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Yard Sale vs. a Professional Estate Sale: What’s the Difference?


Spending the weekend hopping to and from yard and garage sales has become an American pastime. Are you ready to…step it up a notch? Think of a professional estate sale as the cool, more experienced sibling of a yard sale.

Both have commonalities and differences, but one thing is for sure, yard sales have nothing on an estate sale.

Professional Estate Sales Compared to Yard/Garage Sales

Company Estate Sale Yard or Garage Sale
Held inside the home Held outside in front yard or driveway
Belongings are sold of an abandoned or foreclosed house, deceased estate owner, downsizing, or a divorce. Unwanted household items are sold that have been sitting around. Owners want to get rid of them for a very low price.
Big-ticket items are common. Art, furniture, cars, fine jewelry, collectibles, furs, and more. Knick-knacks are common: small house appliances, mismatched sheets, dishes, vases, pictures, books, magazines, toys.
Services are held by an estate sale company that categorizes and prices everything. Homeowners themselves hold the sale. They price the items, usually very cheap, to clean out their house.
High-quality or rare items such as antiques, vintage goods, collectibles are common. Mediocre quality items may have a part missing or will need to be repaired.
Items are not up for negotiation. Negotiating is expected and common.
Normally last a few days (Fri-Sunday)  

Commonly last one day (Sat. or Sunday)

Professional signs are made to attract local community and is widely advertised, even on social media. Hand-made signs are made, usually of neon posterboard and a permanent black marker.

Company Estates Sales and Yard Sales do have Similarities

  • Both will have lower prices near the end.

Yes, homeowners who throw a yard or garage sale sell items to make a profit, but for many, this isn’t a focus. By the end of the day, it’s very common for people to just want everything they don’t need, gone. Usually, there will be belongings left out on the lawn with a “Free” sign in front. It’s less work for someone to lower the price or give something away than have the burden of keeping it. Likewise, if you attend the last day of a professional estate sale and furthermore, in the last hours, you will find prices lowered.

  • A lot of the same items will be found at both, but of different value.

It is true that at a professional estate sale you can find big-ticket items such as cars, art, furniture, or fine jewelry. Although, yard sales are not exempt from these items. Maybe the jewelry will not be real diamonds or the artwork may not be as unique. Yet, you can still certainly find antiques, vintage goods, and collectibles at yard sales. Items found at yard sales may not be as valuable as that of estate sales, but maybe that is what you are looking for. Common items found at both are: glassware, clothing, furniture, records, kitchen appliances, tools, and toys.

Estate Sale Professionals

Are you interesting in coming to one of Maple Street Estates’ fabulous professional estates sales? Our loyal customers keep coming back for more. Check out upcoming sales listed here.

Whether you want to learn more as a buyer, or need our services as a seller, our team of experts is here for you. Contact us anytime with questions, concerns, or for a free home consultation of your estate.