Garage, yard, or estate sales might not be your preferred locations for finding that special jewel for your South Florida home or for resale on eBay or Craig’s List, but it can happen, especially if you’re prepared, patient, and persistent. Think of such a search as a treasure hunt that well may provide fun (or extra cash) for the family, hone your negotiating skills, present you with a challenge, and even result in the discovery of a “rare” find. 

yard saleConfirmed aficionados of these sales offer the following advice for novices:

  • Be prepared:  Check newspapers, community bulletin boards, curbside signs, and local newspapers for times and locations near your South Florida home.  Use on-line sources to augment this type of information. Map out the most efficient route before you start out.  It is also helpful to be aware of the “going prices” for many items, info you can find on eBay Pulse or Yard Sale Search.  Have a general idea of how much you can afford to spend.  Wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of $1 bills!  Best times to browse: at the very beginning or at the end of the day.
     
  • Know what to buy: 1). Wood furniture that is in good shape and can be rejuvenated with a new coat of paint is nearly always a good bet, yard sales gurus say.  Do consider size in terms of fitting in the perfect spot in your South Florida home and in transporting the item.  2).  With many books selling for $1 or less, yard sales are the perfect place to stock up on beach reads or volumes for resale.  3). High-end clothes can be found if you’re looking in an upscale neighborhood.  Whether you're buying clothes for yourself or for resale purposes, examine them carefully for rips and stains and avoid anything that smells of smoke!  4). “Paintables” are items that can be transformed with paint.  Lamp bases (and yes, even the shades), glass bottles and jars, baskets, and pieces of pottery are all ideal candidates.5).  Young children’s clothing and games for kids of all ages.
     
  • Remember these caveats:  Resist the urge to buy every bargain you see so you don’t overload your own South Florida home.  Avoid upholstered furniture and/or mattresses which may carry bugs. Be wary of used electronic gadgets unless you know what you’re doing. Stay away from bike helmets, child car seats, or cribs which may not meet current safety regulations.

Ready?  Grab your map, your pricing guide, your wallet, and your list of desired treasures.  Set out to have a good time, and Go!