BHM Home and Estate Services Blog
At every estate sale there is a percentage of customers who try to bargain on the price that is listed. Bargaining is never the problem, it's how customers go about the bargaining process that is the problem.
Most folks think it's their inherent right to get a lower price since the items are part of an estate sale, but that is not necessarily the case. Most, if not all, estate sellers price the items they are selling for less than 50% of the retail price for the item in question -- for most people that should be a bargain just in itself.
Of course our goal is to sell everything, but our goal is also to make our client the most money possible. If you hired an estate seller for a relative or even for yourself, wouldn't you want the person you hired to get you the most money out of the sale?
Customers need to realize that at many estate sales reserves are put in place so that certain items do not sell below a set price. These reserves are set by the client not the estate seller. This means for certain items, estate sellers, are contractually obligated to a specific reserve and that they cannot go below a certain price.
One of the biggest problem with customers who bargain at sales is that they don't do it correctly. They come to the table "expecting" a discount. Here is some good advice to take to heart the next time you are negotiating on an item at an estate sale - let's start with the Don'ts list:
1. Never try to bargain in the first hour of the sale - it's a big no no and most estate sellers won't even contemplate a change on pricing on the first day. Trying to get a discount in the first few hours of a sale is likely going to result in zero reduction on the price.
2. Don't whine! Whining is definitely not going to get you a discount.
3. Don't act like you are entitled to get a discount - no one is truly entitled for a discount.
4. Don't tell us you are a reseller and you need to make a profit - that does not bowl over well for most estate sellers as we too are resellers. Of course we want you to make money but not at the cost of losing money for our client and ourselves. It's better to be discreet about being a reseller.
5. Don't be rude. If you are rude we are more than likely not going to bargain with you. Some estate sellers have been known to remove the item from the buyers hands and place them back on the shelf.
6. Don't peg one salesperson off of another. Many of us have systems to know if a salesperson has given you a discount or not.
1. Wait until the first day is almost over before asking for major discounts on the item(s) you are interested.
2. Offer a bid if you don't want to pay full price. Remember bid's are binding so don't offer a bid unless you are serious about paying the price you bid.
3. Be polite, don't assume you are due a discount just because you are buying items at an estate sale.
4. Do accept the sellers response the first time, don't ask over and over expecting the answer to change.
Remember if you are not happy with the price don't buy the item. There will always be another day and another sale.
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7/10/2019 11:27:25 am
Thanks for explaining that estate sellers usually wait until the first day of the sale is over to offer major discounts on items people are interested in. My husband's aunt recently passed away, and we want to hire an estate liquidation company to reduce stress for us during this difficult time. I'm glad I read your article because you helped me know what to expect from having a professionally-run estate sale.
10/22/2019 03:24:18 pm
I love how you said that whining isn't going to get you a discount because it's most likely just going to annoy the sellers and make them want to raise the prices. Being polite and pleasant will definitely gain their favor way more than acting entitled and rude. I'll make sure that I follow your advice when I go to a sale.
7/29/2020 12:07:11 pm
We are hosting our first estate sale, three days, Friday - Sunday.
1/26/2021 03:22:37 pm
I think it's good that you mentioned how estate sellers typically do not change their prices during the first day of the sale. My brother has been thinking about starting an estate sale since our grandmother recently passed away due to health complications, but he is having trouble determining what her antique furniture is worth. Maybe he should find a professional that can help him manage the sale without lowering prices too much.
2/8/2022 12:27:07 am
Thanks for pointing out that it is best to be polite and not assume that you are getting a discount when processing an estate sale. I can imagine how helpful it would be to have professionals for estate sale management to ensure that you offer the right rates when you are the one selling a property. It would give you peace of mind that you are getting the maximum compensation you expect to have from the property you once loved.
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