A garage sale can be one of the quickest, simplest, and most enjoyable solutions for eliminating household clutter. If you have a well thought out marketing strategy and are well organized, you have the potential of making a decent amount of cash. Here are the top 10 ways to make a garage sale successful.
1. Get the Word Out – If no one knows about the sale, no one will come. Clear signage is the key to getting a lot of drive-by traffic. At Gold Compass Real Estate we offer clients the use of our “Moving Sale” signs to help get people to your sale. You can also put a free ad on sites such as craigslist.com and topyardsales.com. The classified section of the local newspaper if another great place to advertise, but usually it costs a few dollars. Always check with your local with your the government and homeowner’s association to see if there are restrictions on yard sale signs.
2. Date & Time – State a specific start and end time on your advertisements or you will have a perpetual, never-ending yard sale. Early birds will be there right at your starting time – you can bet on it. Also, don’t pick a holiday weekend (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day) to have your sale as many people will be out of town or busy doing activities.
3. Location, Location, Location – If your home is not conducive to a yard sale, it might be worth asking friends and family to borrow their driveway. A yard should be flat, so items don’t so rolling off the tables and there should be ample places for customers to park in the street. Having a location near a busy intersection is ideal for putting up signs and easily directing people to your moving sale.
4. Plan a few Weeks in Advance – It takes time to sort through items, so start accumulating the items you want to sell early. As you accumulate stuff for your sale, make sure you do not sell something that you’ll regret later. Put price stickers on items before the sale, as this will give you time to ponder on the price and you won’t feel rushed the morning of the sale.
5. Clear Pricing – Make sure there are prices on everything and that they are in plain sight. Rule of thumb for Yard Sales – price items about 25% or less what they would cost new. Common priced item tables – “Everything for a $1″, etc. The bigger the item, the bigger the price tag should be. Make it obvious.
6. Merchandising – Arrange CDs/DVDs in a box so the titles can be easily read. Place lawn mowers or power tools and more” interesting” items at the end of the driveway front in plain view of the road to attract someone to stop & see. Put ‘like’ items together just as they would be merchandised together in a retail store. Make sure items are clean and dust-free. For small items, package them together in a ziploc bag and sell as a set or fill a bag with kids clothes and sell for a single set price. It is also helpful to have an extension cord available to test electrical appliances.
7. Team Up – A multi-family yard sale is always more successful than a single family sale because there are more items that will potentially catch the eyes of those driving by. Plus it is easier to divide up the responsibilities rather than trying to do it all on your own. Just remember to keep track of who sold what so you can distribute the profits at the end of the day.
8. Create Ambiance – Just because you’re setting up shop in your front yard doesn’t mean it can’t have the vibe of a classy boutique. Play some nice background music so shoppers aren’t perusing in silence. On a hot day sell ice cold sodas or have your kids run a lemonade stand and sell packaged snacks or your favorite homemade cookies to make some extra cash. Make sure to have a garbage can nearby to keep things tidy.
9. Be Thoughtful about Checkout – Use a cashbox or pocket apron to store the money. Don’t forget to get change to make it easier for when guests are ready to pay. Never except checks as there is high potential for them bouncing and when making change, it is a good practice to leave all the money out on the table, otherwise a customer might say, “I gave you a $20, not a $10″. Keep a ledger of what you sold and for how much. Go the extra step for your customers and wrap-up breakable in newspaper and provide bags for easy transport. As the day winds down, don’t be afraid to lower prices or offer everything half off.
10. Be Friendly – When guests walk-up tell them hello, which makes them more comfortable about standing in your driveway. Customer will tend to ask questions and haggle with you on price, so just be friendly and smile.
Also, remember to put away stuff you don’t want to sell and keep your pets inside your house for their safety and buyers. Wrap up the garage sale by taking down your signs to avoid fines. If you are a client of Gold Compass Real Estate please let us know if you would like to use our “Moving Sale” signs by calling 303-325-5690.
Happy Selling from your Colorado Real Estate Agent!