When it comes to shopping yard sales, everyone has their own strategy. Some shoppers like to get up early and be the first one to get the goods, while others prefer to get there later in the day to scoop up some last minute price cuts. Some shoppers hit up one or two sales and others spend their entire day shopping. In this blog post, we are going to reveal seven smart strategies for finding the best sales in your area, how to get the best deals & what items you should be on the lookout for.
How to find local yard sales
1. There are a few ways to find yard sales in your area. One of the most popular ways to locate current yard sale listings is to search online yard sale listing sites. Thankfully, we live in a time where finding yard sales is as easy as a simple internet search! Sites like Garage Sale Finder, Gsalr.com and YardSaleSearch allow you to enter your location and find yard sales in your local area. These listings sometimes contain photos of the items for sale along with detailed descriptions of what you can expect to find. This can be very helpful in determining which yard sales to visit.
Another way to find local garage sales is to check your local paper. Although not as popular as they once were, you can still find a handful of yard sale listings located in the classified section of your local newspaper and free weekly newspapers.
Use keywords to find the best yard sales
2. Now that you’ve found several listings in your area, it’s time to determine which ones are actually worth visiting. Our favorite trick for finding the best yard sales is to look for certain keywords in the listing details. Keywords such as ‘multi-family’ or ‘neighborhood sale’ are great for finding large sales. If you are looking for something more specific like “video games” then, you would search yard sales listings for the word video games. By finding yard sales that are advertising the exact items you want, you spend less time visiting yard sales that don’t have what you are looking for and spend more your time more effectively.
3. A strategy that most yard sale shoppers should employ is to regularly check sites like Ebay, Craigslist and online Buy/Swap/Sell sites to find out what prices items are selling for. You’ll never be able to know whether something is a good deal or not unless you have knowledge about what the item sells for in the general public.
Our recommendation is to start with the items you already know about, collect and purchase on a regular basis. For example, if you love vintage clothing, you can start by purchasing great deals on vintage clothing and then as you learn more about vintage apparel, branch out to vintage shoes or accessories.
The Green Room University is a private membership forum that has a community of yard sale shoppers that share information and valuations on all collectible items. They even post weekly “BOLOs” (Be on the Look Out) which tells shoppers which items are in high demand.
Knowing the value of items can be beneficial when shopping yard sales because it allows you to know whether or not something is a good deal. This is an important fact to know whether you are buying it for yourself or to sell for a profit.
Plan your route
4. When the day finally rolls around for you to go yard sale shopping, you’ll want to be very strategic about the route you take. We recommend prioritizing your list around the garage sales you are most interested in and then create a route based on that list. You’ll also want to take into consideration what time each of the sales starts, so you can hit up several sales throughout the day.
Getting to a sale early will allow you to have first dibs at all of the good stuff. Most yard sale hosts will not allow early bird shoppers, however, that shouldn’t stop you from driving by the yard sale ahead of time to see if it will be worth visiting. The only downside to getting there early is that the yard sale host is less likely to want to negotiate on items because it’s so early in the day.
It doesn’t hurt to ask
5. One advanced shopping strategy that collectors and flippers use to find valuable items, is to ask the host for the specific item they are looking for. For example, let’s say you collect old iPods. You visit a yard sale and don’t see any for sale, instead of leaving the yard sale, you should ask the host if he/she has any old iPods laying around. You’d be surprised at the amount of stuff people have that they have forgotten to put out at the yard sale or didn’t think would sell. It never hurts to ask for what you are looking for.
6. Experienced yard sale shoppers know better than to ever take prices at face value. Remember, *almost* everything is negotiable, so at the very least you should always try to negotiate a lower price. The trick to negotiation is to get the seller to say a price first. You can do this by asking the seller, “What’s the lowest you’d be willing to go on this?”. They will usually come back with a price and then you can, in turn, give them a slightly lower price to see if they will go for it. If not, you can still feel good knowing that you shaved a few dollars off of the price.
Make the most of your purchases
7. Now that you’ve done some yard sale shopping and found some valuable items, it’s time to give them a home. You can either keep them for yourself or flip them for profit. The good news is that there are several places that you can resell yard sale items for profit.
Ebay is great for selling rare, antique or unique items. The site has a built-in buyer base of collectors, resellers and shoppers that are always looking for valuable items to purchase.
Facebook Buy Swap Sell Sites & Craigslist are great for selling items that may be too large to ship or too inexpensive to sell online. For example, if you are trying to sell an old Singer sewing machine table, you’d probably be better off selling it to a local collector than listing it online and having to ship it.
Now that you’ve heard our top tips for a successful yard sale shopping trip, we’d love to hear your tips! Leave us a comment below with your favorite yard sale strategy!