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Millionaire Money Habits

March 14th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Find Treasures at Luxurious Estate Sales

» by EmmaM in: Fun and Off Topic

If you’re a fan of finding gems in unexpected places, then there a pretty good chance that you have shopped at a consignment shop, thrift store or even a yard sale. Well, what would be considered the queen bee of all of those is an estate sale. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s basically a kind of sale (sometimes even an auction) at the home of someone who recently died or has to move from their property and, for various reasons, they are unable to take all of their items with them. In an estate sale, it’s not just about looking at a couple of tables on someone’s lawn. At an estate sale, furniture goes, art and jewelry goes…everything must go.

So, if you’re looking for an antique table or a vintage dress, an estate sale may have exactly what you are looking for. Here are some tips on how to look and purchase wisely.

Research the location of the sale. This isn’t meant to be snobbish because Oprah has shown us plenty of times when people had things in their homes, even on what’s considered to be the low-income sides of town, that proved to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars! However, those instances are more often the exception and not the rule. Therefore, the first thing you should do is go through the newspaper or on Craigslist to see when the next estate sale is coming up and where the home is located. If it’s in a more traditionally lucrative side of town or the home is described as having 10 bedrooms or as being a mansion, well, at the very least, that gives you more options to choose from.

Take an expert with you. Now, this isn’t something that everyone can do, but if you have a friend who works in an antique mall or one that is a jeweler or even someone who has a good eye for vintage pieces, you might want to invite them along. Sure, they may want to purchase a couple of items, but the bigger selling point is that they’ll be able to serve as a second pair of eyes for you when you see something that catches your attention. (If they can’t come, ask if they’d be willing to have you send a couple of pictures from your cell phone.) If you want to purchase something to sell it later, they may be able to let you know if it’s worth the time, energy and financial investment.

Window shop first. The great (and stressless) thing about an estate sale is that you are able to walk through the entire home (attic, basement and garage included) to see what peaks your interest. So, don’t feel like you have to hurry up and get the first thing that you see. Walk through the home a couple of times, think about what continues to attract your attention and then make your moves towards a purchase.

Remember that the house is not staged. You might think to look for a jewelry box, but you may not think to look at the rugs that you’re walking on or the curtains that are hanging up in the dining room. Whether you’re searching for items to keep for yourself or to resell, don’t assume that there’s only lasting value in obvious items like gemstones. You may have been to several New York garage sales, but don’t treat an estate sale in the same way. Look for anything that you’d like to have and if there’s not a price attached to it, don’t be afraid to make an offer.

If you want to negotiate, the second day is easier. Due to their magnitude, sometimes estate sales will last a weekend or even several days; there are also instances when companies will have a liquidation and call it an estate sale. In both cases, on the first day of the sale, you can pretty much bet that the asking price on the items was a well thought out one and the sellers are probably not going to rush to budge off of it. Into the latter part of the second day, there tends to be more room for negotiations. So, if you’re looking for the cream of the crop, you might want to be at an estate sale on the first day right when the doors open. But if you’re looking to get a couple of great pieces for a discounted price, don’t be in a rush. They have an entire estate’s worth of things to get rid of, remember? There’s time.

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