Tips for Yardsales (Buying and Selling)

Tips for Yardsales (Buying and Selling)

Last year, for one of my columns on CBC Information Morning 106.1 in Moncton, we talked about Yard Sales.
Jonna mentioned a faux pas she made a while back when she went yardsaling with her family members. She started her experience with a $50 bill. Finding a teacup for $0.50, she pulled out the $50 and the person selling did not have change. Her Aunt placed two quarters on the table and hauled her off!  I had to laugh, this happens so often, especially with bank machines pumping out $20 bills. Many people come to yard sales with bigger bills, but a $50 would be a surprise to the seller for sure. Read more below for tips for both buyers and sellers, to make your morning treasure hunt a pleasant one.
I hope the experience does not keep Jonna from trying again.

What other mistakes do people make?

  • Paying Sticker Price: Heading into a yard sale and paying the price on the tag, WITHOUT asking for a better price. Most sellers know they will be haggled on price, so they may put a little more on it than they will actually accept.
  • Check to be sure it works: Buying something electronic without checking if it works is a common mistake. We tend to trust that is someone is selling, it must work. Most people will have an outdoor outlet close by. Plug it in and try it first. Who wants to get home and find out the $2 toaster does not work? It was a great deal, and yes, it’s only $2….but it is your $2 and you may have wasted it.
  • Take some batteries: If you are looking for items that usually take batteries, carry some with you to test items! Yes, you can put a few batteries in your car just in case. I would suggest sellers have batteries on hand, but they often do not.
  • You do not need to buy EVERY DEAL: BEFORE you head out to shop, really think about what you are going for. You do not need to buy more “stuff” that you will store and just turn around and put in a yard sale or donate. I completely understand the rush of finding a deal (I am the coupon lady 🙂 ), but remember, it’s only a deal if you will actually use it!

How can people get deals without looking really stingy or cheap? 

Don’t think about it as being stingy, you are being frugal, you want to pay the least you have to.
Ask for a deal: Just because you know what someone may have paid originally, it NEVER hurts to ask for a better deal. The worst response they can give you is, “I won’t go any lower”. You then decide what you are willing to pay. I am not a haggler, but I always ask what they want for something, even if it is marked.
Try to look at everything, gather up what you are looking to buy and then ask what the seller wants for the group of items. Often times they will not look at each item for a price, they will just ballpark it. Or may even drop the price by half or more. You simply never know how bad someone wants the stuff gone!

What tips do you have for people having yard sales? 

BE PREPARED (that applies to so many things in life)
Have your items priced: If you are like me, you may constantly have a Yard Sale Bin on the go. As I put an item in the bin, I put a price on it. Then on sale day, I have no labeling to do.
Set Up Tables: Prep tables or tarps the night before, ready to load up with your items in the morning. Tarps don’t need to be put out until the morning of. Tarps or plastic bags are great to spread on the grass and display toys, stuffed animals or clothing. They keep everything off the grass and clean. I would put more expensive items on tables, closer to eye level will make them more appealing to people.
Have lots of change: Depending on your lowest priced items, you will want to have lots of change on hand. Quarters are usually my smallest coin, but if you are selling items at $0.10 or less, then you will want nickels and dimes as well.
Advertise: Make signs with “YARD SALE”, hours you will be set up and arrows directing to your street. At the end of your street put the address on the sign as well, maybe some balloons to draw attention as well. This will make your signs smaller for putting up. Post signs the night before. Remove your signs once you are done packing up your items.
Post your sale online (Kijiji, facebook community groups, on your personal social media pages, etc)
You can also check out my post on Hosting a Successful Yard Sale.

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