If you, or a real estate client of yours, are in need of a yard sale to reduce some of that clutter, here are some of my tried and true tips to make your sale a successful one.
First, some advice on writing your ad:
Place an ad in your local paper. You can also advertise on Craig's List.
Highlight items of interest. (collections, furniture, antiques, appliances, tools, jewelry, baby items and toys, books, records...)
Multi-Family sales or "first time" sales will draw more people. Try to get neighbors to participate...the more families on a street included in the sale, the better.
The phrase "years of accumulation" will attract buyers.
If you plan to have your sale rain or shine...make sure you state that in the ad or list a rain date.
I suggest listing a start time, with no end time. That way you can end when you want to.
If you advertise for a start of 8 am, you could have people there as early as 6:00. If you don't want anyone there before the start time, make sure you state in your ad: No Early Birds. But, understand, some people will still show up early.
I suggest not putting the number of your house in the ad, only the Street name. That way the dealers can't show up the day before and the early birds can't find you. Make sure the house is clearly identified when you do open.
Important Things To Remember:
Get change (ones, fives, and coins) the day before.
Have lots of bags and also old newspaper for wrapping glassware.
It is best to have tables, but plywood over some trash cans or boxes work well. Do what you can to have breakable items up off the ground.
The best case scenario is to set up in the garage, the day before. Have everything in place and prices marked. Have big items by the door, ready to move into the driveway. When you are ready to open for business all you have to do is open the doors, move the big stuff into the driveway, and set out the sign.
Have big, easy-to-read-from-a-distance signs at both ends of the road. Make sure signs are weather resistant. I usually paint on a piece of wood using bright colors. Arrows showing direction are very helpful at intersections.
Always remove your signs when your sale is over.
If you don't want people driving up your driveway, or on your lawn, you need to block the entrance to the driveway.
Clearly mark anything that is not for sale.
Be prepared to bargain. Many people will offer you less than the prices marked.
Have a "FREE" box or area and add to it throughout the sale. It is a guaranteed way of getting rid of stuff.
The better the presentation, the more valuable the items for sale will appear. (organizing stuff into sections...clothing, housewares, holiday, toys, tools, books, etc. is helpful)
Don't keep candles or record albums in direct sun, they melt and warp.
It is best to have items individually marked with a price. Don't group items by price (everything on this table is $1) because the stuff gets moved all around and it gets too hard to keep track of what originated where.
If you have several people working the sale, then only one person should be cashier. People claim to have paid someone else if more than one person is collecting the money.
It is really sad to say, but people steal. Keep small pocketable items in zip lock bags.
If you have a lot of electrical items, have an extension cord available so people can see that they do actually work.
At the end of the sale place leftover items by the street with a big "free" sign and go out to eat. It could all be gone by the time you return home.
Having a yard sale is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun. Make it a festive atmosphere with music and balloons. Have fun with people and enjoy the experience.
It is amazing how much money you can make with a bunch of stuff you no longer need or want!
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