Buying Tips

Looking for treasures? For many people, they can’t imagine a weekend without hunting down bargains, driving from one neighborhood to another. Yet, even the most experienced of “yard sailors” can always pick up a tip or two.

  1. Look and Listen – Don’t count on finding every garage, yard, and estate sale in the newspaper. Some savvy sellers prefer to make use of free advertising, so be sure to check out the bulletin boards at grocery stores, laundry mats and churches among others.
  2. Like a Good Scout, Be Prepared! – Look at the weather forecast and see what provisions you’ll need. Sunglasses, suntan lotion, and hats are a must for sunny, hot days in addition to an ample supply of bottled water. Even with a hint of rain, coats and boots (remember, the sales often take place on grass) should be stowed in your vehicle.
  3. Elementary Dr. Watson – If you are at a sale and interested in buying clothes, see if you can detect if someone in the home is a smoker. In the open air, you may not pick up the smell of smoke from clothing so look around to see what else if for sale (i.e. ashtrays). Also, if you are sensitive to pet dander or dust, look for clues that may indicate you should be shopping elsewhere.
  4. Do Your Homework – If you can, make a list of the things you are interested in purchasing before you visit your first sale. You can save yourself time and money by checking out the values of items you are interested in by looking at similar items at retail stores you frequent or at secondhand stores.
  5. Early vs. Later Birds – Avoid the temptation for being the first person at a sale. You’ll find that many sellers don’t appreciate being rushed into business. Besides, most of the better deals are available towards the end of the sale.
  6. Use Cheat Cards – Make notes of your kids and your spouse’s sizes so they’re readily available when you find something at a sale. Don’t forget shoe sizes!
  7. Be a Detective – Ask questions about the items you’re interested in. You might find out some interesting history. Also, don’t be afraid to ask why the item is up for sale. Be sure to check the item out. Look for rips, st/ains or worn areas on clothing and furniture, prominent dents, chips and scratches on other items.
  8. Priced Too High? – If you can’t get together with the seller on a price, don’t be rude and storm off. Instead, calmly provide the seller with your name and number and have them call you if they change their mind.
  9. Don’t Be Impulsive – You’ll find yourself having your own sale if you buy things that you’re not really looking for. Remember, there’s a reason many of these items are up for sale. Make sure you have a use for whateve/r you buy.