Big Bill Love’s Hints on Buying at a Yard/Garage Sale
Yard sale time has arrived with the cooler weather and one of the tri-state traditions is looking for bargains so let's take a look at
Tips for attending yard/garage sales and getting the most for your money
- Finding the sales. Many people advertise their sales and there are several online sites. Just google. Be sure to check Craigslist and Facebook also. If a seller lives near a well traveled intersection, they may just post a sign on an existing pole. You may find some good sales by simply cruising around residential areas on Saturday morning and looking for signs.
- There are two times to get the best deals at a sale: (1) just as the sale starts and the best items haven't been picked over. (2) At the end of the sale when the sellers are most likely to take less for what they have left.
- Start a conversation with the sellers and be friendly. Say hello as you walk toward the sellers. They will be much more likely to make a better deal if they feel comfortable with you.
- Don't be afraid to make an offer less than the listed price. Most sellers expect a little "higgle and haggle" and will take a little less. You should feel comfortable making an offer about 20% less than posted. You can always ask, "What's your best price on this?" or even, "What will you take for this?" When you make an offer, be friendly and say it in a fun way. The sellers expect you to wheel and deal a little. That's part of the fun.
- If you are willing to buy several items, you may want to make a lower offer on the group.
- Sometimes the seller may have something else that they considered selling but didn't bring out of the house. If you are looking for a particular item, don't be timid about asking, "I am looking for a good used couch--you wouldn't have one, would you?". You may get lucky and it doesn't hurt to ask.
- Bring cash and no big bills. Some folks don't take checks and very few are set up for cards.
- If a big crowd is present and you want to buy something but can't get the sellers attention, just take the price tag off the item. I have seen several people do this, and it indicates they are buying the item.
- I try to avoid professional yard sales. If the sellers have several tables and tents, they probably have bought items elsewhere to sell for a profit and may be a little more hesitant to haggle.
- Look the item over carefully for breaks or cracks. If it is an electrical item ask if you can plug it in and test it. It is difficult to return an item you bought at a yard sale.
- It is important to know what the item you are looking at is actually worth. You may want to bring your cell and look up the item on eBay's "sold items" and see what the item actually sold for.This has saved me from making a dumb purchase many times.