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4 Garage Sale Tips to Help You Find the Best Deals

Posted by MoneyKey on August 18, 2019
garage sale tips

The summer months are primetime for garage sales, as people look to clear out their houses of unused items, or are just looking to make a few extra bucks. Either way, if you’re cruising around your neighborhood looking to catch sight of a lawn filled with potential hidden gems, this is the time of year for it. But even though whatever you find at a garage sale will likely be at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a normal retailer, there are still some garage sale tips you can follow to help you score even better deals. So, here are four garage sale tips that may be able to help you save during your bargain hunting this summer.

1. Research online

If you want to find the best deals out there, you’re going to have to put in a little work before you actually go out to shop. So, before you head out your door looking for sales, you’ll want to do some research online first.

There are a few different websites you can look at to help you locate garage sales in your area. People will post ads on these sites which may give you the opportunity to find out what they’re selling and maybe even see a few pictures of these items. These sites include:

  • Yard Sale Search. This site will help you find sales regardless of where you are, as long as you’re in the U.S. All you need to do is input your zip code, and a map will be generated that shows you where sales are going on in your area. You can then see the time, date, location, and what items are being sold for each of these sales.
  • Garage Sales Tracker. This site will let you search for garage sales, consignment stores, and flea markets in your area so you can get a sense of what items are being sold. This should help you decide whether it’s worth it to make the trip. They also have an app that will help you find local garage sales.
  • Craigslist. People can advertise all sorts of things on Craigslist, and garage sales are no exception. After you’ve found your city on the site, look underneath the “For Sale” section, and you should see a “Garage Sale” heading. Click on the link and you’ll be able to see if there are any ads for garage sales going on in your neighborhood.

do some garage sale research before going out

If you don’t want to restrict your search to just online resources, there are places that you can look offline. Check your local newspaper to see if there are any ads posted for garage sales in the area. You may also see ads on bulletin boards around town, grocery stores, or even flyers at coffee shops.

2. Timing is everything

Now that you have an idea of when and where these garage sales are taking place, it’s time to implement a few garage sale tips to give you the best shot at finding a great deal. One of the most important ones is timing. Here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Be there right when the garage sale starts. If you want your pick of the litter, the best time to go to a garage sale is early in the morning just when things are getting underway. If there are any amazing deals on big-ticket items like furniture, sound systems, or TVs, these things will probably be sold early, so you’re going to want to get there early if you want a shot at them.
  • Pick over what’s left at the end of the day. While you’re going to want to be there early to get your hands on some of the more valuable items, there are still some benefits to being one of the last ones there. When the garage sale starts to wrap up, sellers get more and more desperate to get rid of whatever they have left. This is when you may start to see already low prices drop even further. Some of the smaller items like books, clothes, and kitchen items tend to sell well during this point in the sale.

3. Be ready to negotiate

This may seem like one of the more obvious garage sale tips, but when you go to a garage sale, you need to be ready to haggle. However, a lot of people may not be totally comfortable with the negotiation process. After all, it might feel a little awkward nickel and diming over the price of a book. But if you’re looking to score the best deals possible, there are a few things you can do to help you in the negotiation process.

be ready to negotiate at garage sales

Don’t look your best

This may seem like an odd one, but you may not want to be looking your absolute best when you go to a garage sale. This doesn’t mean you need to show up looking completely disheveled, you just may not want to wear your nicest clothes. If you look affluent, sellers may want to take advantage of that and might not be as willing to budge on their prices. So, try to keep things casual and leave your expensive jewelry at home. You should also make sure you have smaller bills on you to avoid that awkward moment of paying for something with a $50 bill after you’ve just haggled the price down to $4.

Present multiple items at once

Instead of going up to the seller and asking about the price for each individual item that you’re interested in, start a little collection and see if you can get them in a package deal. They’re likely trying to get rid of as much as they can, so they may be inclined to give you a deal if you’re going to take a lot of merchandise off their hands at once.

Create a relationship

Don’t just wander around the sale like you would up and down the aisles of a normal retailer. Find the seller and start a conversation. Ask them about the items you’re intrigued by and how they came to own them. Making a human connection with someone and showing a genuine interest in their things might make them more inclined to give you a deal. And if they’re having a hard time parting with some of these items because of their personal connection to them, they might feel better knowing that they’re going to someone who genuinely cares about them.

Walk away when necessary

If the price of an item is listed at $40, you shouldn’t start your offer at $5. Not giving a realistic offer might end up turning the seller off of the interaction entirely. Start your offer at a more reasonable amount and go from there. If they’re not willing to negotiate, put the item back where you found it. This might call their bluff and they may be more willing to start a real negotiation process. And if they’re not, then just walk away.

4. Consider flipping items for a profit

you can flip items you find at garage sales for a profit

Over the course of your bargain hunting, you might stumble on some amazing deals for things you don’t actually want or need. When this happens, you might be able to put a few extra dollars in your pocket by flipping these items for more money. Try to stick with things that you know people will need, like shoes, clothes, or books. Here are some more things you might want to consider flipping.

To sell them, you can either use these selling apps, put your items up on eBay or Craigslist, or even throw your own garage sale. Just remember to do some research before you actually buy any of these items to make sure you’re getting a good deal and to validate that there’s a market for them.

Use these garage sale tips to help you score great deals

Garage sales can be full of all sorts of amazing deals and hidden gems, but there are few things you should ask yourself before you actually pull the trigger on a purchase. Is this something I really need? Can I gift it to someone? Does it go with what I already own? Can I resell it at some point? If the item you’re looking at doesn’t meet any of these requirements, you might want to re-think your purchase.

But if you’ve found something you actually need, the garage sale tips we’ve listed may be able to help you score a great deal!

 

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and does not constitute financial, legal or other professional advice. For full details, see MoneyKey's Terms of Use.

Posted in: Lifestyle

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