Everyone knows I love a good estate sale. Many of my antiques, vintage clothing, “ghosty gals” and other countless treasures are from estate sales. People often ask, “How do you find estate sales?” and “How do estate sales work?” Well, I’ve been promising you a guide to estate sales and I’m finally delivering. Here’s how to find estate sales near you, along with answers to other frequently asked questions. Let’s start treasure hunting!
What is an estate sale?
Estate sales can be a treasure trove of unique, vintage, and even antique items. It’s also a great place to search for any household items, or really anything. Estate sales are typically held when someone has passed on and their belongings are being sold off. Downsizing, moving, or decluttering are other common reasons. Estate sales can offer a wide range of items, from furniture and home decor to clothing and jewelry. It’s a great way to find a variety of unique treasures and give them a whole new life.
What’s the difference between an estate sale and a garage or yard sale?
Estate sales are generally a broader scope of the entire contents of someone’s home — sometimes even architectural salvage, depending on the sale. While a garage sale or yard sale is typically held by the owner, estate sales are often organized by professional sellers. They facilitate all aspects of the sale and share a percentage with the owner or their heirs. Estate sales can also come with slightly higher price tags, since there are often items of greater value like furniture, appliances, and collectibles.
How to Find Estate Sales Near You
Finding estate sales in your area is as easy as having internet access, but there are a few other ways to find them. Here are some great ways to find estate sales near you:
Estatesales.net is my top choice for finding estate sales.
- Estatesales.net: Chances are, if an estate sale is run by a reputable company, it’s going to be listed on Estatesales.net. But there are some exceptions! Regardless, estatesales.net is the best place to start. You can search for estate sales near you, keep tabs on and preview upcoming sales. Just type in your city or zip code, and you can sort by date, distance, and type of sale. I generally look for in-person estate sales vs. online sales and auctions. That’s just a personal preference. I also broaden my search because sometimes the best sales are worth an extra drive! Most listings have photos so you can get a good idea of what will be there. There’s always more to search through than what is in the photos, so I just use the photos to get a sense of the overall vibe.
Other Estate Sale Resources Worth Checking
- In the good old fashioned newspaper: Yes! Believe it or not, some estate sales are still advertised in local newspapers. It’s a great way to find estate sales near you, and sometimes they’re the best ones with the oldest stuff (which to me, is a plus)! Hot tip: this is also a great place to find church sales and community flea market information.
- Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace isn’t just a great place to find vintage, antique, and second hand furniture for sale — it’s also a good place to find upcoming estate sales, especially family run sales. Search “estate sale” and “tag sale” for upcoming sales and make sure to sort it by date so you’re not looking at outdated posts.
- Craigslist: Craigslist is another place many independent sellers or families still utilize. There’s a reputable local estate sale organizer who never advertises on estatesales.net but I found her through Craigslist. Since then, I’ve followed her sales by checking her website directly. Which brings me to my next tip…
Get to Know Your Local Estate Sale Organizers
Once you’re in the know, get on the inside! You can get the early scoop and first dibs by cultivating a relationship with your local estate sale organizers and signing up for alerts. Here are some quick tips:
- Follow estate sale companies on social media: Many estate sale companies have social media accounts where they post upcoming sales and photos of items for sale. By following these accounts, you can get advance notice of sales and see what items will be available.
- Sign up for email lists: Many estate sale companies have email lists that they use to notify subscribers of upcoming sales. By signing up for these lists, you can get advance notice of sales and receive exclusive offers. Some even give previews to people on their email lists.
- Ask about upcoming sales: When attending estate sales hosted by a particular company, ask the staff if they have any upcoming sales planned. They may give you insider information about upcoming sales or items that will be available.
- Let them know the kind of items you’re interested in: It never hurts to ask! Let sellers know the types of things you look for — and exchange information. Not all companies do this, but the smaller companies and independent sellers are more likely to keep their eye out for you and give you a heads up. Local sellers occasionally text me about vintage items before they go public!
That’s really all there is to how to find estate sales. If you want to keep it simple, just check Estatesales.net every week and see if there is anything that sparks your interest. However, if you put in more work, you will be rewarded. Estate sales can be hit or miss and can require some hunting. But when they’re a hit, they can be well worth it. Happy treasure hunting!