HGTV's Cari Cucksey offers these tips for shopping estate sales:
Arrive early and be prepared to wait. "Most estate sales are held within the home and only allow a certain number of people inside at time," she says. "They won't allow you to bring large bags or purses so leave those at home or in your vehicle."
Cash is king. "Most companies prefer cash but some do accept credit cards. Be sure of the payment terms before you make a large purchase," she says. "You will also need to arrange help for moving your items, as most companies are too busy to assist with moving your items."
Make an offer. "If you see something you like but the price is a little bit out of your budget, leave an offer with your highest bid and phone number. Most companies do not lower their prices on the first day — just ask," she says, explaining that the best way to do that is to ask, "Is this your best price?" or "Can you do any better on this piece?" Typically, the last day is the best day for bargains.
Buyer beware. "Items at [an] estate sale are sold as-is, where-is and final sale. Be sure to thoroughly investigate what you are purchasing before you buy it."
Look around. "Do ask if there are items for sale in the garage, backyard, etc. More often than not, the home is being sold and most everything is available for sale."