How to Be a Savvy Garage Sale Hunter

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Aisle of garage doors

As summer arrives, many homeowners who are eager to declutter their homes often decide to put up garage sales. You can buy a lot of quality items for low prices in a garage sale, from kitchenware and bedding to video games, and you can even buy dining table sets if you’re lucky.

Scoring the best deals is not an easy feat, since you may not be the only one hunting for them. Here are some of the ways to be a better garage sale hunter.

Do prior research

Scoring the best yard sale deals starts at home. Before you head out and drive around looking for a garage sale, you can do some research online. There are websites where you can find the best deals in your area. Some of the sellers who advertise their garage sales on these sites even post photos of their wares for potential buyers to browse. Some of these sites include Garage Sales Tracker, Craigslist, Yard Sale Search, and there are even Facebook groups and pages dedicated to yard sales.

There are a lot of places to look for garage sales offline, as well. Sellers would sometimes advertise through local newspapers. They also post flyers on church bulletin boards, coffee shops and supermarkets to draw potential buyers to their sales.

Time your visit

woman holding a box of things

The prices of items in a garage sale may depend on the time of day. One of the best times to drop by a garage sale is in the morning, just as it is starting. If you are looking for big-ticket items like stereos, TVs, and furniture, you should consider doing your shopping in the first couple of hours because these are likely to be sold by then.

However, sellers tend to lower their prices as the day wears on. Between 11am and 2pm, the prices on items are likely to be reduced by 50% or more. Sellers can be easier to bargain with late in the day as well, as they would not want to pack up their unsold items and return them to their storage. Smaller items, such as books, clothes, and CDs, are usually the best deals around this time.

Learn to negotiate properly

Haggling can be unpleasant, but you can utilize some simple negotiation tactics to score cheaper prices. For one, you might not want to look to fancy, since sellers may jack up their prices if they think you look like you can afford to pay more than their asking price. Striking up a conversation with the seller could make it easier for you to acquire a deal, too. For starters, you could ask them about the item you are interested in, like when and where they got it.

Sellers generally like to sell items off in bulk, so they may give you a discount if you collect the items you are eyeing first and ask how much all of them would cost. It could be awkward to pay with a large bill if you just haggled the price down to a tenth of it, so you should also prepare smaller bills beforehand.

Garage sales may have a lot of enticing items. Before you finalize your purchase, however, try asking yourself first if it is worth buying and if you would have any use for it. There is nothing wrong in getting an item just for fun, but the best way to get the most bang for the buck in a garage sale is to be aware of what you do and do not need.


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