How to Have a Safe & Profitable Yard Sale
With the onset of summer in the air, you may think that it is the perfect time to dust off those unwanted items and have a yard sale. A yard sale is a great way to make a little money and recycle, but you need to have a plan so the sale can run smoothly.
Here are a few tips for you to consider before you start posting signs throughout the neighborhood.
What should you sell?
Consider selling items that you would never miss or cause unnecessary clutter in your home. Great items to sell are safe children’s toys or clothes, books, kitchen items, furniture or household items. This is the time of year when college freshmen are hunting for items they will need for their dorms or apartments.
Is there anything I shouldn’t sell?
You should be cautious about selling anything relating to small children and safety, like car seats, helmets, etc. These items are constantly being updated so you would never want to sell a car seat that, unbeknownst to you was recalled years ago, and would not serve the intended purpose. Many of these items cannot even be donated to charitable organizations as they fear the liability stemming from them. That is a flag that you should be wary too.
You should also be cautious about selling electronic/computer devices that have personal information on it. The data alone could be worth a small fortune to a criminal, so be sure that the hard drive is erased along with any other documents or data saved on the device.
When should I hold my yard sale?
Saturdays are typically better than Sundays. You need to be “open” by 8:00 am as this is when the bargain hunters are out. The mentality is that the early bird gets the worm and the serious shoppers want those worms.
Also be sure that you post specific hours for your yard sale. You don’t want people showing up at 6:00 am while you are in your slippers, but you also don’t want them around at 6:00 pm during dinner.
How much should I price my items?
If your items are between being sold and the dump, price low. If it will cost you money to get rid of an item, like an air conditioner or television, also price the item below market value. If you have no idea, do a little research on line on E-Bay or Craig’s List.
If your intent is to make money and you have quality items, start out at around 10% of what an item would cost new and be prepared to bargain down. If you really want to move items, try bundling items together or slash your prices for the last few hours of your yard sale.
If you have antiques, get appraisals before you sell. You would hate to be watching the Antique Roadshow and see an item you sold for $10 valued at $10,000.
What about safety?
- Make sure items are displayed on stable tables
- Make sure there is no clutter on the ground or tripping hazards
- Do not sell anything exceptionally dangerous like guns, swords, chemicals, etc.
- Keep all sharp items out of reach of children
- Keep pets inside at all times
- If the weather is hot, have water available
Will my NH Homeowners or renters insurance cover me during my yard sale?
Most NH homeowners insurance policies will most likely cover the liability from a yard sale; however what is the regularity of your yard sale? If you have one or two a year, it is probably not a problem. If you have “regular” yard sales that can be a problem. Most homeowner insurance policies specifically exclude any personal liability and medical payments to others in connection with a business engaged in by an insured.
As it would be up to the insurance company to determine if you were conducting your yard sale as a business, I would strongly suggest that you call your insurance agent and have them get permission from your insurance company. You don't want a $50 profit on a yard sale to end up costing you thousands in the end. It is certainly not worth it.
You also want to consider if you sell other people’s items or if you make any items yourself (including baked goods). These activities can be deemed a business, in which you may need additional insurance.
Final Yard Sale Thoughts-
A yard sale can be fun, profitable and a great way to meet people, but it is work.
If it all seems like a lot of risk for the return, consider donating your items to the Salvation Army or another local charity. Your tax write-off may be worth what you would have gained at your yard sale.