Top Tips for Haggling and Bargain Hunting

Bargain-hunting pros share their expertise on the customary way to do business at a yard sale.

Haggling

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Haggling is the friendly art of negotiating on price, and it is the customary way of doing business at the large venues such as the Endless Yard Sale. Follow these tips from the yard-sale pros:

  • Let the vendor name the first price, and then start haggling from there.
  • Respect the vendor's effort. The item may be the vendor's personal favorite, or it may have been very difficult to transport to the yard sale.
  • Don't start too low. Asking for 50 percent off can backfire by insulting the vendor. To be safe, try starting at 70 percent.
  • The more you buy, the more you save. Vendors are more likely to give steep discounts on volume purchases than on single items.
  • No matter what, be polite.

Bargain Hunting

Want a great bargain? Think strategically, following this handy advice:

  • Make a list of what you are looking for and prioritize it. The sheer volume of stuff for sale can be overwhelming, so you will need to stay focused.
  • Become an expert on what you want to buy. Who are the reputable manufacturers? Make sure you can tell the difference between the genuine article and a knockoff.
  • Do your research before the event. Know what similar items are going for on eBay or Craigslist.
  • Decide whether you are buying for your personal enjoyment or for resale. If the idea is just to enjoy it, it might be worth a little more to you than an item you see solely as a business transaction.
  • If you are looking at an item to put into use in your home — a record player or microwave, for example — make sure it works before you lay down the cash.
  • If you don't see what you want, ask a vendor. Vendors can tell you about items you might not have seen, and they often know what their neighbor vendors are selling.
  • The final day of the yard sale is the time for the best bargains. You can get a lot for half off or more because vendors don't want to load up the trucks for the round trip. To that end, the bigger the item, the better chance you have for negotiating a good price on the sale's last day. Because big items take the most effort and storage space to pack up, vendors are motivated to unload them.
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