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How to Negotiate at Yard Sales

7 Genius Rules For Negotiating Price at Yard Sales

Part of the fun of shopping secondhand furniture and decor at yard, estate, and garage sales is haggling the price — but, when you negotiate, you walk a fine line between getting a great deal and losing out completely. To make sure you get the goods you want at a price you can afford, we've gathered up the best negotiating tips.

1. Be Polite

Start by being nice! People make the mistake of thinking they have to be tough and mean to get anywhere in negotiations, but this is a scenario where you'll get a lot more with honey than vinegar. So don't be afraid to compliment! Sellers are more willing to work with someone who is polite and shows an appreciation for what they're selling. After all, the seller is usually the original owner, so you have to be cautious that you don't insult them.

2. Gently Point Out Flaws

After demonstrating that you're a polite person who appreciates the items being sold, gently point out any flaws in the item you're negotiating as justification for a price adjustment; for example, highlight a chip in a vase or scratch on the surface of a table before requesting a lower price.

3. Don't Lowball

Offer less than you're willing to pay, but don't offer so much less than asking that you're insulting the seller. This will most likely be met with a hard no — and then negotiations are over. In other words, be reasonable.

4. Focus On Big-Ticket Items

The big savings come from getting a discount on big-ticket items, so don't waste all your bargaining chips knocking a few dollars off small items. You'll actually get more bargaining power if you're willing to pay full price for the small items because you'll have accumulated goodwill when you can ask for a substantial price cut on the expensive pieces.

5. Ask For a Group Discount

Sellers are more willing to work with buyers who take multiple pieces off their hands. So, if you're buying multiple items, it never hurts to as the seller to knock a small percentage off your entire order. Try it! This tip works more than it fails.

6. Carry Exact Change

Thanks to Venmo and Paypal, we live in a world where cash is nearly obsolete; however, yard sales are a situation where you want not only cash, but small bills. Why? Well, it's a lot harder to convince a seller you can't go over $30 for an item when you pull out two $20 bills.

7. Walk Away

If negotiating is getting too intense or you're just not getting the price to a place you can afford, don't be afraid to walk away. Worst case, if you find you're still thinking about the item later that day, you can go back to the sale. If it's still there, the seller will be more willing to come down on price. It's also a good idea to get the seller's contact info before leaving so you can contact them after the sale to see if an item is still available. If it is, you'll likely be able to get it for a fraction of the price.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse
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