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The Five: Spotting garage sale treasures and reselling them

January 20, 2013|By Scott J. Wilson
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  (Genaro Molina, Los Angeles…)

Can you make money buying hidden treasures at yard and garage sales, then reselling them? The experts say you can, but don't expect it to be easy. Some advice from the pros:

•Focus on a particular type of item. "Start with something you really like and have a strong interest in," recommended Aaron LaPedis, author of "The Garage Sale Millionaire." "This will ensure that the treasure-hunting process will be much more fulfilling, as well as more profitable for you." Research your specialty to see which items are most in demand.

•Check newspapers and Craigslist for sales listings, looking especially for neighborhood-wide sales where you can shop at multiple sites in a small area. "Plan your route to visit sales close together," advised Karen Harden, author of "Treasure Hunters' Guide to Yard Sales." "You do not want to run all over town backtracking and covering the same area over and over."

•Consider the neighborhood. "If it's a newer neighborhood with families, keep in mind the items for sale will be different than what you may find at a retirement community for empty-nesters," noted Lynda Hammond, the "Garage Sale Gal" of garagesalegal.com "So if you're looking for toys, go to the family sales. Is it antiques you're interested in? Check out older, more established areas and retirement communities."

•Shop early — or late. "If you want the best selection you have to get there before anyone else," Hammond said. "I've gone to sales at 7 a.m., asked for specific items and was told 'I just sold that.'" On the other hand, to get bargains, consider arriving late in the day, when homeowners just want to get rid of things, Harden said.

•When evaluating an item, consider condition, packaging and rarity, but don't assume something's valuable just because it's old. "Age is not the primary determining factor in assessing a collectible's level of value," LaPedis said.

scott.wilson@latimes.com

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