If you get as excited as I do when treasure hunting, you need to be extra wary about your selections. It’s easy to get carried away with a “find” and overlook flaws that diminish value. You may feel rushed because there are other eager shoppers on all sides. Slow down and inspect the merchandise!
Here’s a short guide to help you use your five senses to become a savvy reseller:
Odors are a bane to buyers and can be difficult to remove. Take note when you enter a home and be on guard if you detect mildew or smoke—common culprits that can destroy a desirable item. Airing and washing items can sometimes eliminate smells but this involves time and hassle and may not be satisfactory. Cat urine is particularly difficult to remove and noxious to the nostrils (no offense to felines intended). There is also a rather mysterious odor that tends to creep into the homes of the elderly. If something stinks, trust your instincts and rest assured it will smell even worse when you remove the item from its environment, which often masks much of the smell. Pass on moldy or musty items—these odors spread when stored with pristine inventory.
Listen to the chatter at sales. You may be able to pick up on history of items or gain insight into demand. Some sellers will have expertise to share, so it doesn’t hurt to inquire. Another way you can use your ears is when encountering mechanical items. If you hear something rattling around inside when you give it a gentle shake, you may be dealing with a broken thing-a-ma-jig. You can also improve your purchase decisions by listening to what your gut is telling you. If your inner voice says something is overpriced, negotiate or pass it by. If you’re being too sentimental, check your emotions at the door.
I’m using poetic license to invoke this “sense”—my true meaning refers to aesthetics. Is your taste in line with what’s popular? Are you good at uncovering rare and coveted niche items? The best shoppers have a knack for identifying cool stuff that people want right now. You can’t always predict what will sell, but if you keep an eye on the marketplace, you can improve your ability to spot hot items in high demand.
May fortune favor you as you hone your senses in the exciting field of treasure hunting. Good luck!
Learn about our recent discoveries and what captures our imagination in this blog, then peruse the treasures in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.
Brought to you by...
... Susan Buie, writer by day, vintage curator and co-proprietor of the Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay in all the moments in between.