It's that time of year again...I go sailing every weekend.
I'm not sailing on water, I'm cruising the streets of New Hampshire.
I am a pirate of sorts, searching for treasure.
I venture off each Saturday morning on my quest for treasures at local yard sales. It used to be just a passion, purely for fun. Now that I am a professional home stager it is more than just fun, it is my business.
I find many brand new or like new home staging accessories at very low prices.
In addition to having yard sale experience as a buyer, I have had many years of experience having yard sales and after commenting on a post by Audrey Hoffman, where she asked for yard sale advice, I decided that I had enough information for my own post.
If you, or a real estate client of yours, are planning on having a sale, 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 daily paper. Most salers use this as their source.
Highlight any big ticket items. (collections, furniture, antiques, appliances, tools, dolls, books, records...)
Multi-Family sales or "first time" sales are a big hit and 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 don't usually put the number of my house in the ad, only the Street name. That way the dealers can't show up the day before. Just make sure the house is clearly identified when you open.
I usually only list a start time, no end time. That way you can end whenever you feel like it.
If you don't want anyone there before the start time, make sure you state No Early Birds. Understand, though that some people will still come early. If you don't state "No Early Birds," plan on people arriving very, very early. If you advertise for a start of 8 am, you could have people there as early as 6:30. You can only have actual control of the start time if you have control over letting them in, (gate, door, or roped off area)
Regarding the sale:
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.
Have big, easy-to-read-from-a-distance signs at both ends of the road. Make sure signs can withstand weather if rain is a possibility. (8.5 x 11 sheets of paper taped to a telephone pole are not good enough.) Always remove signs after the sale is over.
The better the presentation, the more valuable the items for sale will appear. (organizing stuff into sections...housewares, holiday, toys, tools, books, etc. is helpful) I always have a "Free" box or area and add to it throughout the sale.
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.
Prepare yourself to bargain. Most people want it for less than you price it. Clearly mark anything that is not for sale.
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 view or inside zip lock bags.
If you have a lot of electrical items, have an extension cord available to prove that they work.
If you don't want people driving on your driveway, you need to block the entrance with your car.
At the end of the sale we always put any leftover items by the street with a big "free" sign and we go out to eat. Never fails, when we return it is all gone.
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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