Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Self Isolation while still making big money on eBay

As mentioned previously, these are unusual times on many levels. I’ll dispatch with the "stay safe” advise. At this point, that goes without saying. Instead, let me stick to what I know best, and what readers come to this page for...flipping stuff for fun and profit! It’s been a tough few month for us flippers. Due to the overall shut down, there’s been absolutely no garage sales or thrift shop trips to accumulate new finds. In my case, I’ve been selling stuff left over from last year's yard sales as well as thrift shops, Facebook finds and things laying around the house. I haven’t exactly had a flood of new items to sell, but I’ve done okay considering the current situation. Let’s go over a few recent sales that have done well.

After a long winter, he’s got a home.
First off, check out this large wood silhouette of a golfer in full swing. I found this guy at a community yard sale last fall in a 55 and older community. This wood golfer stood six feet high and was made out of plywood. As I looked him over, the seller, a very nice little old lady, sheepishly said to me, “ I am embarrassed to tell you what I paid for it.” I took this to mean that she paid a whole lot. Despite overpaying, she was now only asking five dollars for the big guy. My only hesitation was the fact that he was very large and I worried about storing him if he went unsold. But after a little more thought, I decided to buy him anyway. After all, what’s five bucks? A drop in the bucket really. My original concern turned out to be true however. The golfer sat unsold over the winter. Knowing he wasn’t going anywhere until spring, and to protect him from the elements, I stored him in my garden shed. When the weather warmed, my golfer went up on Craigslist where he finally got the attention of a serious golfer. The buyer paid me $25 dollars for him and mounted him to his backyard shed, adjacent to a practice putting green. The buyer even sent me a photo of the golfer in his new home. I had to admit, he looked great! The buyer was happy and I was good with my $20 dollar profit.

German cuckoo clock
Although the yard sales have a dried up due to the Covid-19 shutdown, I recently discovered a “pop-up” sale advertised on my local Facebook yard sale group. The seller was cleaning out his grandmother’s home and had piled tons of stuff out in the driveway. In his FB listing, he indicated that a clean out service was picking up the stuff in a few days, but buyers were welcome to pick through the piles before the big haul out. Due to cabin fever, Mrs. Dude decided to come with me to this unique pop up sale. On the way over, I remarked to her that in my vast and knowledgable experience, pop up sales do not bring out a lot of buyers. I am not sure why? Maybe due to the randomness of them? Either way, when we pulled up, the seller confirmed this theory, telling me we were the only people to show up for his sale. Naturally, nothing gets my juices flowing more then knowing we have a yard sale all to ourselves! Probing through leaf bags and boxes, we found some great stuff and even greater prices. They included a vintage Snowman blowmold, holiday popcorn window decorations, old maps of local towns and a broken German cuckoo clock. After about 30 minutes of searching, we decided to pay up. Our collective cash outlay totaled $17 dollars for everything. The clock, which I paid only one dollar for, immediately went up on eBay. It sold a few days later for $35 dollars, Currently, I have one of the old maps listed on eBay, and it's been bid up to $37 dollars with a few days to go. Overall, the pop up sale was a nice find that will probably net me close to two hundred bucks when all is said and done. Pretty good, considering it was a random find!
Vintage Singer Sewing Machine 

Last, but definitely not least, is this very vintage Singer sewing machine. I found this valuable hunk of iron on a local Facebook
yard sale group. I paid $50 dollars for it. Looking it up on eBay, I discovered these little guys are highly sought after by seamstresses. Even the seller knew she was underpricing it, but just wanted to unload it due to a pressing house move. Fortunatley, I was first to claim the sewing machine on FB. But to my shock and annoyance, instead of private messaging me with her address, the seller listed her home address right on the comment section for anyone to see! This was really a dumb move for several reason. In addition to personal safety issues, anyone could come to her house and steal the machine right off her front porch! (This FB group encourages porch pick up, meaning the item is left on the porch and money left under the welcome mat.) While I had planned to pick up the machine the next day, once she publicized her home address for all the world to see, I decided to not take any chances. I messaged her,  saying I’d be right over to pick up the sewing machine. Barely 30 minute later, and with it getting dark outside, I was at her front door. As we conducted business, she commented that I was getting a really good deal, adding she'd been contacted by many other potential buyers. She further inquired as to what I was going to do with the machine? In these situations I usually put on a poker face. I try to be friendly, but vague as to my intentions. When you get right down to it, it's none of her business anyway. I mean, if on the way home I pulled over and tossed the sewing machine over a bridge, that’s my business, right? But needless to say, I didn’t hurl my sewing machine over any bridge. Nope. Instead, I sold it on eBay for...are your ready? An incredible four hundred dollars! Crazy, but true. That’s the going rate on eBay for these particular Singer sewing machines. So my 30 minute Facebook find turned into a sweet  $350 profit! Knowing the true value of that sewing machine was the whole reason I raced over to the seller's house that night! You have to strike while the iron is hot!

Those are a few of my eBay flips during these crazy times. Some are good, but average, while a few are incredibly awesome. How’s your eBay flipping going? Share your scores in the comment section below.....        

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