How many times have you been by an estate sale or tag sale and wish you had gotten there first? How many times do you wish you could have been in control from the beginning? Do you agonize over what relatives may have tossed in the trash as "worthless" while the overpriced dubious "antiques" are sitting in the sun on the driveway unsold? If this sounds like you, then it is time to be proactive and do something about it. Here are some simple, but effective methods to get more and better antiques and collectibles for a dealer or ebayer.
In most communities, most people who land estate after estate just get them through word of mouth. People know that Mr. Joe Blow has always been doing it, so why not call old Joe. You have to be ready to act first. Advertising for estates can be expensive and can easily eat into the budget you have set aside for purchases, so you have to be creative. Simple "I buy estates" flyers with phone tear slips on the bottom placed around grocery stores, church bulletin boards, or laundry mats are a quick and easy way to get your name out and about in the community.
Beyond this simple advertising, it is also good to investigate local nursing homes. Many have newsletters that are published for the residents and their families. Generally it is cheap to run a small classified in this type of paper. It may sound crass, but these people are dying every day and often the family doesn't know what to do or doesn't want to mess with cleaning out a house, garage, etc. Many of the family members are out of state and don't have the time or resources to dedicate to estate disposal and would rather just hire it out and be done with it. A well placed bulletin board ad or classified ad in the area nursing homes can work wonders.
Work the Obituaries
If you have a certain area of town that has historically yielded some great antiques or ebay goods be sure to follow the obituaries carefully. The goal is to be the first one in to stake a claim. Don't be afraid to send out an "I Buy Estates" mailing to the address of the deceased. This may seem odd and uncaring, but you are helping the family and yourself. The trick is to not just mail one to the deceased person's address, but to use a city directory at your local library and mail out 25 to 50 to everyone on the street or neighboring streets. If an irate family member thinks you are being too bold, you can merely apologize for the bad timing and tell them to inquire with the neighbors as they received your flyer as well. Many times the family will treat your flyer as a stroke of good fortune and contact you for disposal.
These are just two simple ways to increase your presence in the neighborhood and help you get your hands on more and better antiques and collectibles for you to sell at a flea market, yard sale, ebay or in your own shop. Perseverance pays plenty â so stick with it!