The 'Garage Sale Millionaire' who made his fortune selling people's castoffs explains how to find valuable items
Courtesy of Aaron LaPedis
When Aaron LaPedis was 10 years old and asking his parents for the latest toys, his mom made him a deal: If he sold the toys he no longer wanted, he could use the money to buy whatever he wanted at the local toy store.
Shortly after, LaPedis had his first garage sale in his front yard. He was instantly hooked.
Today, the self-made millionaire and author of the bestseller "The Garage Sale Millionaire" has accumulated a small fortune finding interesting stuff and reselling it on eBay, Craigslist, or to individuals.
He once bought an early 20th-century tin toy for $12 and flipped it on eBay for nearly $1,000, he tells Farnoosh Torabi on an episode of her "So Money" podcast.
How can we find the $1,000 tin toys?
"First, you should become an expert in something that you really like," he tells Torabi. For him, that meant coins and historic memorabilia.
Next, head to eBay, which is a treasure trove of good deals, LaPedis says.
In fact, 50% of what's on eBay gets resold on eBay, he tells Torabi: "That's kind of mind-blowing. People say, 'Why would you buy it and then re-list it?' It's because a lot of things on eBay either don't have a good picture that promotes the piece properly, or the description is absolutely wrong - and you realize what they have is something else that's more valuable. They have it underpriced."
When he finds something underpriced, he doesn't jump the gun and buy right away. "I will do my research with the people on eBay," he explains. "I will email them, ask more questions just to make sure it's what I think it is, and make sure I'm able to return it in case it isn't."
After he buys the item, he can inspect it more carefully in person. If it's what he expected it to be, he'll eventually re-list it, either on eBay or at a bigger auction house.
At the end of the day, anyone can find treasures, "but the way you do that is by becoming an expert in what you love," LaPedis says.
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