Tips for Spotting Valuables at an Estate Sale

estate-sale-01Estate sales can yield some truly remarkable valuables when done correctly. Granted, there's a little bit of luck involved -- as not all estate will have valuable items up for sale -- but skill/experience goes a long ways in coming out profitable. Whether you're looking to earn some side cash, or if you want to start your own full-time business, we have some tips to help you spot valuables at an estate sale.


It should come as no surprise that jewelry is one of the most valuable types of items sold at estate sales. This may include antique diamond engagement rings, gold bands, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, charms and more. But just because a piece of jewelry "looks expensive" doesn't necessarily mean that it is. What you think is a diamond engagement ring, for instance, may actually be a cubic zirconium ring. So, how do you know if a piece of jewelry is authentic and not fake? Unless you have personal experience, you should bring a friend who's familiar with jewelry identification. And if you don't have a friend, hire a local jeweler to attend the estate sale with you.

Beware of Electronics

Don't get me wrong, electronics aren't always a bad item to buy at estate sales, but they are often overvalued. You have to remember that electronics depreciate significantly in value over time. Even if the home/estate owner purchased a device for $1,500, it may only be worth $500 (or less) now. And even if you purchased it, you may only be able to sell it for $350-$400. This is why it's a good idea to know and understand the fair market value of electronics before buying them. Otherwise, you could end overpaying for a device.


In terms of profit margin, collectibles often yield the highest return on your dollars invested. This may include antique dolls, sports memorabilia, trading cards, vintage gaming consoles, etc. Keep a close eye on collectibles such as this and scoop them when given the opportunity.

Targeting The Right Homes

One of the secrets to successfully coming out of an estate sale profitable is to target the right homes. If you scan through the local papers and online sources, you'll likely find dozens of estate sales in your area. Rather than trying to attend them all, you should focus on mid-to-high range homes. The homeowner of such homes typically have more expendable income, meaning they'll have more valuable stuff -- not junk -- for sale.

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