Finding Bargains At Yard Sales for your eBay business or for your own home and family
Yard sale season is upon us once again and this means that mainy happy shoppers will be out scouring the neighborhoods for the best bargains. There will be many two main types of yard sale shoppers out there, the ones that are looking for some cheap bargains for the family and the ones that are looking to replenish supplies for their eBay inventory. Personally, I fall into both categories because while I feel that yard sales are the perfect environment for finding a great range of merchandise at great prices, which is a must when looking to sell it on at a profit to my own customers, I also like to find items for my family. The problem with yard sale shopping is that there are many traps that buyers can fall into and a great bargain isn't always guaranteed. Luckily, I have learnt plenty of tricks and have lots of tips on what to look for, what to avoid and how to make the most of a yard sale.
The dos and don'ts of stocking up and finding bargains at yard sales:
Look to repeat previous successes. This is probably the best piece of advice to start with because it always pays to look for items you have successfully sold in the past as you know what kind of price you can get. Having said that, you should not be too cautious either because it does not hurt to take a gamble on an item that you think might sell if you have a good hunch and the price is right. At worst, I'll try to get the investment back if I can't sell for a profit.
Keep current trends in mind as you buy. Be aware of what antiques and collectibles are hot in décor magazines, such as the industrial style that is currently very popular. Browsing eBay sold items, Pinterest and reading a lot will help you get a better understanding of trends and what sells: use that to your advantage! Even if you are not looking to resell items and are shopping for yourself, yard sales can offer unique, attractive, vintage items that will spruce up your interior like no-one else's.
Take the time to research brands before getting sucked in by “designer” names. Buying second-hand clothes from yard sales can be a great idea (I buy a lot, especially kid's clothes) but if you are going to resell clothes and shoes you have really know your brands – such as the difference between a real Vuitton bag and a knock-off – and be be extremely picky about quality. Personally, I don't touch anything that is on the high-end scale because it is too much hassle; it will only pay off if you get it exactly right and know you have bought a bargain. On a related note,while kid's clothes are not always easy to shop for, especially when it comes to young boys that always seem to end up putting holes through their knees, it is still it's worth having a look because you can find quality brands and sometimes even unusual, eco-friendly ones.
Keep an eye out for specialized rarities that are not available to costumers overseas. My international buyers often send me special requests for hard-to-find items so I try to maintain that relationship by searching for them where I can.
Think about gifts for friends and family. It never hurts to plan ahead and think about next Christmas a little bit early and it is easy to find like-new toys still in their boxes, or even new books and DVD's! All you need to do is double check their quality before you buy, make sure they are the real-deal (not some cheap bootlegged knock-off) and you have a great present lined up.
Get drawn in by the big brands to the point where you end up paying too much. There are some classic toys that will pretty much guarantee you a sale because of their popularity – Lego, Playmobil and Littlest Pet Shop being prime examples – but sellers at yards sales are fully aware of this too and can catch out unsuspecting buyers that are looking at the name and potential rather than the high ticket price. Lego and Playmobil are great buys but only if you get them cheap.
Buy items that you can't handle. There will be plenty of items at yard sales that will catch your eye, especially if you are looking with interior décor trends in mind, but they will be no use as a profitable resell item if you cannot store it and ship it to another buyer. Don't buy furniture, even if the price is ultra cheap, unless you have a use for it in your own home.
Assume that just because an item is old that it's worth something! The worst culprits are stamps because I have seen far too many ridiculous price tags on them in garage sales and I have friends that bring me some they bought at a premium price at a yard sale, thinking they hit the jackpot, only to find out they are worthless. These sorts of collectibles – stamps, coins, etc – should only be bought if you are knowledgeable on the subject.
Buy personal care items from garage sale. To put it simply, you never know where they've been. Used perfumes and half-empty pots of skin care cream are far more likely to bring you an allergic reaction than a profit. If you must go in for toiletries and beauty items, they should be bought new and from a legitimate source.
It is all about being yard sale-savvy. Some of the tips listed here may seem like common sense dos and don'ts; however, it is far too easy to get swept away by the prospect of bargains, top sellers and unusual collectibles and end up leaving your common sense in your own front yard.
All you need to do is undertake a little research on what sells and what it hot, have a clear plan of what you want and what has worked for you in the past and stick to it without getting distracted by items that are overly-expensive, unlikely to sell or completely impractical.
If you can do that, chances are you will come home with exactly what you want for your home or the ideal items for reselling on eBay rather than purchases you will later regret.