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more secrets of a SECONDHAND shopper: estate sales | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 1

Generally, the entire contents of the deceased’s home are offered for sale, and when you show up at the house, you’ll be allowed to wander around from room to room to peruse the goods. An estate sale isn’t an auction – you’ll find a price sticker (or sign) on everything that’s for sale, although you should feel free to try politely bargaining those prices down, if you’re so inclined to do that sort of thing. Sometimes the family of the deceased will run the estate sales themselves, but the best ones, I’ve found, are organized by professional estate sale companies, who generally only agree to take on an estate if they believe the goods are plentiful enough, and of high enough quality, that a weekend sale will generate them a heap of moolah.

How to find an estate sale
Estate sale listings can be found in the classified section of the newspaper, generally under “Yard sales/Garage Sales,” or, as is the case with my city’s paper, under a separate section specifically devoted to estate sales. Look in the Friday and Saturday editions of your local newspapers to find the weekend’s offerings. Or save yourself the quarters and peruse the classifieds online.

When to go
If you’re looking for something specific, especially a larger item like a dining table, sofa or the like, it’s best to show up as early as possible, since these are the sort of items that tend to disappear quicker than you can whine, “7 am is an ungodly hour of the morning to have to wake up on a Saturday morning!” Which may be completely true, but rest assured that if you decide to sleep in and catch up on just a few more hours of your beauty rest, you’ll discover that everything useful – and in good condition – will have a big fat “Sold” sticker slapped across its price tag. If an estate sale ad says the sale starts at 8 am, you should ideally get there at five minutes to 8 (anything earlier is, frankly, just plain obnoxious), or more realistically and at the very latest, by 9 o’clock. Wait any longer and that set of solid-hardwood bookcases that you’ve been coveting for months now will almost certainly have disappeared.


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