Whether you’re moving into your first home or looking to replace an old, broken-down appliance in your current one, garage sales can be a treasure trove of gently used appliances at much lower prices than those sold at retailers. Before venturing out in search of a good sale in the wee hours of a Saturday morning, consider a few tips and tricks to ensure you make a garage sale purchase with confidence.
Check the Paperwork
Look for appliances that come with warranties and instructions from the original purchase. If those aren’t available, see if any of the paperwork is online. Most retailers make information, such as model number and current price, available online. This can also make it easier for you to do a quick search on your smartphone to reference the appliance’s current retail price.
Do a Demo Run
Be wary of sellers who refuse to demonstrate the appliance. While you may not be able to wait through a whole load of laundry, a power cord should be available to turn the appliance off and on and go through a few functions, at the very least. Don’t see one? Ask.
Respect a Firm Price…
Many sellers advertise their products on Craigslist a few days before the actual sale. If it’s stated that the price is “firm,” don’t bother haggling. That’s the seller’s way of saying, “This is the offer—take it or leave it.” You may come off as rude or unknowledgeable if you ignore their request. Instead, ask if they have a timeline they want to sell by and for a date to check back to see if the price has been lowered.
…But Haggle Smart
If the seller states the price as OBO (or best offer), it’s fair game to name your own price. Always aim lower than what you’re willing to pay to leave some wiggle room. Is the appliance listed at $400 but you’re only willing to pay $300? Start at $250, and the seller will most likely be happy to settle higher than your initial asking price, but lower than the listing price.
Finally, do your homework. There’s plenty of information out there for even a novice appliance shopper to go forth with confidence. Looking for a refrigerator? A good place to inspect is the sealing system around the doors, according to Food Service Warehouse. If the sealing is worn, then the refrigerator is more likely to let warm air in and cool air out. If you’re in the market for a washer, make sure it doesn’t create excessive noise. According to Angie’s List, that could be a sign the machine is off-balance (an easy fix) or the drum or motor may be loose (something best left to a professional).
If you’re looking to worry less about your appliances and prevent spending extra on money repairs, a home protection plan from American Home Shield is something you should consider. It could help protect you against expensive repairs and replacements and give you extra confidence in your home.