How to Estate Sale Shop Like a Born-and-Raised Dallasite

Put that shirt back on the rack and go estate sale-ing. Our guide will teach you to shop like a pro.
Put that shirt back on the rack and go estate sale-ing. Our guide will teach you to shop like a pro. Kate Siamro

When you live in Dallas — and a world of shopping is at your fingertips — there’s really no excuse to fill your space with Home Goods and Target. “But money doesn’t grow on trees!” you cry out. You don’t have to be a Restoration Hardware member to have a chic space. The savviest of interior-inspired locals have made estate sales their playground for mastering the art of antiquing. With new estate sales opening every week, you’ll have plenty of chances to hone your skills.

Like any great talent, shopping takes practice. Here’s our best advice for shopping estate sales like you’ve been doing it for years.

Where to Shop: On foot and Online

Finding nearby estate sales might be easier than finding a date. Imagine a world where attractive singles within a 10- to 20-mile radius appeared in an organized list inside your inbox once a week? (Actually, this probably exists). The point is, you can sign up to be alerted every week when there are estate sales in your area. You can even browse photos of products in the sale before you go.

Here are our favorite places to sign up for alerts about nearby estate sales: Bored at a baby shower in Plano? Us too. Bust out the EstateSales.Net app and locate a nearby estate sale. Sneak out before the always-insulting “Guess How Big My Belly Is With This 50-foot Yarn” game begins. Vintage furniture is calling. This massive library-style resource for bargain hunting is a great second-best option in case the first didn’t quench your shopping thirst.
: This organization offers a more curated selection that’s always luxurious, but with less online visibility. We recommend following this team on Instagram to better keep up with the latest inventory.

No time to shop on weekends? It’s 2019, so online estate sale shopping is also a thing. And thank God! Now you won’t risk having the exact same brass and marble coffee table from Target as everyone else you know. Enter:

Kyle Foster’s Auctioneers and Everything But the House.
Kyle Foster’s Auctioneers is one of our favorite hidden shopping gems of Dallas. Save your favorites in their product catalogs, then place your bids (all starting at $5) before the auctions close every Friday night. You can even stop by their Garland location to inspect the products before bidding. Antique, original art starting at a $5 price tag is so insane it should be illegal.

Another popular online destination, EBTH is a more sophisticated online shopping experience that offers shipping for out-of-state sales. With the increased number of online shoppers, we find it can be much more expensive than other estate sales. If you’re willing to splurge, you may find something truly one-of-a-kind and worthy of being passed down to your grandchildren here.

How to Shop: The Must-Knows and Good-to-Knows

We’ll be so embarrassed if you read this list and then make one of these three rookie shopper moves, so please read carefully — we're already embarrassed about what we did last weekend. This is shopping, we’re not messing around here. Whether you shop online or go in-house, there are some things you should know before you decide to buy.

Know the payment polic
Many places don’t take credit cards, so be prepared to pay in cash.

Know the customer limit
Some indoor sales have a capacity limit on number of shoppers allowed inside. You’ll be handed a ticket for entry and will likely have to wait online. Plan to go early and be prepared to wait if your sale has a limit.

Know the post-purchase process. Especially for bigger items, you need to know when you can come back to pick it up or if it must be done immediately. After winning an auction online, you’ll be required to pick up your items during a short window at a specific location; make sure you’re available during that time slot or you may not be refunded.

Because we’re so passionate about your interior upgrade, we’re imparting some final words of wisdom. Things we’ve learned the hard way, if you will.

Pack measuring tape. Measure any spaces you’re trying to fill, then measure any item you’re considering for the job. You can’t return things to an estate sale.

Know when to negotiate. Most sales last Thursday to Sunday, and every day has more discounted prices than the day before. Because of this, you'll often have a lot of leverage to negotiate prices down on day one.

Be aware of hidden costs
Congrats on buying a pair of beautiful hand-painted glass lamps at a bargain. Now you get to pay $80 to rewire the fire-prone cords. If you thought you were going to update those 18-inch shades, know that most mainstream retailers don’t carry oversize lamp shades, and they could cost hundreds of dollars at a specialty lamp store. But again, congrats!

Leave your oversize tote at home. Many estate sales have rules against bringing large bags. And honestly, that's fair, they belong in the early 2000s.

Bask in the joy of owning something older than you, fully representative of you and completely unique. Happy shopping!
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