Yard Sale Guru 101
Over the past few years I have dedicated every Saturday morning possible to visiting yard-sales. We have found dozens of great items that we have either kept for ourselves or were able to sell online for profit. Yard sales are a great way to find antiques or used goods at a great price. Here are 5 Tips On How To Become A Yard-sale Guru.
1. Have A Plan: Know ahead of time what you are looking for and jump online and check your local classifieds for a list of Yard Sales and what they have in your local area. I always checkout www.ksl.com and create a list of the local sales I want to visit. Then we plug it into the phone map system so we can get there quickly saving gas and time.
2. Start Early: Be the first to show up and you can get the best deals. I can’t stress enough how important it is to start early and get to the sales before everything has been picked over. Last year we arrived at a large sale before the crowd we purchased about five items and before we left someone offered me double what I paid for one item. I declined because it was worth five times what I paid if listed on ksl. Had I been ten minutes later we would have missed that item.
3. Eye check: On busy Saturdays we always find signs for sales we didn’t know about. We put them into the plan and do a drive by Eye Check. Nothing can ruin a good Yard-sale day more than getting out of the car rummaging through piles of stuff you do not want and wasting time. Drive by slow and scan the yard for great items and organized piles, If you don’t see something that really peaks your interest move on without stopping.
4. Negotiate: First let me note that you should be respectful and reasonable, nothing can lose a good sale for you more than pissing someone off. Items at most garage sales are priced well or at least they should be in my opinion (if you are looking to make a lot of cash on an item, sell it in the classifieds or some other avenue where you can get top dollar a garage sale is for selling items you want to get ride of and would be happy to get some cash for it instead) However just because the sticker says they want $50 does not mean you need to pay anywhere near that. So how can you get a good deal…. show interest in the item poke around it let the owner know you are interested. Just how people like to hear their own name they like when people show interest in things they at one point liked enough to purchase. Knowing you are interested creates an instant camaraderie of sorts. I like to discuss things about the item with my wife talk about the price where you might put it in the house and how it might look often the seller chimes in during this process. I also like to move on saying it is more than we can pay for the item. This often opens the door to negotiate, or by coming back to it in a few minutes you can say something like… “I really like this but I just can’t justify paying $50 for it, would you take $25″
Yes I almost always start with half why? Well what if they sell it for half, you just got a great deal! Also it helps you see just how interested they are in negotiating. Often a seller will then counter with something in between. Now you can decide if you want to split the difference again or accept their offer. Last but not least bulk buy, if they are slow to negotiate on the $50 item and only want to sell it for say $40. See if you can’t throw in a few other items for the same price or at a huge discount. The sentimental attachment of the $50 item could be played into your favor offering them $60 for it and 3 other items listed for $40 dollars together. If they agree to this deal you walk away with $90 worth of items for $60. Get creative and do not be afraid to ask. Remember only buy in bulk things you actually want or think you can sell for a profit.
5. Cash Is King: have your cash on hand, it helps you negotiate better because you can say you are ready to purchase it now. I have seen multiple times someone will leave to go get cash and either forget or talk themselves out of purchasing the item on their way to the ATM leaving the seller high and dry. Having your cash on hand can also help when you run into a great deal. More than once we have seen a gem we know we could resell online and having extra cash can often help on getting a great item. WARNING be careful not to spend your reserve on anything not well worth it… do not let the extra cash on hand tempt you to buy something you do not need or want that would really kill the Yard Sale GURU inside.
Yard-sales can be a lot of fun and a great way to spend a weekend morning. It is a fun way for us to spend time together and find items to decorate or use at a very good price. What types of things do you do to make your Yard-selling experiences great? Share them in the comments section….