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Estate Sale Etiquette – Our Top 10 Tips


Estate sales in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Olympia are great places to find unique items that will bring new life to your home, but it's important to follow some basic etiquette to make the experience enjoyable for everyone involved. Whether you're a seasoned estate sale shopper or a newcomer, these tips will help you navigate the process with grace and respect.


1. Arrive Early: Estate sales usually start early, and the best items tend to go quickly. If you're looking for a particular item, it's best to arrive early, but not too early, to ensure that you have the best selection to choose from. Keep in mind that other shoppers may have the same idea, so be prepared for a line and arrive a little before the doors open to get a good spot.


2. Be Respectful of the Home and Property: Estate sales are held in private homes and it's important to be respectful of the property and the items for sale. Don't touch items without permission and be mindful of your surroundings as you move through the house.


3. Know How to Negotiate: When visiting estate sales, we know you’re looking for a good deal. But estate sales are much different from garage sales. Often at estate sales, the client places a “reserve” on certain items, which means that estate sellers are contractually obligated to not sell the item below a certain price.


But you can always try, here are our tips to help you make the most of your dollar:

  • It’s our policy that negotiations don’t start until the second day of the sale. If you’re at another sale, just ask what their policy is, or check out their website.

  • Be polite, don't assume you are due a discount just because you are buying items at an estate sale.


4. Be Mindful of Other Shoppers: Estate sales can get crowded, and it's important to be mindful of other shoppers. Avoid blocking doorways or obstructing other shoppers' views and be polite and patient when waiting in line. If you're interested in a particular item, let other shoppers know so that you can take turns examining it.


5. Pay Attention to the Signage: Estate sale organizers may post signs indicating which items are available for sale and which are not. Be sure to read and follow these signs to avoid confusion or disappointment.


6. Be Respectful of the Estate Sale Staff: The estate sale staff is there to help you, so be respectful and polite when dealing with them. If you have any questions or concerns, ask them for help. But keep in mind they are often working hard and are taking care of many shoppers, so be patient and understanding.


7. Don't Remove Price Tags: Estate sales often have price tags on items, and it's important not to remove them. Doing so can confuse and make it more difficult for the estate sale staff to keep track of inventory. If you're unsure of the price of an item, ask the staff for assistance.


8. Respect Privacy: Some estate sales may include personal items like photos or letters, which should be treated with respect. Don't go through drawers or cupboards without permission and avoid making personal comments about the items or their owners.


9. Don't Damage Items: When examining items for sale, be mindful of your actions and don't damage anything. Don't bend or fold items and be careful when handling fragile items to avoid breaking them.


10. Be Prepared to Pack up and Carry Out: Estate sales often don't provide bags or boxes, so be sure to bring your own if you plan to purchase items. You should also be prepared to carry your purchases, as delivery may not be available. If you’re on the hunt for larger pieces, like furniture or even vehicles, make sure you can get them home.


By following these simple rules of estate sale etiquette, you can ensure a positive experience for everyone involved. We hope to see you at an upcoming estate sale soon.



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