When you’re shopping for a home and trying to decide if a place is in a good neighborhood, many realtors will tell you to drive around the area at different times of the day (and night) to see what it looks like. They might also suggest you call the local police station and talk to the desk sergeant. But there’s another less known approach that might reveal lots of interesting inside: the local garage sales!
In some neighborhoods, garage sales have taken on a life of their own with special significance: a community will hold a communal garage sale involving dozens or hundreds of families at the same time. What a great way to meet the future potential neighbors!
The sales is typically held inside a garage, driveway, carport, front yard, porch, or occasionally, the interior of a house, giving you a sneak peak of what people have done to their personal space.
You can tell a lot about a person by the stuff they are trying to get rid of. Are the items new, like-new, or just usable? Is it last year’s Pottery Barn collection or a collection that simply is going to pot?
While this can give you a peak into the economic mix of the neighborhood, you can also learn about your potential future neighbors personalities.
Often there are people who have decided they want everything gone — She doesn’t want it back in the house, he doesn’t want to schlep it back into the house — therefore it’s priced to sell. This is a person who makes a decision and sticks to it. Get to know her!
Then there’s the guy who wants to make back every dime he ever spent on the junk. Sure that anvil vise is priced fair at $20, but for five bucks more you can buy it new at Harbor Freights. Garage Fail! This is the guy who probably won’t lend you his snow blower without a deposit and will keep score of how many times you shoveled his walk versus how many times he shovels yours.
Speaking of power tools, I’m still looking for the wife who is so pissed at her husband, she sells his band saw and drill press for a song.
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