Buying antiques can represent both a beautiful addition to your home as well as a potential investment, so it’s no surprise that antique-buying is still a fairly popular pastime. However, the nature of buying antiques is that rare or finely-crafted pieces can be very expensive, so finding bargains means knowing strategies to help you find more affordable prices and bargain down the pricier pieces, whether you’re buying online, at an antique fair or at a garage sale. Here are five surprisingly effective tips to help you find great antique deals:
1. Use EBay
EBay isn’t the first place most people think to check when hunting for antiques, but when items aren’t bidden on as highly as the seller expects, you can sometimes find prices far lower than those of antique stores or flea markets. However, finding antiques on EBay means knowing how to sort the good from the bad. For one, the pictures posted by the seller should demonstrate that the antique is in good condition and show you all aspects you need to see; if you ever have any questions about the condition, always message the seller. You’ll also want to verify that the seller has a return policy in case you are unsatisfied with the antique.
2. When Buying in Person, Haggle for Prices
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to dig through flea markets or tag sales to find antiques, keep in mind that in these situations, sellers expect you to haggle, and are often willing to offer a slightly lower price. Because of this, you should always haggle a bit even if the price seems reasonable. Even at a more formal sale such as an antique show, sellers won’t be upset or offended if you make a slightly, lower but still reasonable, counter-offer.
3. Be Patient and Make Repeat Visits
If you’re at a flea market or antique fair and haven’t been able to get the dealer or seller to lower the price, try walking away and returning later in the day. If they’ve been unable to sell at the listed price, they’ll often accept a better offer if you return later. This advice also works at tag sales or garage sales; because sellers are looking to liquidate all their products, returning later in the day usually makes sellers amenable to lower offers.
4. Do the Research
To give yourself the best chance of finding an antique you love for a reasonable price, put the effort in and do a bit of research before heading to the sale or antique show. Decide ahead of time on a style of antique that you like, and make sure that antiques of this type usually go for a price that fits your budget. This guarantees that you won’t waste time looking at antiques that you can’t possibly afford, and may also give you some starting points so you don’t spend too much time digging through inventories.
5. Look for Stragglers
‘Stragglers’ here refers to items that are part of a set, but remain behind while the rest of the set is sold off. Sellers, particularly dealers at antique shows, like to offer certain items, such as chairs and other small items of furniture, in even-numbered sets, as they can often charge a premium price for supplying the full set. But if any individual items are left over, dealers will usually sell them for a far lower price. In addition, if you’re set on eventually acquiring a full set, you can keep a reference photo of the full set of furniture, and acquire the items piece-by-piece at reduced ‘straggler’ prices.