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Furnishing your first home can be a pretty daunting task. Usually, you're looking at more space than you had with a rental and all of your current furniture just doesn't cut it. And after giving up the money for the down payment on that Guelph real estate or Toronto home you most likely don't have a lot left over for a trip to IKEA. But there is a great solution. Garage sales and flea markets can be the perfect place to either pick up that original piece or to find older models of the latest in home fashions.
The first rule of garage sales is to know when and where they are. In the summer months, you'll see listings in the paper and online for dozens of Saturday sales going on in your city or town. The real trick is to be able to tell which will be the right sales for you, whether they're in the suburbs or an indoor sale in Brampton condos. If there are a few newspapers circulating in your town, make sure that you get a look at all of them. Most people only want to put up the money for one ad and you never know which publication they will choose to do that in.
Look out for group sales or charitable organizations running a garage sale. The name of the game is choice when it comes to garage sale items and the more people who put into the sale, the better your chances of finding the perfect thing for you. Sometimes you may see a group of downtown Toronto homes who all choose to have a sale on the same day within a neighborhood. This could be a bargain shopper's paradise.
If you're really interested in getting a good deal on a great item, you have to get there early. Scout out the most likely sale to find hidden treasures and get there as soon as the sale starts. It's almost a guarantee that you won't be the only early arrival. Seasoned garage sale shoppers will be outside that Mississauga condo or Vancouver townhouse while the family is still setting things up. For yard sales, the early bird definitely gets the worm.
If you've opted more for the flea market finds to fill that Tip Top loft or country cottage, remember that the sellers are most likely very willing to bargain. Make sure that you offer a starting price that leaves room for negotiation but doesn't insult the seller. A good rule of thumb is to cut ten to twenty percent off of the listed price to start. Also, it is important not to show the seller how much money you have before reaching a deal. Many times the seller will try to negotiate to the maximum amount you have on you if they know how much that is. Sellers at flea markets are also more likely to give you a deal if you're working with cash. In the age of plastic, remember that stopping off at the bank machine before heading into a flea market can save you quite a bit in the long run.
Often, when bargain shopping, you can actually find pieces that will become the most loved in your home. Be creative and follow your own style and you will end up with rooms in your home that you will love.