Staging New Hampshire

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Yard Sales - A Guide to Navigating the High Seas of Weekend Merchandising

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. 

 

yard sale sign

 

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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9 commentsSharon Tara • May 16 2008 01:55PM

Comments

Wow - this is a lot of info for a garage sale.  This is sort of lilke an open house where everything is for sale.

Posted by Adam Brett, The Adam and Eric Team, Setting the New Standard (The Adam and Eric Team) over 6 years ago

Good afternoon Sharon- Great blog on yard sales. I found that when I had them if I just posted lots of directional signs, I didn't need to pay for an ad.

Posted by Pam Joffe (Solaris Realty) over 6 years ago

Hello, Sharon!  Great tips.  Thanks for sharing...  :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) over 6 years ago

Excellent tips Sharon.  I haven't had one for a few years but was always amazed at what people would buy and how much $ we had at the end.  Free stuff is always a good bet too, especially when it's advertised on Craigslist.  Btw, it's true about people stealing small items....this happened to me and the sad thing is, it was a family who went around to all the garage sales and picked up smaller items and pocketed them.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 6 years ago

Adam  It is a lot of info.  It is a lot of work and some people would rather just donate or throw out the stuff.  A good amount of money can be earned if you are willing to put forth the effort.

Pam  It depends on the area.  If you live on a very busy street or area the signs can be enough.  There are a lot of regulars who check the ads and plan their route and you would miss out on them if you didn't do the ad.

Debi  Thanks, hope it was helpful!

Maureen  It's pretty sad when they steal from a yard sale, where the price is so ridiculous to begin with.  I haven't had a sale of my own in 4 years, but I've been involved in at least one a year, helping others.  I enjoy going to them and finding great treasures!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) over 6 years ago

Good tips, Sharon. You may have short enough streets not to need to put in the street number but that wouldn't work here in St Pete - it can take 30 minutes to get from one end of a street to another, and many streets are not continuous - they start and stop several times.

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International) about 6 years ago

Sharon   Oops, I guess that is one thing I didn't take into consideration.  Thanks for pointing that out.  You wouldn't have a very profitable yard sale if no one could find you!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 6 years ago

Sharon, great tips!  What perfect timing, I have some clients that are planning a huge yardsale to downsize into their new home and are really hoping to make enough to help furnish the new house.  I am going to pass on your info to them!  By the way, my mom has been taking me to yard sales since I could walk.  She has always been a collector and now owns an antique store, so between the two of us, it is not uncommon to go home and unload, then head out again!

Posted by Elle Larsen, Sold On Sight Staging, Littleton, CO (Sold On Sight Staging) about 6 years ago

Elle  I'm so glad this can help you out!  I stop at the house and unload many times too!  Thanks for the comment.  Good luck to your clients with the sale.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 6 years ago

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