Main Line Homes Blog


What you can learn from going to yard sales?

What you can learn from going to yard sales?

This post was inspired by Sharon Tara's post. Trudy and I love going to yard sales. You one never know what you are going to find and two what you will be able to buy even if you find something good.

For example, Trudy went out to a yard sale on Friday morning she saw advertised. Well there was nothing at the yard sale, but across the road sat two wicker chairs with a sign on them saying FREE. We both love FREE. Sometimes you have to look elsewhere. She walked up the driveway and rang the door bell and indicated she was interested in the two wicker chairs. The lady in the house said I have another one as well, a rocker. I got the phone call, but was showing a home, so Trudy went and borrowed a van from a friend as she could not fit them all in her car. I get home and find her chipping paint off the chairs and a rocker sitting in our sun room.

Wicker chairLet me back up a little here and tell you where this current phase started. last year there was a big yard sale in a big Main Line home. Sitting in the yard was this gorgeous wicker chair, painted a bright blue. Asking price $10, we offered $5 and settled on $6. We got it home and did a little research. It was an old, Bar Harbor chair and dated from around 1950. It was worth quite a bit. It is Trudy's favorite chair.

These three wicker chairs were similar, one is probably old like the previous one, but needs some care and attention. They all need repainting. But like the other they are worth quite a bit of money.

Now, every yard sale is not like that, sometimes you turn up and the offerings are quite ordinary and the prices quite extraordinary. We quickly move on. Other times you turn up and the seller is motivated, their prices are attractive and people are buying left and right. They usually have a free pile as well, they just want this stuff gone. These are the yard sales we love, you can often find something to buy.

As a past antiques dealer I am always on the lookout for something good, sometimes I find it, often I don't but the hunt is part of the fun. You just never know what you are going to find.

Real estate can be a little like that, you never know what you are going to find, sometimes you have to look elsewhere, and if you do whether you will be able to buy it, but the hunt can be a lot of the fun. If you need help, let us know,we will happily help you.

If you are buying or selling on or around Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line we can help you,  contact us or connect

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Comment balloon 37 commentsNick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 • July 28 2014 01:10PM


I like stopping by yard/garage/estate sales as well. I don't really look for anything specific, but sometimes I do find 'treasures':) I also like discounted stores for interior decoration and antique stores:)

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) almost 5 years ago

Nick and Trudy, they are fun going to and if you are serious about them you scour the print ad for what is attractive and get there at the start.  Lots of finds out there and that is the fun.

Posted by Sharon & Bruce Walter, West Lafayette homes for sale (Keller Williams Realty Lafayette, IN) almost 5 years ago

Nick & Trudy: Very nice segue to real estate...and all very true. Sometimes, the next seal is not where we normally expect it to be found. Thanks!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) almost 5 years ago

Hi Nick & Trudy, I read Sharon's post as well and I love yard sales. I dedicate most Saturday mornings to a few hours of perusing. Owning rental property, it never fails that I find a storm door, new windows, a wheelbarrow (some of the things I just priced at Lowe's) for a fraction of the price. How many times do we set up showings for our clients based on their criteria, and it's the property that you included as a wildcard they end up buying. Nice post.

Posted by Debbie Malone, From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369 (Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management) almost 5 years ago

Thank you for the mention and the link to my post!  Great find with those chairs

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) almost 5 years ago

It certainly never hurts to look.  I enjoy yard sales and searching for hidden gems as well.  Looks like you & Trudy have a knack for finding them!

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) almost 5 years ago

Inna, the fun is never knowing what you are going to see and find.

Sharon and Bruce, Trudy is the planner, I tag along

Norman you never know with real estate where the next deal is coming from, it is often a surprise.

Debbie, very true, Trudy is a gardener and always looking for tools for the yard, much cheaper at a yard sale.

Sharon, thanks, nice post yourself and yes we love these chairs, very comfortable to sit in.

John, thanks, we do turn things up, all about knowing prices and knowing what you like.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

Nick & Trudy- A friend of mine goes every Saturday when she's at the shore.  It helps to know what you're looking at too.   I love it because it's like going fishing... half the fun is the search. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 5 years ago

I just love yard sales - finding those little nuggets is truly rewarding sometimes. Also, they may be indicators for realtors that homeowners are getting ready to put their home on on the market.

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Kathy, very true it does help to know what you are looking for. My previous career was as an antique delaer, I have been on Antiques Roadshow as an appraiser so I tend to be quite fast going round yard sales. WhenI was a kid it always amazed me my Dad, who was also an antiques dealer, would be driving along and come to a screeching halt and run back to a shop because of something that caught his eye.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

Very true Olga.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

My wife and I are always on the look out for yard sales. My will end tables and refinish. This is a great hobby and time passer. I seem to run into other agents and find information on the home. 

Posted by Frank Rubi, (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) almost 5 years ago

How nice to find a diamond in the rough.  I love when things like this happen.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) almost 5 years ago

Love your analogy!  I too love finding vintage treasures.  And you have to be patient with a good eye!

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) almost 5 years ago
It is always nice to find value in something else similar does not. True with houses as well
Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

I just got back in from checking out some yards sales and a fantastic thrift store here in Sylva, NC.  It actually gets hard to pay full retail for new!  Good work on those chairs, what a wonderful find.

Posted by Mona Gersky, GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate. (MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC) almost 5 years ago

I am a garage sale junkie and to me it is my therapy...

I once bought the house at the garage sale.

What is most interesting is all the brand new, still in a box unopened stuff there is...


Posted by Mike & Eve Alexander, Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers (Buyers Broker of Florida ) almost 5 years ago

Yard sales showed me sales psychology and about needs and wants of people in a very concrete way.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) almost 5 years ago

There was a time I hit the yard sales every weekend. Some were great, some were junk. Another person's junk is another person's treasure...

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 5 years ago

That was a good find!  And I love wicker lawn furniture too!   Love your analogy here . . . 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 5 years ago

Mona, thanks we love them as well, very comfortable

Eve we went to a sale several weeks ago and this great classic car was sitting there bright purple.

Laura, there is a lot of psychology there, sometime you wonder if people really want to sell or just hang on to stuff. Sometimes like they list a home. we'll sell but only at this price.

Gary, exactly. I have seen wonderful paintings in peoples trash put into auction make several tens of thousands of dollars.

Carla, thanks, these wicker chairs are just so comfortable, our cats like them as well.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

I'm not much of a bargain hunter at yard sales. A few years back, I sold most of my belongings in a yard sale to live in an RV for a year. I've resisted the temptation to to bring too much stuff back into my life. I keep it simple and that seems to work for me. Although, I love watching shows of people who find great deals at these events.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) almost 5 years ago

Tammie, Trudy is a big proponent of shedding things. Whilst we like to yard sale we hold one almost every year. Our sons know well from a young age the feeling of coming home and looking for things, asking where they are only to be told, I got rid of that or sold it. I sometimes think if I didnt keep moving I too might be put up for sale in a yard sale.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

Nick & trudy, I really expected to find a list of suggestions on marketing to people having garage sales to see if they were moving and if they needed to sell their home to move and most importantly, are you working with a real estate agent...

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

Coming from a family that loved antiques and made a good living from it, I have to agree.  You never know what you will find.  The hunt is the fun part.

Real Estate is so like this.  You never know when you will stumble upon a real gem.

Posted by Rose Mary Justice, Synergy Realty Pros (Synergy Realty Pros) almost 5 years ago

Evelyn, sorry, hope you weren't too disapointed.

Rose Mary, exactly, you just never know what is going to turn up in a yard sale or in real estate.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

It is so amazing to me how one man's junk is another's treasure.  So true with homes too.

Posted by Barb Hutchinson, Fruitland Idaho - Payette County homes and real estate, (Silverhawk Realty) almost 5 years ago

I have to admit, I've never been to a yard sale. I hear all these stories about those great finds, but somehow can't get over the idea that it's just a lot of stuff no one wants.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) almost 5 years ago
Nina, there often is weekends we buy nothing, just like showing houses, sometimes nothing connects with your buyer. Barb you are right, we have buyers who buy a house we would never consider and are very happy.
Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

I love yard sales as well. You truly don't know what you'll find. I used to go without a purpose and found myself just "collecting" things that I usually threw or gave away later. Now I usually go with a particular item or two in mind and if I find another treasure at a great price, I usually get it.

Posted by Bernadine Hunter, SFR, ACRE, "Finding Solution to Your Real Estate Needs" (Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty) almost 5 years ago

I stopped going to yard sales and garage sales when I discovered estate sales. The "hunt" is the fun part.

Posted by Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417, Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate (United Real Estate) almost 5 years ago

One can find all manner of goods at a yard sale. The saying 'One person's trash is another person's treasure ' does have real meaning

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 5 years ago

Bernadine, Trudy often has a few things she is looking for, I go with more of an open mind as you just never know what you will find, often nothing, but you just never know.

Lorrie, I have not had as much success as estate sales, but will stop by an auction.

Ed, absolutely, if we all liked the same thing our homes would be pretty sterile and there would be no fun going anywhere. I am often amazed how someone uses something as decoration. Maybe why Pinterest is such a hit.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

My favorite part of yard sales is the haggling over price.

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) almost 5 years ago

I enjoy a GOOD yard sale, but it seems they are few and far between these days. Mostly folks are getting rid of items nobody wants. We had a yard sale last year and it was exhausting! I've decided that I'll shop at Goodwill for my "sale" items and I'll dontate my unwanted items to them too!

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) almost 5 years ago

Sybil, that is where our negotiation skills come in.

Donna, we have goodwill here as well but sometimes you can actually do better driving round on trash day...

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 5 years ago

Living with a garage sale queen I understand the concept. Love it that the 1950's chair is worth alot BUT only when you sell it. Still have a garage and warehouse full of bargains. PS My wife finally figured it out. She is still the garage sale queen but with stuff leaving our driveway and The Harvest House donations.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 4 years ago

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