Have you ever spent a Saturday morning going to yard sales? The signs are all around you, but you don't want to drive around aimlessly or waste money buying junk. Here are some tips for making the most of your yard sale shopping spree.
Don't forget the Cash
Yard sales are not like a quick trip to the convenience store. You will need more than just your keys, cell phone and credit card. You need coins and small bills in order to take home the best from a yard sale. Don't ask a yard sale seller to break a $50 bill, it could be the end of your negotiations.
Submitted photo by Dr. Lori
Folks interested in heading to yard sales should remember a few tips to get the best deals, such as bringing coins and small bills along instead of large bills.
Don't sell Everything
Some things aren't supposed to be sold on the front lawn. Don't sell original art or jewelry at yard sales. There are not enough people shopping at a local yard sale to attract high prices. Yard sales are not the place to get big bucks for your heirlooms.
Don't get up Early!
I have made it a lifelong rule that there is no good reason, other than a house fire, to get up before 8 a.m. Don't get up at the crack of dawn to try to beat everyone to a yard sale. You won't miss a thing.
In fact, you can get the best prices around lunchtime, as most yard sale hosts are ready to call it quits. By noon, sellers are exhausted and they don't care what you pay for that Wedgewood cachet pot as long as you take it with you. It is a great time to negotiate or even get stuff for free.
Don't buy Damage
Condition is a key to value. If you pick up a completely tattered linen from a yard sale thinking that it is some fabulous antique Amish quilt, you are probably paying hard-earned money for the same rag that your husband would use to wax the car. Someone else's tattered piece isn't automatically a wonderful antique. Don't fantasize about a yard sale find. If it is in poor condition, leave it on the lawn.
Don't buy Parts
I always say that buying parts is for auto mechanics not yard sale shoppers. Don't buy incomplete sets or games with missing pieces. Buy complete games in their original boxes whenever possible. Instruction booklets increases value by 15 percent.
Don't let it go until you know what it's worth!
As an antiques appraiser with a Ph.D. and decades of market experience, I know that most hosts don't bother to find out what their objects are worth before they schlep them from the attic out to the front lawn. Do your homework and you can go home with some great stuff from your neighbors' yard sale.
- Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author and award-winning TV personality Dr. Lori presents appraisal events nationwide. Dr. Lori is the star appraiser on the hit TV show, "Auction Kings" on Discovery channel. To learn about your antiques, visit www.DrLoriV.comwww.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or call 888-431-1010.