Tips for Couples Attending Separate Estate Sales

Think through what you’re looking for at an estate sale. Making a list might help.

You can find great bargains, collectibles and antiques at estate sales. For example, when the estate of the President of the Venice Florida Doll Club went up for sale in 2014, collectors flocked from as far away as California for a chance to choose from over 1,000 collectible dolls along with vintage cookie jars, wall clocks, antique handbags, china, gold and sterling.

Smart estate shoppers keep their eyes on listings announcing sales in their area. But what if you and your spouse find more than one great sale going on at the same time? Here are a few tips for couples that want to stay on the same page while attending separate estate sales.

Make a Want List

If you and your spouse go to an estate sale without a shopping list, you’re likely to come away with a bunch of stuff you don’t need. You’ll get more out of your trip if you make a list of items for you and your spouse to shop for. Some of the best items to get at an estate sale are silverware, dishware, glassware, tablecloths, large furniture items and jewelry, according to Huffington Post. You may want to avoid upholstered furnishings, which can have bedbugs; large appliances, which you can’t check to make sure they work properly; and cookware, which can have chipped enamel.

Integrity Estate Sales adds that other items frequently found on sale include old clothing and linens, spices, cleaning supplies, unopened food packages, books and calendars. MoneyCrashers suggests including lists of items you need for birthday and Christmas presents when you go to estate sales.

Set a Budget

To keep your estate spending manageable, you and your spouse should agree on a budget to stick to while you’re shopping. Research prices on estate listing sites and eBay to get an idea of what to expect for items you’re interested in and understand pricing procedures. For example, estate sales normally start on Friday and last through Sunday, with prices dropping over the weekend. This means the best items are usually sold first, but you can get the lowest prices on the last day.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or make an offer on an item that isn’t marked for sale. If you find any items that are out of your price range, many sales provide bid sheets where you can submit a bid at a lower price. Most estates sales only accept cash, so make sure you bring enough money.

Share Finds Remotely

While you’re shopping, you might come across items you want to get your spouse’s opinion on before buying. For instance, you might want to check if your spouse thinks a piece of furniture goes with the color of your living room. A good solution is to send your spouse a photo or video of the item rather than trying to describe it. To do this efficiently, invest in a smartphone with a high-quality camera such as the iPhone 6s, which captures 12-megapixel images with a large sensor to make sure the photo is crisp, clear and true-to-life.

To avoid any mishaps, you also should bring room measurements and a measuring tape so you know how well prospective items would fit in your home.

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