Estate Sales: Acquiring Expertise
Thirteen years ago through a series of events, I found that I had acquired a talent for buying and selling used furniture. Great! I quit my business as a painting contractor, and headed into the great unknown. I entered into the underworld of antique sellers, and antique buyers. I became a “Picker.” I went to garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, and auctions.
One day it occurred to me that I had acquired enough knowledge to become an estate liquidator.
Here is a list of my early surprises, or things I learned about estate sales.
- The first 20 or so people in line at an estate sale form a community of knowledgeable semi-experts who collectively have as much information about collectibles as any Kovels’ price guide. If you want to learn about the hottest trends in the world of collectibles and antiques, then try to go to as many estate sales as you possibly can; get there early, and listen to what these estate sales pros are talking about.
- Dealers and “Pickers” come from every walk of life. Some started out as collectors, going to estate sales, and auctions, and others were drawn to the antique business by its semi-nomadic and independent lifestyle.
- For the most part they are friendly, and are willing to help the serious new comer to the world of estate sales. But remember, this is their livelihood, if at first they are a bit standoffish, it’s because they are preserving years of hard won information about what is valuable. Watch what they buy. This is the best way to begin acquiring information about the hidden value of collectibles.
- There are basically two times to discover a bargain at an estate sale: Early in the morning of the first day, and late in the afternoon of the final day.
- Professional estate sales companies charge more than people conducting “do it your self sales”, no real surprise there, except that when an estate sales pro knows that you are a serious buyer, you can often get deeper discounts from them. You can learn more from them too. They know, that the more they teach you about collectibles, the more you will buy in the future.
- You can make money buying from estate sales, and then selling what you buy at flea markets, or in your own space within an antique mall. At first it won’t be a lot of income, but it will be income that will grow and grow as your experience does.
- Estate sale companies love the collector, because they are generally trying to fill out their collections, and will pay more to do so than a person who is a dealer.
- Dealers, and collectors are the life blood of the estate liquidation business they represent at least ½ of all our sales here at Fine Estate Liquidation, Inc.
- If you are conducting a non pro sale, here is a tip: Welcome dealers and collectors. Sure they are looking for a bargain, but if you are properly prepared, with the right information, you can also get them to pay more then you might have thought.
My name is Martin Codina and I am an estate liquidator who loves his job.