Yard Sale Shopping Tips: Buying Furniture
From Chippendale to mid-century modern, finding the gold among the dross take a little know how.
Garage sales, yard sales, estate sales and tag sales. Whatever you call them, they can be a treasure trove of wonderful furniture for your home.
Upscale homes usually offer the highest quality items, especially when it comes to furniture, but don’t let a smaller home in a nice area fool you. They may have just downsized and have some things to offer.
If you see a lot of kids items out for sale, chances are that the sale is being hosted by a younger family with very little furniture to offer. So unless you are looking to furnish a nursery, keep driving.
Some items, such as bookcases and lamps are common finds at yard sales, so don’t be afraid to be aggressive in your negotiations.
Time your shopping to go along with your goals. If you want the best selection of furniture, get to the sale when it opens. If it is a two-day sale, arrive on the first day. For the best price, visit the sale an hour before closing. You’ll be able to negotiate rock-bottom prices on whatever items remain.
Sweep through the sale quickly. If you don’t see anything you like, you’ll have that much more time to visit the next yard sale. While you are lingering over or looking through items that you don’t need, someone else may be snatching up a good deal down the block.
Group items together and don’t be afraid to ask if the seller has any coordinating pieces. You’ll be in a better position to get a bargain when you buy things in a lot.
If you don’t see it, ask. Many times sellers will be happy to run back into the house to see if they have whatever it is you are desiring to buy.
Find the tags and manufacturer marks on yard sale furniture. When you know the designer or maker of the piece, you’ll know the quality and value. Use your smart phone discretely, to look up information as needed.
Look at the bones. If something has got good lines, it might be worth the investment to stain or re-upholster it. That said, avoid furniture that is broken or badly damaged.
Examine the piece for signs of quality, such as dovetail joints and sturdy solid wood construction.
Try out any furniture that you buy. A pretty sofa could wind up being very uncomfortable and that wardrobe with the gorgeous in-lay could have hopelessly weak drawers.
If you are considering redoing a piece of yard sale furniture, factor in the expense of getting it redone, and then use that cost to negotiate for a good yard sale price or to determine if the project is worth doing.
Line up a truck and a friend before you visit the yard sales. You’ll need to have a game plan for bringing your new furniture home. While some sellers may be willing to hold pieces for you, most will not.