5 Tips for Spotting Valuables at a Yard Sale
Bring Your Smartphone
If there's one item that you don't want to leave behind when shopping at yard sales, it's your smartphone. Aside from the fact that you may need to call someone, having a smartphone will allow you to price check items on the fly. If you see a vintage guitar, for instance, search for the make and model on eBay. This will give you a better idea of how much the guitar is worth.
Shop During Day One
Ideally, you should shop on the first day of the yard sale, as this will give you access to a wider selection of items. If you wait until the second day, there's a good chance that most of the high-dollar items will have already been purchased by other shoppers. If you notice an upcoming yard sale for Saturday and Sunday, make it a point to go on Saturday, preferably early in the day. Of course, this isn't always an option, in which case you may have to settle for day two or even three. When possible, though, arrive on the first day of the yard sale.
Check for Tools
Don't underestimate the selling value of tools, particularly power tools. They tend to hold their value well, even after being used for several years. This doesn't necessarily mean that all tools are worth buying, but you should certainly inspect them when shopping at a yard sale.
Rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry are all "hot" items at yard sales. Assuming they are made of gold, silver or platinum, they will likely retain most of their original value, in which case you'll have an easy time turning it for a profit. However, you'll want to inspect the jewelry beforehand to determine its weight and fineness.
Look for the Smaller Items
A lot of people have a tendency to focus on larger items at yard sales, such as furniture and televisions. Large items such as these may be valuable, but smaller items often go unnoticed -- and they may actually hold more value than some of the larger items. If you see a collection of old vinyl discs, for instance, take a few minutes to flip through them. Are any of them unopened? Do they have autographs? If so, they could be worth a pretty penny to the right collector.