How to Negotiate at a Garage Sale

How to Negotiate at a Garage Sale
How to Negotiate at a Garage Sale
How to Negotiate at a Garage Sale
How to Negotiate at a Garage Sale


Garage sales are a win-win. Hosts get the chance to purge their homes of unneeded belongings and make a little money back on their investments, and shoppers get to take home useful, and sometimes novel, new belongings at a low price. One man’s trash becomes another man’s treasure.

However, pricing items for garage sales can be tricky. Often the dollar amount put on a garage sale piece is based on how much the seller values the item in terms of sentimentality or usefulness, which can be very subjective.

How much you, the shopper, are willing to pay is based on how much you think you will value the item. The idea behind negotiating prices is to find a number that makes both parties comfortable.

Here are four things to consider when deciding whether or not to negotiate the price of a piece of garage sale merchandise.

What You Can Actually Afford

If you can afford to pay what the seller is asking and feel that the item is fairly priced, just go ahead and fork it over. But if you really can’t afford to spend the marked price and you feel it could stand to come down a reasonable amount, go ahead and ask. The worst the seller can say is no. If you don’t ask, you leave empty-handed anyway.

How Much You’re Planning to Spend

If you’re planning to buy more than one item, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a discount. You’re helping the seller by taking several things off their hands at one time and ultimately the amount of money they make per hour may be the same or more if you shorten the length of time they have to spend sitting outside while shoppers peruse. Just tell the seller which pieces you are interested in purchasing and ask if they’d be willing to take a lesser amount if you buy it all.

The Time of Day

If it’s late in the day and the sale will be ending soon, sellers would probably prefer to get rid of as much as possible rather than hold out for the right price. After all, most garage sales take place in part because homeowners want to clear up space in their homes and garages. Go ahead and make a reasonable offer. If freeing up space is a real priority, the seller will most likely agree.

How Much is Left for Sale

If the garage sale has been going on for a while and it’s down to slim pickings, you definitely have a bargaining chip. More than likely, the seller would like to get rid of what’s left and wrap things up. Make an offer on the things you want. The seller will tell you what amount they’re comfortable taking, and hopefully the two of you can meet in the middle.

Hopefully, after considering these four points you’ll feel comfortable negotiating for items that you want and need at garage sales this season. Happy hunting!

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