The First Thing I Ever Flipped on eBay 🤦

This was the second time I had been to this estate sale. I'd just watched Gary Vaynerchuk's 2017 Flip Challenge video, and I was ready to go. So I went to the estate sale the first day and browsed what they had to offer. It was mostly tons of old Avon stuff and ceramic figures. I left a little discouraged. I was hoping to find something. I did see a few ceramic cats, but there was no service at this house. So when I got home I searched "ceramic cats." They were selling consistently. But I didn't pay attention to the specifics like size, color, type, etc.

So the next day I went back to the estate sale. The signs said everything was 50% off. Sweet! I'd get a better deal than I would have if I had tried to buy it the day before. I hesitated at first. Then I decided to go for it. I grabbed this 14 inch tall Persian ceramic cat and headed for the check out line. I walked past a family member that was there at the sale and close to my age and she said, "Got yourself a cat, huh?" I'm sure she was wondering why me of all people was buying this cat. Oh well. I said, "Yup!" and walked away.

Ceramic Cat

I figured, if I didn't sell the cat I'd at least have a really epic white elephant gift at Christmas time. To make a long story short, after a few weeks, I accepted an offer on the cat. As it appeared, I was going to make a respectable $12.50 profit. However, I had undershot shipping by quit a bit. It turns out that shipping something large, heavy, and fragile isn't cheap. I ended up going with Fedex Smart Post, the cat arrived safely, and I probably lost $5 when it was all said and done. Two things I gained from this experience were several hard lessons and positive feedback.

What's one reselling lesson you've learned the hard way?

Why I Love Sourcing at Garage Sales

If you're considering getting into reselling, there are many places from which you can source things to sell. My absolute favorite is garage sales! Here's why:

1. Time

I have a full time job and a family so my free time is pretty limited. Sourcing from garage sales allows me to wake up early on Saturday morning, get a couple hours in, and be back home just in time to catch everyone waking up.

2. Thrill

Garage sales are like a treasure hunt. You never know what you're going to find. You find the good, bad, ugly, and straight up strange. Sometimes you can go to a few sales that are complete busts and then hit a really awesome one. I wish I could tell you some sort've formula to follow to always hit good ones but I can't. Here are a couple things I've noticed that might benefit you:

  • If you're familiar enough with your area, you will know what addresses are in what neighborhoods and that might indicate the quality of items that might be there.
  • Don't bank on the items people include in their garage sale listing. They will probably be asking more for those items because they think they are the things people will want most. If you go to one of these sales, pay attention to all the other stuff they have.

3. Price

Garage sales provide a unique opportunity in favor of the buyer: people just want to get rid of their stuff. And if stuff doesn't sell it's likely being donated to the thrift store. So most of the time things are are price very cheaply or you can at least respectively haggle. That means you have the possibility of a larger percentage net profit. Here's a simple real life example of a 2016 US Open hat I bought new without tags at a garage sale:

Sold for 7.52 + $2.67 shipping. 

Minus the 25 cents I paid for the hat.
Minus the 63 cents I paid for the box.
Minus eBay's 8% fee of 60 cents.

Net profit was $6.04 (approximately 2400%). 

You won't always hit that high of a percentage, but garage sales offer the possibility of at least doubling your investment.

4. People

Now, if you're not a people person, I'm sorry. But people are another favorite thing about garage sales. You'll definitely run across some interesting characters at garage sales. On the other hand, networking is networking. Just the other day, I met an older gentleman at an estate sale. I was looking at a VHS rewinder. He told me he had a ton of old VHS tapes and asked if I thought they were still worth anything. I gave him what little knowledge I had on he subject. After chatting for a while he ended up telling me he was a realtor (when he felt like working) and gave me his card. If I really wanted to, I could probably give him a call and either buy his old VHS tapes or at least offer to sell them for him. You never know where a connection you make will lead so don't overlook those at garage sales.

So that's why I love garage sales: time, thrill, price, and people. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when winter comes 😬. What's your favorite place to source?