Dr. Lori's Yard Sale Don'ts

Have you ever spent a Saturday morning going to yard sales? The signs are all around you, but you want to be sure you don’t waste money buying junk or driving around aimlessly. Here are some tips for making the most of your yard sale shopping spree.

First things first: Stick to your budget and don’t let your emotions get in the way of a good decision.

Don’t forget the Cash

Yard sales are not like a quick trip to the convenience store. You will need more than just your keys, cell phone, and credit cards. You will need coins and small bills (and your best negotiating skills) in order to take home the best from a yard sale. Remember, don’t force a yard sale seller to break a $50 dollar bill, it could be the end of your negotiations.

Don’t sell Everything

Some things aren’t supposed to be sold on the front lawn. Don’t sell original art, jewelry, or precious metals at yard sales. These objects need a strong market to reap their true value. There are not enough people shopping at a local yard sale to attract high prices. Yard sales are not the place where you will get big bucks for your heirlooms.

Don’t get up Early!

I have made it a lifelong rule that there is no good reason, other than a house fire, to get up before 8 AM. Plain and simple, don’t get up at the crack of dawn to try to beat everyone to a yard sale. You won’t miss a thing.
In fact, you can get the best prices around lunchtime as most yard sale hosts are ready to call it quits. By 12 noon, sellers are exhausted and they don’t care what you pay for that Wedgewood cachet pot as long as you take it with you. It is a great time to negotiate or even get stuff for free.

Don’t buy Damage

Condition is a key to value. If you pick up a completely tattered linen from a yard sale thinking that it is some great 19th Century quilt made by a group of elderly Amish ladies, you are probably paying hard earned money for the same rag that you’d let your husband use to wax the car. Just because it’s someone else’s tattered piece, doesn’t make it a wonderful antique. Don’t fantasize about a yard sale find. If a yard sale item is in poor condition, leave it on the lawn.

Don’t buy Parts

I always say that buying parts is for auto mechanics not yard sale shoppers. Don’t buy incomplete sets or games with missing pieces at yard sales. Buy objects with all of their original parts and their original boxes whenever possible. Instruction booklets, packaging and original boxes increases the value of a board game by as much as 15 percent.

Don’t let it go until you know…what it’s worth!

As an antiques appraiser with a PhD and decades of market experience, I know that most hosts don’t bother to find out what their objects are worth before they schlep them from the attic out to the front lawn. Do your homework and you can go home with some great stuff from your neighbors’ yard sale.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events nationwide. For information about your antiques, visit www.DrLoriV.com, www.Facebook.com/DoctorLori or call (888) 431-1010.

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