How to Negotiate at a Yard Sale

This article will give you the quick and dirty about how to negotiate at a yard sale to get the best bargains.


  1. Image titled Negotiate at a Yard Sale Step 1
    Make eye contact with the host, offer a brief greeting and smile. Do this when you arrive. This will help you establish a rapport with the host.
  2. Image titled Negotiate at a Yard Sale Step 2
    Browse the inventory. If you see something that catches your eye, then make sure it works (don't forget that you are at a yard sale). Set it down and keep looking, unless you are worried about someone else taking it. If you are worried about the item being taken by another customer, then carry it around with you as you browse for more items.
  3. Image titled Negotiate at a Yard Sale Step 3
    Pick up any other items that you see. Yard sale hosts are ready to get rid of their stuff. The more stuff you buy, the happier they are that they don't have to pack it inside or donate it to a thrift store. It is best to bundle at least three items together.
  4. Image titled Negotiate at a Yard Sale Step 4
    Use the price tags as a starting point. When you make an offer, try to take 50% off of each item you intend to buy.
  5. Image titled Negotiate at a Yard Sale Step 5
    Get out your cash. Psychologically, the sight of cash can make people mentally drool. Bring lots of one-dollar bills with you to the yard sale. Carry around your cash in your hand so that people can see it. After walking up to the host, make eye contact and get read to make an offer.
  6. Image titled Negotiate at a Yard Sale Step 6
    Make an offer. Introduce the items individually. If there are noticeable blemishes on the items, point them out. After you you show everything you have, make the offer. Do not ask, "How much for all of this?" Instead make an offer, such as "How about $__ for everything"? Maintain eye contact and wait. If the host is uncomfortable with the price, don't speak first. Make the host speak.
  7. Image titled Negotiate at a Yard Sale Step 7
    Consider counteroffers. If the host says no, then force the host to make a counter offer. You do not want to bid against yourself. You have set the new negotiating point, the old one they set were the price tags. But you rejected those as soon as you made your offer.
    • If the host adds up the price tags and tells you the price, then you can gently remind him or her that they are hosting a yard sale, and this is not a retail store.
    • You may even ask them what they are going to do with them if they don't sell them. Ask again for a price concession. If the host still won't budge and you don't want to pay full price, then you can leave the host with an offer saying, "Let me leave you my number and if you don't sell them by the end of the day you can call me back and I will buy them when I return."


  • When you make your offer, hand them the amount you state in cash, often times they will take it because you are handing them something and then agree to it even though they were hesitant. Don't be afraid to mix and match items, if they don't go for one offer, then set an item down and make another, or replace it with something else you might like. They are there to sell their stuff so it is ok to mix and match.


  • If it is electronic, try to verify that it works before purchasing. If you can't verify that it works and you still want to try it, pay 10% of their asking price and state, that you are taking a big risk and that is why you are asking for a concession.

Article Info

Categories: Garage and Yard Sales