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Sunday, October 5, 2014

How to Price Garage Sale Items?

Busy Bee Moving and Estate Sales in Nashville, Ten.
As an estate sales company we are faced with pricing thousands of items each week in a short amount of time.  I am often asked how we do it.  Ninety percent of the items we price are items we have priced in previous sales and knowing current prices of items as well as experience with going to neighborhood garage sales helps with pricing your own. 
If you do not frequent yard sales or thrift stores then ask someone to help you that does.  Remember, you want to sell something in 2 days so it should be significantly less than what you paid for it new, even if it is new in the box.  Clothing prices should be about 1/3rd less than that of Goodwill.  Glassware and toys that are clean and in good condition will bring more than the contrary.  You can price clothing on a sign that itemizes tops, etc. as one price but will not bring as much as if you price them separately.  Price large pieces of furniture significantly less as the common complaint is that customers do not have a way of moving it.  Price furniture sets separately and give discounts if they want to buy more than one piece.

Appraising rare or antique items can be done easily now on the internet. is a good resource but make sure you are looking under the SOLD section.  Other apps such as are also excellent for researching collectibles as they will go back several years of online auctions.  For large items that would not generally sell well on Ebay due to shipping cost, your local Craigslist would give you an idea of what that item might sell for.  Although doesn't give you the sold price, it will give you an idea of an asking price if you compare several ads.
Pricing too high because you are unsure of a reasonable set price, may sticker shock your customers and turn them away.  However, pricing a little high but announcing to your customers that you are flexible will open up negotiation with your customers.
As the day winds down you may want to post a percentage off for the sale to encourage sales or mark down items that no one has shown interest in.
I went to a garage sale this week that obviously didn't do enough research.  They had some Fostoria pieces they had way overpriced as well as a few other pieces of glass that they knew were collectibles but almost gave away some pottery pieces such as Weller and Roseville they didn't know was worth more than the Fostoria.  With the amount of antiques they had, it would have paid them to have had a dealer come in and help appraise.
If you have attempted to sell it online or Craigslist, don't expect it to sell for the same price at a garage sale.  Also, set aside your thoughts of what you paid for it or nostalgic value as that is not an indicator of fair market value.  Fair market value is what a customer will give you for an item on that given day.

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