Subscribe

Here's What You Should Know About Southern Estate Sales

- Southern Living
Southern Living

You know what they say - finders keepers!

Estate sales are a sight to behold below the Mason-Dixon, and if you’ve ever been to one, you know the organized chaos that ensues the moment it begins. Southern folks cherish these impromptu shopping sprees for a number of reasons. For one, you can find hidden treasures for a fraction of the cost, and after attending a few estate sales, a special community forms. Of course, there is also the snooping aspect. As much as we love a good deal, what is ever more interesting is rummaging though a stranger’s belongings and getting a small glimpse into the life they lead. If you’re new to the estate sale scene, here are a few things to keep in mind.

What Is An Estate Sale?

An estate sale is simply a quick and efficient way for a family to liquidate all of their belongings. It usually takes place after a family member passes away. The home is opened to the public, and everything is up for grabs – from toilet paper to Tupperware. Similar to a yard sale or garage sale, items are sold at an extremely discounted rate.

More from Southern Living

How Do Estate Sales Work?

It’s important to remember that every estate sale is unique. It’s not like a department store with a countless number of every item. Estate sales include things like china, linens, furniture, pottery, and everything in between, but most things don’t have a copy. A professional estate sale agent or auctioneer usually runs the sale, and they take a percentage of the total profit – usually between 25 and 35 percent. It’s the agent’s job to value the items for sale based on their worth and making sure everything runs smoothly when buyers arrive. After that, it is most often a first come first serve policy. Hence the first tip in the next section…

Estate Sale Tips:

Arrive Early

The early bird gets the worm! Estate sale goers arrive early, and they are prepared for a haul. If you wait too long, the best items will be gone and picked over. It’s best to be there before the house opens; this way you are ready to find your treasure.

See Creatively

It’s easy to walk in to an estate sale and be tempted to able everything as junk or extremely outdated, but don’t be fooled. It’s truly amazing to see the difference new fabric or a fresh coat of paint makes. Make it your own.

Bring A Bag

Don’t let the load slow you down. Be sure to bring along a big shopping bag to hold all of your new goodies; this will keep you hands-free and ready to find the next thing.

Outbrain

More from Southern Living