The two questions everyone is asking at an estate sale are: “what is this?” and “what is it worth?” The average buyer at a tag sale event is often faced with guessing if the contents of the home are reasonably priced and if the objects they hope to purchase have any real value.
It used to be that estate sale buyers would come armed with pricing catalogs, books and homemade spreadsheets to attempt to figure out if an item at the tag sale was valued fairly and what would be a reasonable haggle price. This is especially critical if your intention is to re-sell the item in question later, such as with dealers who turn over their goods at retail prices. If they don’t purchase their inventory at a reasonable wholesale cost, then they really aren’t able to make money.
Oftentimes these books and catalogs toted around by buyers were out of date, and the ability to check what an item may have sold for at a recent auction or retail shop was next to impossible unless the shopper had access to professional resources or friends in the business they could tap. If buyers were lucky, the estate sale provided the opportunity to view some of the items in advance so they could cram in as much research as possible before the event o make a more informed decision.
Mobile technology has radically changed the state of estate and tag sales. Even a first-time novice buyer armed with a smartphone or tablet can quickly have access to the most up-to-date value on virtually any object available for purchase. These devices quickly allow a buyer to check the signature on a painting or verify what that stack of vintage PEZ dispensers is currently selling for on eBay. You can research the hallmark on the bottom of a piece of pottery or check the authenticity of an item right on the spot so that you can make an informed decision if you are paying fair market value.
Not only can an iPhone or iPad be useful tools that can assist a buyer in making an educated decision on what to pay for an item, but sellers can also quickly make a call on a good listing price to put on an article. In fact, if your item has a bar code on it, there are even apps that can read the code and tell you exactly what the object is currently selling for at a number of sources. This is ideal when buying or selling books, magazines, and any other item packaged with a ubiquitous bar code on the back.
Even if the item in question has no code or identifying mark on it, it is super easy to Google the gizmo in front of you with a brief description and get some information about it or its value. Mobile devices level the estate sale playing field so that both buyers and sellers can feel more comfortable about pricing.
Mobile devices can also be helpful in finding a local estate sale in your area. By quickly bringing up sites such as www.estatesale.com while you are on the road, you can find tag or moving sales in the area you live and plan the best route to get there in a snap. Even while in the car, you can get an idea of what they are selling and check out photos to determine if the event is worth visiting on a sunny weekend.