I know this sounds heartless but, tough economic times are great for collector’s because while many folks are effected by a down turn in the economy and some are literally forced to sell-off their precious collectibles just to make ends meet, collectors are out buying up the rare and hard-to-find items, sometimes for pennies on the dollar!
I have seen more garage sales and parking lot sales this past year then ever before and these sales are going on 7 days a week instead of the typical Friday-Sunday as many folks are unemployed so they mize as well hold a garage sale during the week. In some areas folks are hauling their items down to empty parking lots on busy streets and standing out there selling their items.
I have also heard the stories of elderly and retired folks that were victims of Bernie Madoff and his ponzi scheme and have now been forced to sell-off antiques, jewelry and family heirlooms just to survive and because the economy is in such bad shape they are not able to sell their items at fair market value but rather at bargain prices. All this translates into “It’s a great time to be a collector”.
Here are some tips for bargain-hunting Garage & Estate sales.
• The hunt often begins with taking a good look at the classified section of your local newspaper(s). You can pretty quickly scan the paper for the garage sale section and learn within minutes what is being sold and where. The Internet is also a great resource as many sales are listed on Craigslist and your local “4 sale” websites.
• Try to get to the sale before the sale starts and ask if you can look around- most people don’t mind and this ensures you are getting “first pick” at items.
• Remember to respect people’s stuff as the items were once owned and loved by them.
• Items are generally “sold as is” so be sure that you are looking the item(s) over very carefully for flaws and damage.
• If you are purchasing clothing, make sure the zippers zip and that all buttons and embellishments are intact.
• Sometimes you can get a better deal if you select multiple items and ask “how much for All this” rather than negotiating on single items.
• Negotiate – its practically expected.
• If you happen to be at a sale where you are very interested in an item, painting, dinnerware set, etc…and the owner does not want to budge on the price, you can leave your contact information and ask that they call you after the sale ends if they haven’t sold the item and they may be more inclined to negotiate with you at the end of the sale.
• If you have access to basements and attics go check it out as this is where many great items and deals can be found. I have heard many stories of incredible finds coming from these areas, be sure to go early though as the more people that look the less items will be left for you as the better stuff will get snatched up.
• Bring a good amount of cash in all ranges as no one is going to accept checks or credit cards.
• Be sure to put empty boxes, bags, and blankets in your vehicle so you can safely transport your items.
Check back, as I will be posting some articles on items I have bought and what they are valued at as well as what they sold for. It will be interesting, I promise!