Surprisingly not many people know the differences between an estate, garage and yard sale and will often refer to them as generally the same thing. However, there are some distinct differences that distinguish these sales and allow you to tell them apart. One thing that all the sales have in common is that they all take place within or around the home; but outside of location there are some unique differences that are worth taking note of so you know what to expect.
A garage sale is usually held to get rid of someone’s personal belongings or items around the household that are taking up space and no longer wanted. This sale is usually held in the garage and items put up for sale can range between clothing, video games, small pieces of furniture, cooking products, toys, desks, electrical appliances and other such items.
Garage sales can be very unpredictable, especially when the items being sold have been sitting in storage for a while. In most cases, stuff at garage sales is generally inexpensive, but there may be some valuable gems in between all the knick-knacks that the sellers may unknowingly sell cheaply. There have been many stories of people being able to discover a painting by a noted artist for a fraction of the price their actual value.
Yard sales are very similar to garage sales, except they take place in the front yard or driveway of the home. Yard sales are popular for selling off unwanted clothes the kids have outgrown or little used household items to raise funds or make more space. In some cases the person could be preparing to move and does not want to have to pack up all these extra items they barely use. Community yard sales are a common site around America, where entire neighborhoods of homes collectively put all their goods out on the same day and a buyer can go from home to home hunting for treasures.
Estate sales, on the other hand, are bigger events that take place inside of the home and are usually held to sell off more than 50% of someone’s property. Estate sales are common in the event that a relative has passed away or an individual who lived in the residence is moving out and downsizing significantly. Divorce or bankruptcy is not an uncommon reason to have an estate sale either. These sales can be run by professional companies who can calculate the proper worth of each individual item, and then charge a total cost of the goods as payment in return for their efforts. In most cases the fees professional companies charge will be worth it and will not result in any loss of revenue on the sellers end.
Estate sales offer the greatest chance at scoring something of real value, including antiques, art, crystal, furniture and anything else you can think of in a residence. The cost of the goodies for sale at an estate sale are usually priced higher than those at yard and garage sales, but you also have a better shot of scoring a really interesting deal on something truly unique and not just cast-off junk.
Both yard and garage sales typically happen over the course of a single day, usually on a Saturday morning, for example. It is not uncommon for an estate sale to last two or three days and include a preview day so that folks can check out what is going to be available.
One common thread between all three of these sale events is that haggling is typically expected. If you can respectfully negotiate with a seller, you might be lucky enough to grab a discount. Unless an item is priced “as is” due to pre-determined market value (which can happen at an estate sale), you can go ahead and try your hand at scoring a sweet deal.