Garage and Yard Sales, the answer to finding bargains

Our trip to Timbercreek Development on SR 301 took several hundreds cars (and occupants) from Amelia Island out to a residential neighborhood they would have never gone to without this Neighborhood Yard Sale as a trigger.

garage-sale

Garage Sales for bargain hunters

Saturday mornings are usually filled with quality time between my wife and I dedicating the early hours scanning through garage and yard sales in the area. As many of us are slowly winding down from a couple of decades of abundant buying sprees, often collecting merchandise that still has the store tags on them, weekend garage sales, moving sales and yard sales signs have become as abundant as for rent and for sale signs. People are looking to make a little cash out of stuff they bought mostly because it was “nice” to have and credit cards carried an easy seduction.

Now that times have changed a “tad”, the tide has turned and people wonder how they can get rid of a lot of this stuff. Last weekend my wife took me to a community yard sale in the Timbercreek Development west of I-95 on SR 301. As a rule we hardly ever leave Amelia Island for sales in the boonies, mostly because you can go down a road like Blackrock Road for 20 minutes chasing an advertised yard sale and never find it. Except however, when it comes to organized neighborhood sales. Then we’ll be there.

Garage sales are nothing new and have been as common on any Saturday morning as cartoons. They are typically held by one family during the morning hours operating out of their garage or driveway where items that the family no longer wants or needs are offered and sold at great deals to others. A typical garage sale last for 3-6 hours and the goal is to not only make extra money, but to also clean out closets and rooms that are stuffed with a variety of things we once couldn’t live without, but now need to be removed from the home as undesirable or in the current economy as something that may get some money back in the pocket. It also gives us a potential chance to better organize the house and to make more room for new “things” that are surely going to take their place.

There is no permit needed for a family to host a garage sale out of their home, nor is there a need to charge sales tax. These types of sales are exercised freely on a regular basis all over the country, with the exception of one group of homeowners, the ones that live in gated communities and deed restricted developments. They need their association’s approval.

Several of our friends and partners happen to live in some of these McMansion Parks and have never given much thought to the rules and regulations that prohibit them from having garage sales at individual homes.

However the statutes usually allow homeowners semi-annual garage sales centrally located at the clubhouse facilities. In a discussion with my partner Jamie we discovered a great home based business opportunity for an enterprising individual, because trying to manage more than two households coming together in one sale, is nearly impossible, let alone trying to get the entire development to choose a Saturday, put in the common effort, show up at 6am and allow absolute strangers to rummage through your stuff. Having an independent person specialized in this type of event planning would be a welcome solution.

He or she would be organizing and putting on garage sales for those neighborhoods that are restricted. This would include gaining permission from the property owner’s association for the use of a common area within the development, attending a monthly meeting within the community advising all the homeowners of the event, advertising and promoting the sale and physically running the event. Other services that could be offered are assistance with transportation from the private homes to the sale site, making sales tables available and help with pricing of items to be sold. After-the-sale logistics would include the management of household items to be returned to the owners or arranging the items to be donated and transported to a charity of their choice.

Compensation for this service would work something along the lines of a flat fee for each family to enter the sale, but most importantly and this is why I bring this story to the forefront, it could be made part of a developer’s advertising and marketing budget in these economic times. WHY?

Well our trip to Timbercreek Development last week on SR 301 took a caravanserai of several hundreds of cars (and occupants) from Amelia Island out to a residential neighborhood with units for sale which they would have never gone to without this Neighborhood Sale as a trigger.

If I would have been the developer/financer of that neighborhood I would have gladly paid someone $1,000 or more to bring this type of traffic through the neighborhood. The makes and models of vehicles that we saw hunting the sale should be a clear indication that it would be very ignorant to assume these folks were cheap bargain hunters who could never afford to buy a property in Timbercreek. I know. My wife and I see a lot of the same “hunters” every Saturday morning. It’s a sport and a social event even though we often spent a couple of hundred dollars on bargains every weekend. Just imagine how many potential neighbors we would already have met on this Saturday morning event.

Again if I were a developer looking for qualified traffic, a regularly sponsored Yard Sale Event would be one great way to attract potential buyers. I would also kick my marketing department in gear and let them pull out all stops on those Saturday mornings. A well advertised model home with the right incentive program would have gotten some real attention at Timbercreek, oh well, maybe next time.

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2 Comments

  1. tommylee

    Garage and Yard sales are becoming also a more common sight in the Caribbean. This phenomenon was simply unheard of in the past. You would see classifieds in the newspaper from people leaving the island and selling off their belongings but never as a garage or yard sale. Now the tides have turned and economic times have brought on hardship for some, people that are not going anywhere are organizing garage sales. I guess pride only goes until the stomach can't take it anymore.

    Yet, and this is quite peculiar, construction is still going at a high pace. Returning to St. Maarten after 2 months absence I see new constructions going on left, right and center. I still wonder where the money is coming from. Maybe the Market Man can enlighten us on this.

  2. tommylee

    Garage and Yard sales are becoming also a more common sight in the Caribbean. This phenomenon was simply unheard of in the past. You would see classifieds in the newspaper from people leaving the island and selling off their belongings but never as a garage or yard sale. Now the tides have turned and economic times have brought on hardship for some, people that are not going anywhere are organizing garage sales. I guess pride only goes until the stomach can't take it anymore.

    Yet, and this is quite peculiar, construction is still going at a high pace. Returning to St. Maarten after 2 months absence I see new constructions going on left, right and center. I still wonder where the money is coming from. Maybe the Market Man can enlighten us on this.

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