Shopping For eBay Products At Garage Sales.
A lot of people start selling on eBay by selling unwanted
things from their homes. After a few weeks, months, or even
years if you are a pack rat, you start going out and looking
for stuff to sell.
Shopping at garage sales, yard sales, estate sales, and rummage sales is
a logical next step. Thrift stores are also a natural place to
look for bargains, but I am going to concentrate on the tag
sales in this issue.
Garage Sale Shopping Tips:
- Go out often. This is a numbers game. If you rarely shop at garage sales, you'll rarely find goodies. The more sales
you attend the higher your chances of finding something
- Go out early. You are competing with hundreds or
thousands of other people for the same items. Remember the
saying - the early bird gets the worm.
- Hit as many garage sales as you can. Don't waste time on
worthless sales. As soon as you learn there is no reason to
stay, head for the next sale. See rule five for quick ways to
find out if there are hidden items.
- Take cash. You'll need small bills. Lots of them. A
good bank roll is 20 ones, 10 fives, and 5 tens. The rest
of your roll can be twenties and fifties. You do not want to
lose a deal because the seller cannot make change, and you
don't want to be slowed down while the seller fumbles for
change. You want to pay and leave for the next garage sale.
- Always ask for additional items. I shop mostly for
trains and toys. It's not unusual for someone having a garage sale to
have a train that is not out. Maybe they weren't considering
selling it? Maybe they forgot it was in the attic? Asking
reminds them, and will occasionally bring great results.
- Take a notebook and pen or pencil. Don't leave it in the
car, carry it with you. I rarely see people doing this. Your
notebook has four purposes:
- Take notes when a seller refuses your offer. Many sellers
will say, "If I don't sell it today, come back tomorrow and
I'll take your offer." Get the seller's telephone number so
you can call.
- When you ask for additional items, the seller may say he
has one but cannot get it out. Also, other shoppers might have
what you want. Get telephone numbers. This is important.
Getting a telephone number allows you to follow up. Handing
out a business card gives you no ability to follow up. Cards
are for networking, not buying.
- Speaking of networking, when you are asking the seller for
items, there will be other shoppers around. Some will be
asking for items too. If you overhear someone asking for
something interesting get a telephone number. Tell the shopper
you want to hit more sales while it's still early, but you'd
like to talk to them some more. When you get a larger number
of these numbers, keep them in your garage sale notebook. This
way when you are at a sale and see something they might be
interested in, you can call them on the phone for advice.
- Your notebook is for taking notes. When you see something at a garage sale
and think it might be worth buying, but aren't sure , write a
simple description in your book. Later you can do some
research and find out if you passed on something good. If you
also get the sellers telephone number, you can call her if you
discover it was something good, and see if she still has it.
- Leave the Corvette and designer clothes at home. You
want to look like a clean, polite, acceptable, middle class
person. Fancy clothes and expensive cars will hurt you when
you negotiate. Dirty clothes will also close doors. If you
look like a bum, you will be treated like a bum.
- Don't be afraid to make an offer. A lot of sellers
price things so they can haggle. A great garage sale shopping tip is to group things. I like
to buy full boxes of stuff.
- Don't haggle if the price is right. I once walked up to
a garage sale with a fantastic box of trains. The stuff was
priced at about 10% of it's value. There was another gentleman
there trying to talk the seller down farther. The seller said,
"If I can't get a hundred dollars for them, I'll keep them."
The haggler put the box down and stepped back. At that point I
picked up the box and handed the seller a crisp hundred and
- Read the last garage sale tip again. There is a second lesson there.
Sure the haggler was greedy or maybe he didn't have the money,
but I didn't interrupt or step in until the haggler stepped
back. This is important. It's about manners and ethics. There
is no faster way to get a bad reputation than taking things
away from others.
- Grab it and hold it. While I will never take
something from someone else, and you shouldn't either, other garage sale shoppers
will. As soon as you see something you want, grab it, and do
not let go until you are done shopping and are paying the seller.
- If you buy something you cannot fit into your
vehicle, take important parts of it with you. This will
prevent others from buying the item before you can get back.
Every now and then I buy train layouts. I take everything
except the board and the track with me when I go to get a
truck the board will fit in. I've seen people take the
cushions off couches, the drawers out of dressers, and the
leaves and chairs from a table.
As a side note here - make sure you get the full address and
telephone number of the seller so you can find the house when
you come back. The house will look quite different without the
garage sales items in the front yard and may be difficult to find.
- If in doubt, buy it. When you see something that
might be profitable, but have doubts, buy it. While I rarely
regret making purchases, I do regret walking away from items.
Set a limit on how much you are willing to risk, and spend up
Well, that is thirteen tips for garage sale shopping.
Now all you need is a bit of knowledge about what to buy.
Using your notebook, and researching things you passed up on
eBay afterwards will help you spot items in the future.
Tungett's "The eBay Seller's Guide to Finding Profitable
Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales"will help you. The book has lists of things
to look for.
In fact, I recommend printing it out and reading it through a
few times. The book is perfect for reading over during your
morning coffee before heading out to the sales. Even better
print it out, and put it in your car. Add to the lists as you
find other things, and use it for a reference.
In fact, I liked the book so much, I've made special arrangements to get you a lower priced copy, and packaged it with an interview I did that explains even more of the garage sale buying techniques that I've learned over the past 36 years.
A few more notes on "The eBay Seller's Guide to Finding Profitable
Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales". I think the title narrows it
down a bit. This is must have information for yard sales,
church rummage sales, estate sales, flea markets, thrift
stores, and even a trip around the neighborhood on trash day.
It will surely help you spot things worth buying.
Get your copy of "The eBay Seller's Guide to Finding Profitable
Hidden Bargains at Garage Sales" here.
PS While you are out and about, you'll surely run into
reproductions and fakes. You can learn how to spot fakes at:
Frauds, & Forgeries FAST
PPS Check out my techniques for getting into estate sales early.
PPPS For information about finding the best garage sales, see my article on Finding Killer Yard Sales.
"The IWantCollectibles Guide to Ebay Sales"
is now available for immediate download.
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