Friday, April 29, 2011

Auctions and Latest Find

I've gotten a lot of questions about where in the world do I find these pieces at such crazy prices?! They come from everywhere, really. I have my thrift stores I hit up on a near weekly basis (sometimes more than once if I'm close by), pieces are given to me, hole in the wall "antique" shops where they are just basically selling stuff they got for free somehow (so not much markup) and the best place...AUCTIONS!

You can find really good stuff at thrift stores, but I've found that if you're patient and willing to go sit at an estate auction you can find some incredible deals. You can go online to AuctionZip.com or EstateSales.net and find auctions in your area. The ticket is finding one with some really good pieces that need just a little love, a bad auctioneer (one who starts bidding low on EVERYTHING), and preferably not a ton of people to compete with. I got lucky was blessed to get the deal I did on that buffet at my very first auction! The Estatesales.net site even has a page of info about estate sales and how they work! Great info. Internet estate auctions - like Caring Transitions  and ShopGoodwill.com are awesome as well. Then there's always Craiglist.com, and I've found stuff on there. Be careful though. Use common sense. I personally am very wary of buying stuff this way. Just too risky for me personally as a general rule.

Now, I'm no pro at this yet (will be one day), but what I've found is most people don't have a lot of vision. I saw a quote I just loved the other day:


People tend to want the pieces that need little to no work. If you're willing to put in some elbow grease, there are deals to be had! Most of the people bidding are not interested in redoing stuff themselves. Many are just buying to resell as-is in traditional antique stores/booths or to dealers. I'm constantly picking up pieces that I work on as I can fit it in. I have only shared a tiny bit of my "stockpile before and afters". More to come!

When you are out looking for a piece, know your limits. If you are able to paint, but don't have access to repair equipment or the want to learn, don't get a piece that is not structurally sound or sturdy. Also know your product and what signifies good quality. For instance, be able to recognize wood species, solid versus MDF and veneers, dovetailed drawers versus stapled or nailed, plywood versus particle board backs, etc. Do some research on what you're looking for so when you find it, you don't do what I recently did, and walk away not sure if you can make enough of a profit because the price is not INSANELY low. If you wait to research and then come back, it'll be gone. Trust me:)



If there is one tip I can pass along that you probably won't find anywhere it's this: talk to people at the auctions. They are full of info you may never find out if you don't talk to someone who's been around. At my first one, I had a lady tell me to NEVER make the first bid. Wait for a little while to see where it's heading dollar-wise. Sometimes people get caught up in the excitement and buy things they really don't want, so don't get it going if you really want that piece. Wait until the last minute to throw in your bid if the price is right. It also helps to not over-dress. You may not get the old-timers to talk as much if they are worried you're looking down your nose at them. Casual dress make everyone relax more and open up. Just a good rule of thumb - Looking like a million may actually cost you because people expect you can and should pay more. I like to dress up as much as the next person, but there's a time a place - this ain't it (usually). Look nice, but not dressy - jeans and a nice t-shirt are great.

Lastly, I have an operating strategy. Want to know what it is? I try to remember to get up every morning and start my day off with some time in prayer and Bible study. I hand it all over and say, "Lord, this is what I believe you want me to do with this time in my life and the gifts you've given me. So, I trust you'll bring the pieces along as I need them. I'm not going to beat myself up over missed items or sit around worrying about how to find a  new piece. When the time is right, please show me the next step and help me always to remember who arranged for that "piece" and I to meet at just the right time." Know what? He just keeps on putting them right in front of me. I just marvel at how the timing always just falls into place. As that old hymn goes, "One day at a time, Sweet Jesus, that's all I'm asking of you!"

Want to see what I found today that I thought was really neat? It's not furniture. It's an accessory:


1931 desk globe (to the best of my knowledge - had to do some research)
I love globes. I don't know why, but it's fascinating to me to study how the world has changed over the years. This one had tons of stuff on it to study...like no separated Korea, totally different layout of Africa, no nation of Israel, etc.
Tomorrow I'm sharing my oldest son's room and his mural. Can't wait! Talk about a labor of love?!

Miss Bee

4 comments:

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