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Excuse me, how much?

One of the hardest things for people new to estate sales is bargaining, especially if you are not confident of the value of the item you are purchasing.  I will say that getting something for less than the sticker somehow makes that purchase better than others.

Here are some tips that we’ve seen work:

  • Be confident and do what works for you.  If you look nervous or unsure, the seller may notice and not take you seriously (they may think they can get the full price from you).
  • Go in with an offer that is realistic.  If the sticker says $20, maybe try $15 – don’t go too low that you don’t get a response.  If the seller counters, then you can decide to haggle.  If they don’t and hold firm, then you have a decision to either pay “full price” or walk away.
  • When there is no price tag: Lainey and I differ on styles here.  I will ask how much before offering a price.  Lainey starts at $2 or $5 for small items, or $25 for larger items, and then goes from there.  This is one area that really depends on what you feel comfortable with.
  • The more you are buying the more negotiating power you have.  If there are several pieces you are interested in, ask the seller if they will take a certain amount for everything (I would add up the total of all your pieces and then round down a bit).
  • Talk to the sellers and be friendly with them!  If they like you, they may be more willing to work with you. If you’re not, price may go up!

I will admit that it is frustrating when sellers refuse to negotiate or bargain.  A note to estate sale companies: if your prices are firm, please post it on the front door, so I don’t embarrass myself – or upset you – for trying.  Part of the fun of estate sales is being walking away feeling like you just got a great deal. And, we go in knowing that you don’t want to have to pack things up come closing time. If we’re not in the right ballpark, let us know.  I don’t haggle on everything, but if I get shot down on the first try, I usually won’t buy anything from that house.  (I’m off my soapbox now.)

What was the best deal you ever made?