Planning a Successful Yard Sale

You’ve decided to host a yard sale. I’m not sure about you, but for me its an exciting endeavor. But, it’s not as simple as putting signs out and setting your items on your lawn. If you want really want to knock it out of the park, you’ll want to do some preparation.

 

 

Plan and Prepare Early!

It’s best to start collecting items early and store them in bags or boxes until its time to start the journey of pricing. Give yourself plenty of time to collect items and stock up, as many sale-goers are attracted to the larger sales. Also, more options means more opportunities to make money.

 

Date

One of the most important parts of the sale? The date, of course! You want to select your date well in advance to plan around. Weather will always impact turnout, so be sure to consider this when planning.

The date is also important because you will also need to check with your city to see if you will need to purchase a permit or license to host a sale at your home. Looking into this ahead of time will save a headache and potential fees.

 

Location

Now think about your location. Do you have enough space for the amount of items that you would like to sell? If not, you may want to look in to co-hosting a sale with a friend who has more space. Co-hosting  a sale also means more help, more items, and the need for more organization.

 

Tables

Tables. Do you have enough tables? I know I didn’t for my first garage sale. You don’t want items to be too cluttered and you certainly don’t want too many things laying in the grass, so think ahead and ask friends to borrow folding tables if you think you will need them. More space is always better than less.

 

Pricing Your Items

As you collect items, it’s helpful to price as you. When pricing, always ask yourself what you would reasonably pay for this item if you saw it at a yard sale.

On her blog, Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine writes, “I’d rather price something on the low end and have someone actually buy my item, than to have 25 people pick up the item and put I back down on the table because it’s too expensive.”

Also, make sure you write clearly or use pre-made labels that you can pick up from any local hardware store. The price should not be a scavenger hunt or require the customer to ask you for clarification.

For those of you who think you’ll skip the pricing items ahead of time, know that customers often don’t like asking for pricing, and are shy about bartering. They want a hassle-free experience.

 

Advertising for Your Sale

Getting the word out about your sale is crucial.

If you’re a real go-getter, create flyers the week before your sale and hang them around local hotspots like coffee shops and grocery store bulletin boards. Make them clear and bold with all of the necessary information.

If you’re a not quite ambitious enough to make flyers, use of the amazing technology at your fingertips and mention your sale on Facebook or post it to Craigslist. On Craigslist there is an entire section dedicated to garage sales. Remember, pictures always help! If you’ve got items that are higher value, be sure to include photos and mention them specifically in your post.

 

The Day Before Your Sale

The day before your sale will arrive faster than you realize. If you’ve got helpers, consider delegating the tasks mentioned below ahead of time.

Most important, be sure to check the weather for the days that your sale will span over. If you see potential rain, you will want to move items either into the garage or back into the home. While it’s not ideal, you want to preserve your items from the rain as much as possible, and you don’t want all of your marketing efforts to go to waste.

Don’t forget to stop at the bank and get plenty of small bills and coin! You do not want to run out of change in the middle of a sale and remember that most banks aren’t open at all on Sundays.

Try to organize and clean your sale area as much as possible the night before. Sweeping the garage and covering items that are not for sale with a bed sheet will eliminate customer confusion and put focus on the items actually on sale. Setting up tables and laying out whatever items you can will end up saving you time and stress the next morning. While setting up those tables, try to create some sort of organization between toys, clothing, books, etc. If a customer is looking for something specific, then they will be able to pick it out much quicker. Again, double check that all of the items are priced!

Put the kids to work and make signs to stake around the neighborhood that have all of the date and time information with arrows directing potential customers to your sale. Make sure that the writing is clear and the arrows are pointing in the correct direction. Including an address is a great way to ensure folks find their way.

 

The Day of Your Sale

The day you have planned for is finally here!

Be sure to get your neighborhood signs out early in the morning and have everything set up. Before the sale starts, make sure to double check that your doors are locked to the house to detour any opportunists.

You can also get the kids involved and have them set up a lemonade/cookie stand to offer refreshments to customers, for purchase of course.

During the day, keep track of your money by keeping your “cash box” on you and use either a fanny pack or an apron. This will not only provide for more security, but also allow you to more easily assist customers.

With the check out process, set up a wrapping station with bags, boxes and newspaper where customers can wrap their new-found treasures as they feel necessary. This will save time for you and save resources as many people may not find they need a bag or items wrapped. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get rid of all those Amazon boxes that have piled up.

When sales come your way, be sure and be flexible with any offers or negotiations that come your way. As mentioned earlier, it is better to sell something at a lower price rather than to lose out on a sale completely.

 

Post-Sale

Once your sale is complete and you have (hopefully) made plenty of money, you may find yourself with a few items left over. There are a few options that you can chose from if you absolutely do not want to keep said items.

First, you can simply create a FREE sign and make a pile at the end of your driveway, or you can schedule a pick up or drop off items at a local donation center like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

No matter what the outcome our your sale, we hope that you enjoy the excitement that comes with it and have fun.

 

House Hunting

House Hunting: Open Houses

Finding a new home can be a daunting task. Each member of the family has a laundry list of items they’d like and making all of those requests come together in one home can be difficult.  Alas, it’s always possible that perfect house out there!

Thankfully, we have the internet now, which provides amazing ways to see houses available for sale. You can view photos of each room in the home, take virtual tours and many realtors create videos to give you the feeling of walking through the home itself.

Although, that virtual tour isn’t always enough. That’s where open houses come in. They help you better understand the space.  The question is, how do you make the most of going to an open house?  Below, we’ve put together some tips and tricks on how to do that.

 

Finding Open Houses

First, let’s talk about research. Realtor.com has a great search function that can be used to find upcoming open houses in your desired area.  Search by zip code, city or county then select ‘Open House’ within preferences and you instantly have a list of houses that you could visit. The other great thing about this search engine is that it compiles properties from a wide variety of realtors, so there is no need to go from site-to-site to collect all of the information. It’s all in one, easy-to-use spot.

 

Map Your Path

Once you have found several properties that interest you and you’d like to visit in person, create a gameplan. Open houses tend to be on Sundays starting around noon and going until mid-afternoon. Often times, each house is only open for two hours so time management and planning is essential.

Make note of the timing for each house you are interested in, then create a map starting with the house that opens earliest out of your group.  Keep going down the line based on times available and establish how much time you’d like to spend at each location.  If you would like to spend at least a half hour in each, then aim to visit three houses in an afternoon.  Don’t forget to take drive time between locations into account.  Keep in mind, if you miss an open house you can always reach out to the realtor and schedule a private showing.

It’s also a good idea to make note of any questions you have after looking at the homes’ online. If you notice a listing doesn’t have photos of the garage, make a note.

 

Open House Day

Plan in hand, you’re ready to go and find your potential new home! If you have created set times to arrive and leave homes, keep an eye on the time so that you don’t miss out on the other houses you’d like to see.

Make the most of your time at each location. Don’t be shy to asking questions! The realtor is there to help and they are full of information, often times knowing far more than what is published on line.  Trulia has a great list of questions that’s worth checking out.

When visiting each home as a potential buyer you are not obligated to leave any sort of contact information for later. However, if they property catches your eye, be sure to take a card with the realtor’s information. This contact information will come in handy should you have any other further questions and/or you have interest in making an offer.

 

Don’t Forget Etiquette

It’s very easy to get caught up looking at a beautiful home, but make sure that if you want to take any photos you ask the realtor before doing so.  Most times they will say yes, but it is always polite to offer them the option to say no in case the seller has requested no photos.

Also, keep in mind that you are not the only one viewing the home. Any negative comments or notes about the home should be kept to yourself. Sometimes, realtors will wander the house in case visitors have any questions and the last thing they want is to hear negative remarks about their listing. Instead, carry a small notepad with you and make note of any parts of the house that you like or dislike. This will come in handy later once you’ve visited all of the homes and want to discuss.

If there are other groups of buyers in one room, allow them enough time to explore before entering with your group. This is common courtesy that should not be forgotten.

 

Post-Visits

You’re back after your afternoon of viewing potential homes! You’ve got all of your notes and maybe some photos, but what do you do with that information?

First, sort out everything by property and begin reviewing your notes. While you go through all of the information, keep your (family’s) wish list close by for reference. Consider factors like price, upkeep, and location. It will be very hard to find a home with every single feature on your list. Be flexible and prioritize.

If you find yourself with questions about certain properties, reach out to the listing agent directly. If there is a property that you are especially drawn to, set up a follow up private showing. It may just be the home for you.

If you follow the guidelines above, we’re sure you’ll eventually find the home you’re looking for in an stress-free, efficient manner.