Sourcing at Estate Sales: A Definitive Guide

Travis R.
Amazon seller & Software Founder
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Estate sales are one of the best places to source products if you’re an Amazon professional seller. Typically, an estate sale takes place when someone either moves or passes away.

These events are often hosted by professional estate liquidators, but sometimes they’re managed by either estate owners or heirs. Whatever the case, one of the best-kept secrets to sourcing excellent products at rock bottom prices is at an estate sale.

Having said that, there are some things that can turn your estate sale adventure into a complete bust—from deadlines to not understanding estate sales pricing guides.

Keep reading to find out how estate sales work and how to get the best from them.

Tips for sourcing products at an estate sale

Understand the difference between an estate sale and a yard sale

There is a vast difference between estate sales and yard or garage sales. The latter sees individuals attempting to clear out their household clutter such as old clothes, used toys, dated vases—even half-burnt candles.

The quality and diversity of these goods differ from estate sales greatly. A lot of the time, an estate sale is held in order to liquidate the assets of someone who has passed away or who’s downsizing, relocating, or getting divorced. These are often valuable items that have been accumulated over a lifetime that need to be sold quickly.

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Be discreet

Estate sales are normally managed by people who know the worth of particular items, with professionals sorting, pricing, and displaying items rather than dispersing them around a yard. They’re also trying to get the best price for their client, the homeowner.

For that reason, you should avoid haggling. Instead, you can always discreetly ask whether they’re open to negotiating or if the state price is the best price available for a given item.

Avoid being rude or confrontational, as it can get you banned from future sales.

Try before you buy

It’s good to remember that estate sales aren’t like retail stores, in that there are no refunds. If you want to purchase electronic goods or appliances, you need to test them out beforehand.

The fact is that estate sale workers are selling thousands of items per sale, and don’t have time to check each and every one to ensure they’re in working order.

Remember that timing is everything

They say timing is everything, right? Truer words have not been spoken when it comes to estate sales. The simple truth is, timing can be the difference between nabbing some great bargains and going home empty-handed.

If you’re heading to a typical three-day estate sale, you’ll want to attend on the first day to scope things out. This is the time where you’ll have access to the best selection of items available. If you find something that you can’t live without, buy it right away if you can.

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But maybe that item is too expensive. If so, let it sit. Return on the afternoon of the last day of the sale, or even the last hour. This is when salespeople will practically pay you to take whatever is left. Remember, their goal is to empty the homeowner’s house.

Bring cash

Family members running an estate sale won’t typically accept your credit card as forms of payment, though professionals will. Checkbooks are a no-go. Always ask about payment terms before you commit to any large purchases. Some professional companies will have payment options listed on their websites—it’s worth having a look so you can prepare yourself.

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Ask about everything you’re interested in

Have you taken a liking to lighting fixtures or other fixed objects placed around the home? When it comes to estate sales, chances are that the house will be stripped completely before being put up for sale, so all items are up for grabs. This includes everything from kitchen appliances to potted plants and statues in the garden.

Prepare yourself ahead of time

Most estate sale companies will have professional websites managed by someone from within. There, you’ll find that they will list some of the best pieces available in order to get as many customers through the door as possible during the time of the sale. Some even include photos.

Don’t forget that organizers will usually limit the number of visitors at one time. So you’ll need to get in line early, or even get your hands on an entry number if you can.

Manage your unique offerings with AccelerList

Selling on Amazon can simultaneously be a thrill and a challenge. Sometimes it’s difficult to source one-off products with so many cookie-cutter items floating around on the market.

Estate sales can prove to be extremely fruitful, with many collections featuring a goldmine of unique items that have been accumulated over a lifetime.

And when you source those eye-catching items, you can use AccelerList to keep an eye on your entire Amazon inventory. Why not try it out today?

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