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Tips for savvy yard sale shopping

Consumer Reports News: August 19, 2011 05:08 PM

If you plan to peruse your neighborhood garage and yard sales in search of a great find, there are some yard-sale specific shopping strategies you might want to keep in mind. recently cataloged some such tips from several shopping experts, and we have included a few here, as well as our own advice for how best to be an informed shopper at the end-of-summer yard sales.

Yard sale buying strategies compiled by Bankrate:

  • Research brands and values online, if you can, from your phone or other similar device with Internet access. You can see if certain items are up for sale on sites like Amazon, Craigslist or eBay, and find out how much they are going for online. You can either use this as a bargaining tool, or just for comparison's sake to see if the item you are considering at the yard sale is reasonably priced.
  • If possible, test anything with working parts like a lamp or an electronics item, to make sure you get what you pay for. The seller may not have actually tested it before sticking a price tag on it, and regardless it's always a good idea to fully vet your purchases anyway, even if the seller tells you it is in working order.
  • Arrive early, but also make late-day rounds as well. The best finds might come in the morning, before the selection is too picked over, but the best deals may come at the end of the day, when sale organizers are more likely to just want to see their inventory gone, and therefore willing to take half or more off the price. Other tips compiled by Bankrate include keeping a list of what you’ve seen at what price, and always remember to haggle.

Final tip for smart yard sale shopping:
This last tip is an important one and straight from our safety experts here at Consumer Reports: Be aware of safety issues and recalls that can affect products you’re looking to purchase. You don't want to end up with a recalled item that is a safety hazard to you or your children. We recently reported on products you should avoid buying used, including bike helmets, cribs and car seats.

Got any good strategies for yard sale perusing that you would like to pass along?

7 tips on castoff collecting at yard sales []

Maggie Shader

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