Best Place to Buy Used Furniture: Estate Sales?

Kitchen Table Found at an Estate Sale
Have you ever shopped at an estate sale?

So today we purchased a new (to us) kitchen table and chairs.

We’re moving into a new home with more space. One of the things we need is a kitchen table.

Knowing this, my wife, Mrs. PT, has been scouting out kitchen tables for weeks now. She found a nice table listed online.

Except, it wasn’t available in an online store for purchase. Nor was it on craigslist. It was only going to be available for purchase from 10am on Thursday morning till 5pm on Saturday. Yes, it’s an estate sale purchase! I think estate sales are possibly the best place to buy furniture.

So, today we loaded the kids in the SUV and headed down to North Dallas to visit the estate sale and make the purchase. I followed along in my car so that we could fit the table and chairs in the SUV and haul the kids back in the car.

We arrived at the house where the estate sale was to happen and found our way to the kitchen. The table looked great. I sat in the chairs and they were sturdy, as was the table itself. I spoke with the woman selling the table and she said the price was flexible. My quick online research showed that the table and chairs were from a reputable manufacturer.

It was listed at $550. Right in our price range. My wife came in after a quick swap (watching the kids) and she loved it too. When she came back out she said she’d talked the woman down $50 and the table was ours. My wife has bargaining skills!

Buying Used Furniture
Taking our table and chairs home.

We had $200 on hand and gave it to the woman to hold it while we ran to the ATM to get some extra cash. We returned with the cash, paid the woman, loaded up the table and chairs and headed home.

I was tempted to look around for other items, but the table and chairs was all we needed.

My tips for buying used furniture at an estate sale:

1. Find the item you need before you leave. Have a plan of attack. A great site for finding estate sales and looking through the items is Obviously your local paper is going to have a list of sales as well.

2. Bring some cash (at least enough for the seller to know you’re serious). Even if you don’t have all the cash needed to make your purchase you can put down some money to hold the piece of furniture. Make sure you get a receipt for your payments.

3. Don’t buy before you get there, meaning, don’t fall in love with the piece until you see it in person and touch it. Often times you won’t know the actual name brand of the piece till you see it up close. Only then can you research the piece to know that the price is right. You should have a general idea of what price is right, but take into account condition and manufacturer when you see the piece in person.

4. Always ask “can you do better than that?” after shmoozing with the seller a bit. Even if it’s the first day of the estate sale, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they can lower the price. We were practically the first serious buyer that looked at the thing and we were able to pay less than sticker price.

5. Don’t forget to take your time and have fun. Buying from an estate sale can be a great way to furnish your home with quality furniture for less.

I’m not a big fan of buying furniture. It’s just one of those expenses that bugs me. We could have purchased something from craigslist, or a used furniture store, but I think there are steals to be found at estate sales. It’s neat knowing we’ll be using this kitchen table for several years to come.

What’s your take? Where is the best place to buy used furniture?

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  1. Avatar GaelicWench says:

    WTG! There are always numerous estate sales listed in this area of NW PA. There are many seniors who have been moved to different living arrangements or passed on – may they rest in peace. They’re largely auctions, of course, so there will be a number of buyers with differing mindsets.
    Yours is a very good example of what I should go with prior to making a firm decision, or simply off the cuff. Doing one’s homework ahead of time, how much to budget for the item and ready to haggle can definitely lead to a very nice item for pennies on the dollar.
    I’m sure it took a lot of willpower to walk away from the estate sales despite the desire to want to “look around.” A lesson well passed on here. Thanks! 

  2. Avatar OneSmartDollar says:

    We have never purchased from an estate sale, but we have bought a couple pieces of furniture off of Craigslist and refinished them.

  3. Avatar Jeb Matulich says:

    Lets hit some up on some Thursday mornings when I get back! Nice work!

  4. Avatar Money Life and More says:

    I think an estate sale is a great place to buy furniture. I probably would have tried to ask for a bit more off but I think you got a great deal.

    1. Avatar Philip Taylor says:

       @Money Life and More Well, I’m not sure what she actually asked. But $50 is what she got. Pretty good for day one of the estate sale.

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