Garage sale tips for buyers and sellers

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jun 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 16:02:25-04

As the rain finally starts to clear out of southeast Michigan , now is the perfect time to either head to or host a garage sale. Here are a few tips to get the best out of the experience.

For buyers, keep the following in mind:

  • Do your research if you are looking for a specific item. You can look up companies on the Better Business Bureau's website to find the items you are interested in and take note of the average price. That way you will know if you’re paying too much or if you are getting a good deal.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends skipping out on buying used bike helmets, infant cribs and car seats. There’s no way of telling if it has been assembled correctly or if the product may have been involved in an accident in the past and is defective.
  • If you decided to purchase a big ticket item, make sure you get some sort of written receipt from the seller.
  • Make sure to test out electronics before you buy them.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions! Especially if you are buying items with a big price tag.

Here’s how sellers can host a good garage sale:

  • According to Professional Organizer Susan Novara of Livonia, the best time to host a garage sale is Wednesday through Saturday, starting in the morning around 9:00 a.m. and ending around 5:00 p.m.
  • Set the stage for your shoppers, make sure the garage is clean and the items you are selling are clean as well.
  • Keep the safety of shoppers a priority, hide wires that people might trip on and put away any items that could have the potential to fall on someone.
  • Novara suggests taking to Craigslist and posting a series of photos to help increase foot traffic at the sale. Novara makes a post every day showing off a unique item in her garage sale.
  • Pair up with you neighbors to host one big garage sale. If there is more to look at, buyers are more likely to pull over and check it out.
  • Never let people into your home and make sure to keep your doors locked during the garage sale. Another perk of teaming up with other neighbors at the garage sale is there are more eyes to keep a look over the house.
  • Keep an eye out for counterfeit bills, people can purchase a pen to use on bills higher than $20 to detect if it is real or fake money.
  • Don’t store cash in an obvious cash register, instead put bills inside something potential thieves will not recognize. It’s also a good idea to keep large bills inside the house and not outside at a register.