Yard Sale & Garage Sale Tips for Buyers
Yard Sale Portal
Yard Sale Portal
Friday, June 24, 2005
Read from the Source
Being a smart yard sale shopper can be tricky. Below is a list of things to remember when going to a sale. These yard sale tips can save you a lot of money and can get you treasures at dirt prices.
- Make a list of the items you know you want. This will help you to remember to look for certain important items at each sale.
- Research the fair price for the items you are interested in buying. Look in the newspapers and online for current market values. One online resource for current retail prices is Price Watch. Write down the prices you would be willing to pay next to each item you have on your list. This way, it will be right where you need it when you are shopping.
- Look online at the Consumer's Product Recall List to see what items have been recalled. This is particularly important if you are shopping for baby items.
- Take clothing measurements of family members ahead of time. Carry a list of sleeve lengths, inseams, neck, chest, and waist sizes, and pack along a cloth measuring tape to see if items are likely to fit.
- Search Yard Sale Portal's web site and local newspapers to see where the yard sale are located. Map out where the yard sales are located and plan your trips according to how the yard sales group together.
- Some neighborhoods have more yard sales than others, and some offer more upscale and newer items. Sometimes you can find some great sales that aren't listed in the newspapers by just driving around these neighborhoods.
- Bring lots of change and small bills. Most sellers don't accept checks and may have run out of change.
- Go early to find the best items. You have the best selection if you are one of the first to arrive at a sale. Most sales start 8am or 9am, but a few may start as early as 7am. Be polite.
- Don't be an early bird. Professional buyers will often show up an hour before the advertised opening time. They want to talk sellers into selling them the best things for the least amount, in a hit and run style. This is considered rude and often offends many sellers. If a yard sale advertises it will start at 8am, you can show up 7:45am, but don't show up at 7am.
- Eat a good breakfast before you go and pack a thermos and snacks for you and the kids. Also pack coloring books and other entertainment if you bring along the kids.
- Be prepared for the weather. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Take a hat and sunglasses as well as sun lotion. You can get a sunburn in just a few minutes of browsing at a yard sale without sun protection.
- Take a tape measure with you. It comes in handy to measure items such as furniture and clothes.
- If the item uses batteries and there aren't any, never pay more than $1 for the item. You may want to have an assortment of batteries in your car so you can test with them. Be sure to inspect all items before buying. If it is electric, have the seller plug it in and then try every component and feature to make sure they all work. If something doesn't work and you are still interested, this should be a good reason to tell the seller the price should be much lower.
- Be sure to look under all tags, including any price stickers. Sad to say, but some unscrupulous sellers will cover up chips and cracks with price stickers.
- Make sure the item is complete when you buy it or ask for a huge discount if you are willing to buy without all the parts. Sometimes a seller will claim they have the instructions or remote control somewhere around the house and that they will find it and give it to you next week. You buy the item and find out the owner can't find the missing part and you then know they never had it, so you have little chance of them being honorable enough to give you a partial or full refund.
- Ask many questions about items you are considering buying. "Does it work?" "Do you know of any problems with it?" "How old is it?" These are all good questions to ask. Don't be shy, negotiate.
- Even if items are marked, ask the seller if s/he will accept less.
- Some items have manufacture dates on them, such as TVs and computer monitors. You can look at the back for the date they were made. If the sticker is missing, you can bet the item is old and the owner is trying to hide this information.
- The best bargains are often in the later afternoon. People are more willing to bargain near quitting time. They are tired and they will almost always sell at a lower price instead of packing it back up and putting it back in their house.
- If you try to negotiate on an item but the seller won't budge, leave your name and phone number along with the price you are willing to pay. Tell the owner to give you a call at the end of the day if the item doesn't sell and s/he wants to sell the item at your price.
- To get the best price, pick up an item you don't want and ask the seller how much they want for it, or if it has a marked price then offer half or less of the marked price. After the seller has given you the price or refused to accept your offer you look disappointed and put back the item. Then pick up an item you DO want and once again ask the price or offer half of the marked price. This time the seller will often lower their prices. It is a psychological game, where sellers want to make a sale and they know you are willing to leave if the price isn't low enough.