1) The most popular items sold today at most yard sales are practical items, appliances and memorabilia like movie posters from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Check eBay to see how much they’re worth.
2) Know your sizes. Don’t buy a piece of furniture that you take home and it doesn’t fit in the area intended. Bring a tape measure.
3) You may never find valuable original art, but few people know that solid, detailed frames can be worth a lot. Ebay’s web site gives helpful guidelines on what to look for.
4) Old kitchenware from the 1920’s and 1930’s is highly undervalued. According to Reyne Hirsch, former appraiser for the Antiques Roadshow: “A lot of it is vintage stuff that didn’t cost much but is better quality than what you could buy new today.”
5) Moving sales are better because the goods tend to be newer. Neighborhoods with old homes are preferable for those hunting for antiques. Yardsalesearch.com gives extensive listings all over the U.S.
6) Looking to make a major antique purchase but aren’t sure of its value? There is a fee, but valuemystuff.com is a popular and reputable site that will give you an accurate estimate within 48 hours.
7) Battery-powered electronics are a common returned item because they don’t work. Test before buying. If necessary, bring your own batteries.
8) Old costume jewelry is highly undervalued and has often sold for big bucks. Make sure they are not chipped and the settings and clasps are firm.
9) Heavy or bulky items such as bikes or gardening tools are usually cheaper at a yard sale than on eBay because of shipping costs.
10) Never buy mattresses or upholstered furniture. Think bed bugs. Be careful buying old baby car seats or cribs. Safety standards change constantly. A complete rundown of current safety standards on baby and toddler items can be found on the web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Sarah Max, “How To Spot A Yard Sale Deal”, Money, July 2012
Photo: ChristianMontone (flickr)