in your area.
Consignment Shop Resources
Some estate liquidators also operate consignment shops filled with items that didn’t sell at estate sales. If you’re browsing through one of these stores, ask for a list of upcoming sales.
Social Media Presence
Many estate sale companies operate one or more social media business pages. Besides adding dates of upcoming sales, they post photos of rare or unusual merchandise designed to draw customers to the sale venues.
Estate Sale Liquidators Connections
To get the inside track on estate sales, become acquainted with a few local estate liquidators. Learn about the types of items they prefer to handle and get your name on their email list. If you’re looking for specific types of items, share your personal Wish List.
In addition to the estate liquidators keeping you advised of upcoming sales, you’ll also get some valuable negotiating experience under your belt. The National Estate Sales Association also offers estate sale tips for consumers.
Online Estate Sale Resources
There are two national estate sales databases that have information on upcoming sales: EstateSales.net and EstateSales.org. Both have extensive reach throughout most of the United States. Pinpoint your search by selecting the city/town or zip code. While you’re on the site, sign up for email notifications. That way, you can receive notifications of estate sales in your area each weekend.
Details Included in Each Listing
Each estate sale listing includes the sale dates and local times. The estate sale company should also provide directions to the sale site.
Astute estate liquidators will draw shoppers (and dealers) by listing in-demand antiques and collectibles in the sale description. As the sale date approaches, the estate sale company will often post numerous photos of sale items.
Search Engine Results
Researching estate sales via popular search engines often generates good results, but you’ll need to get creative. Try these five search requests:
Estate Sales in [Name of City]
[Name of City] Estate Sales
Everything Must Go Sale
Whole House Sale
Estate Sales Near Me This Weekend
Estate sale listing sites have not yet become popular in some parts of the United States. Craigslist has filled the gap, enabling estate sale followers to zero in on upcoming sales in their city or town.
When searching for estate sales on Craigslist, confirm that you’ve specified the right geographic area and search category. For starters, look in the “Garage & Moving Sales” section. Typing “estate sale” or “tag sale” in the site’s search bar may also yield results. Know that some energetic homeowners and family members conduct their own estate sales, resulting in terrific deals for shoppers.
Your smartphone’s search function and GPS-enabled technology can help you to find estate sales near you. Note that you may need to download additional apps for some search functions.
iPhone and Android Searches
Use your iPhone or Android mobile device to search for “estate sales near me” or “estate auctions near me.” While you’re browsing through an estate sale, use your smartphone to search for information on specific items’ attributes and values.
EstateSales.net recently pioneered an estate sale-finding mobile app, and it’s downloadable from the iPhone and Google Play app stores. This convenient app uses your phone’s GPS feature to identify the closest estate sale. If needed, the app will provide directions to the sale.
This popular app obtains estate sale information from EstateSales.net, which is the Number 1 estate sale listing site for most of the United States. The site is also used by the biggest number of estate liquidators. Note that different geographic areas may not have the same dominant listing site, so refer to the EstateSales.net and EstateSales.org sites for local information.
Hybrid Estate Sale Companies
In addition to conducting traditional estate sales, some companies have branched out into the estate auction realm. It’s relatively common for an estate liquidator to hold an online auction via eBay or a national online auction site.
Some estate liquidators partner with an auction company that transports the estate’s items to another location. There, an auctioneer auctions off every item while buyers whip their credit cards out in a bidding frenzy.
During any given weekend, there are tons of estate sales across the country. In fact, you can find one (or more) sales within an easy driving distance this weekend. Now that you know where to look, mark your calendar, and let the estate sale shopping begin!