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Yard Sale Success Strategies

Joanie.Demer

Wealthy neighborhoods are notorious for having some of the best yard sales around town. There’s a reason for that. Yard sales are not a waste of time. You can make money if you know what you’re doing.  There are proven techniques the pros use that can net you hundreds of dollars. A few yard sales each spring and summer might be what you need to help reduce debt or pay rent.

Sell Big Ticket Items

Building a successful yard sale begins with the big ticket items. These are the items that will sell for more than $100. These are also the toughest items to part with sometimes. One or more of these items in your yard sale can generate enough cash to make your yard sale worthwhile. Some examples include:

  • Used car
  • Antiques
  • Dining room set
  • Computer
  • Refrigerator
  • Washer/dryer combo

You may not get the highest price you want, but you can sell big ticket items for a substantial amount. The first trick is to not mark those items at the sale. You’ll also have more wiggle room to negotiate prices. Research what the item sells for on Craigslist.com. Savvy yard sale buyers will have done their research too, and they know what they can get for similar items. If you’re having a two-day yard sale, they’ll research Craigslist first and return the following day. If you list too high, they won’t be interested. A good starting point is a 40% markdown of the item purchased new. If it’s in stellar condition, then you could price it for much more.

Change Neighborhoods if You Have To

The neighborhood where you’re selling can make a difference on the outcome of your yard sales. You’re going to attract larger crowds if you’re in a good location and if buyers perceive that they can land great deals. Whether it’s fair or not, avid yard sale shoppers know to scout middle class or higher income neighborhoods. If you don’t live in one, or if you live in rural area that’s out of reach, then you’re going to have to change neighborhoods. Here are some ideas:

  • Use a church, business or other organization’s parking lot in the neighborhood
  • Ask a friend to use their lawn for one day or more
  • Join a multi-family yard sale in the same neighborhood
  • Sell at community yard sales in the neighborhood

It can be a pain in the neck to transport your items back and forth, especially if you have big ticket items. But the chance of selling your items, and for better prices, is greater if you take this approach. You might also arrange for a charitable organization to pick up remaining items near the close of the yard sale so as not to have to haul back unwanted, unsold goods.

Don’t Clutter the Sale

The last thing you want is for your yard sale to get labeled as a junk sale from buyers glancing at it from afar or doing a quick check at the sale. If you fill it with old clothing, broken toys, equipment that doesn’t work or other distractions, you may lose buyers who don’t have the time or patience to wade through your items. Pretend you’re the owner of a retail outlet and display your things in an organized and attractive way. It may not stay organized for long as buyers rummage through your items, but you can touch it up as the sale progresses. Take advantage of the lawn space and area in the driveway. Spread things out as much as possible for people to move around, while still being able to keep an eye on your items.

Be Wiling to Let Go

Don’t waste your time haggling over 25 cents — you’ll lose focus on the bigger selling items. Don’t waste time with buyers who want to spend $1 at the sale versus buyers who can spend $50 or more. The willingness to let go of items with low value is a proven yard sale success strategy. If you don’t, at the end of the day you might find yourself  stuck with items that will only clutter your home.

Yard sales can be fun and successful. It’s a chance for you to get rid of your items, earn extra cash and meet new people. Stay positive, and enlist the help of your family. Get your kids to sell books, toys and other items so that they learn how to plan and host yard sales.

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