So you want to be a Picker? Part 2
There are lots of ways to pick an item. It's not all about riding around in a truck, seeing a house with a lot of junk, hopping out with a flyer and asking to pick through their stuff. You can pick at yard sales, flea markets, and all sorts of auctions.
Auctions have become a personal favorite of mine because there is usually a large variety of items and a limited set of people trying to buy it. While I love a good auction, there are a few things I have learned along the way. I've learned that there are two types of buyers. Those that preview the items and those that don't.
It's a lot like movies. I have friends that go to the movies and actually get there early to watch the previews before the feature. I usually get there about 10 minutes after the stat time to avoid
errrr... watching them. I am not this way with auctions.
There is typically a preview period that begins at least two hours before the auction actually begins. This is your chance to pick through the items, test things that are electronic, motorized, or may have parts missing. Most auction items are sold as-is, meaning you can't call them up and ask for a refund. They simply sell too many items to be able to test every little things.
This gives you an edge against the folks that treat auctions like I treat movies. You know which items are in good working order and which aren't. You can sit back with a a grin as you watch some unknowng folks engage in a bidding war over a toaster you know will never have the privilege to burn a single piece of bread.
Why am I a previewer? Because I got burned a a few times. I bought a BB gun for $6 that had no compression when you pumped it. It would have been easily discovered during the preview. I also bought a gas edger for $20 that looked new, but ended up needing the float replaced in the carburetor.
While I've been burned, I've also come out on top as a result of a preview. At one auction I was checking out the tool section and found a 5 gallon bucket of random tools. I did a bit of digging and realized that it had a lot of Snap-On and Mac brand tools that are easy sales on eBay.
Just this week, I went and saw a bunch of Skateboard DVDs. I went to my #1 picking tool and started typing the name of some in the search box. Most were not worth messing with, but there was a 10 disc set that has sold between $35-$50 several times on eBay. I later bought three of those sets for $3 each. Even if the don't sell fast, I will make 10x my money on those eventually. I also checked out some electric shavers that I snagged super cheap and should 4x my money on.
This stuff is not rocket science, and I'm sure that you would have eventually figured this out on your own. But I'm hoping to save you the $80-$100 I wasted before I became a previewer. So, If you want to be a picker..download the eBay app and carve out some extra time to preview the next auction you plan to attend.