Collin County Guide, What To Do in Collin County
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Garage Sales, Yard Sales, Tag Sales, and Estate Sales
in Collin County

including Allen, Frisco, McKinney, and Plano

How to Hold Them and Where to Find Them

garage sale in Collin County, TX

Garage Sale, Yard Sale, Tag Sale or Estate Sale? What is the right name for my sale?

The terms "garage sale, yard sale, and tag sale" are pretty synonymous. I suppose if you don't tag your items, it isn't technically a "tag sale" and if you don't hold the sale in the garage, it isn't a "garage sale". But it really doesn't matter.

An Estate Sale is quite different. Typically when a family decides to downsize, after they remove all of the items they'd like to keep, a company is hired to come into their home and tag items for sale. These items range from furniture and appliances to the leftover soaps and lawn chemicals. Prices at estate sales are typically higher than a garage sale, but on the last day the prices are reduced significantly.

Estate sales may be held at any time throughout the year. Be sure to keep the address handy and enter it into your GPS, because some HOAs do not permit signs for estate sales.

When are the Garage Sales Held?

Typically the large community sales, organized by the HOAs (Homeowners Associations) are held in the Spring and Fall; during April and May and then in September and October. The newer subdivisions will almost always only hold semi-annual, community-wide sales.

The older neighborhoods, without active HOAs, will permit homeowners to hold them throughout the year. Some of the older neighborhoods, with active HOAs, will still sponsor community-wide sales.

The primary garage sale days are Friday and Saturday. Neighborhood sales are often advertised to begin at 8:00 am, but my personal experience is that the heavy shopping actually begins at 7:00 am. (Having said that, please don't knock on someone's door the night prior or before they have their merchandise out for sale.) Now here's the secret to Texas garage sale shopping: they're almost always closing up by 10:30 am. They may be advertised to run until noon or three, but so many shoppers come early that usually people are sold out by 10:30.

How To Find the Garage Sales

Online is typically the way the sales are advertised, although some people may still choose to place them in your local community newspaper. The map filters on the sites below are tremendously helpful when you're new to an area. These are the sites this author uses to find the sales in Collin County:
You're probably familiar with this site, but were you aware that once you choose "Dallas" and then "ndf" and click on "garage sales" you can choose to view with a map? Very helpful options such as viewing by list, thumbnails or gallery. Also allows you to choose by date.
This site provides you with a map and a corresponding list, where you can click for details. Or click on the flag on the map for details. Also allows you to use keywords and select a particular shopping day.
This neighborhood site is something you need to be invited to join, or (I think) you can prove to the admin of your neighborhood that you live in the neighborhood, and you will be allowed to join. This is sort of like Facebook, in that the group is closed until you're "in". Once you're "in", you can read announcements and classifieds.
Search with a map, enter a keyword, search by the day.

Specific Neighborhoods
If you have a favorite neighborhood or ever drove through one and thought, 'I'd sure love to shop their garage sales!', you probably can! Do a Google search for the name of the neighborhood and add "HOA" to the search. Such as "Star Creek HOA". If you're fortunate, the calendar and announcements will be on the unlocked portion of the site and you can mark your calendar to hit the sales.

Am I expected to Pay what the Seller has the Item Marked?

It is common practice to make an offer lower than the tagged price. For example, if a lamp is marked at $7, you may offer $5. Expect the Seller to counter with $6. Not all sellers like to barter If a price seems low for the item, or it is early in the shopping day, it is best not to offer a lower price. As the day progresses and the sun gets hotter, you'll find sellers willing to barter on most items because they will otherwise be hauling it away to charity.

Note: Politeness counts. If you interrupt while the Seller is working with another customer or demean the product to get a lower price, chances are you'll just get the Seller angry and he/she may not sell it to you at all.

What Do I Need to Shop the Sales? Cash, Check, Credit Card?

Most sales only accept cash and many will not have change. Go to your bank and get small bills ($1, $5) and change (quarters should be all you need). If you are shopping for items like furniture or appliances, take $10s and $20s, up to the amount you would expect to pay.

It is in poor taste to ask a Seller to hold an item while you run to the bank or ATM. They could lose a sale while you are gone and have no idea if you'll actually return. (Many Buyers do not return.) Don't be surprised if a Seller refuses to hold an item for you.

How To Find the Facebook Garage Sale Sites

If you're on Facebook, go the the search area and type in "garage sale Collin County". Some options should come up. Hint: look for the largest groups. Facebook will then suggest other groups for you. Sales are often advertised in these groups, but they are primarily for individual items being sold within the group.

Keep in mind if you are searching in a geographic specific area, you'll need to pick up in that area. Many items are "PPU" (porch pick up), so you'll need to have the exact change to leave in exchange for the item you are picking up. If you click "want" you'd better want, because if you change your mind frequently, you'll get banned from the group. Some of these groups have the same members. Be sure to read the rules of each group before posting.

Here are a few that I love. Keep in mind you need to have a Facebook account to view these.

Collin County Furniture Page
Very seriously just limited to furniture and home decor.

Collin County Area Online Yard Sale

Celina and Prosper Online Garage Sale

LaLa's Resale (Collin County, TX)

McKinney Online Garage Sale-No Rules

Allen Online Garage Sale

Allen Online Garage Sale (Second one)

Allen and Plano Online Garage Sale Group

Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney Online Garage Sale

How To Hold a Garage Sale

If you love to shop garage sales, you're probably asking, "how can I hold a garage sale? what are the rules to holding a garage sale? Do I need a city permit to hold a garage sale?"

The Rules and Laws to Holding a Garage Sale in Collin County

We'll get into the specifics of how to hold a garage sale, but first, let's look at the rules and laws before you hold your sale. After all, you don't want to have to pay all of your earnings to a fine!

First, check with your HOA governing documents, if you live within a Homeowners Association. You should have received the documents when you moved into the neighborhood, but this is not a reliable guarantee that you have all of the documents. Check the community website where the rules are posted. (Don't rely on your neighbors for correct information.) Some HOAs permit single sales, but most HOAs do not permit the homeowner to hold individual sales. You may be thinking, "how will they know? The management office is closed on weekends." Don't count on it. Most HOAs can fine you for holding a sale (without a prior warning).

Next check with your city. Some cities require permits, others do not. Most cities will not permit signs on city property.

Typically, if you hold your sale with the neighborhood sale, the HOA has taken responsibility for the necessary permits, signs, and advertising. But, as HOAs typically run these with volunteers, check with the organizer just to be certain.

The Details of "How To Hold a Sale"

The Merchandise
First go through your items and remove the things you wouldn't purchase: clothing with stains or holes, and broken items. If you don't wish to remove these items, then set them aside in an area marked "Bargain Bin". The reason for this is that if buyers stop at your sale and the first items they notice are damaged, they will quickly move on to the next sale.

Check for recalled items before placing them in your sale:
Safe Kids Product Recalls
Consumer Product Safety Commission

Please don't try to pass off to a purchaser expired car seats or car seats that have been in an accident. That also goes for helmets that have protected a child in a fall. These items are unsafe. If an appliance is broken, label it accordingly.

Taking these precautions will ensure that your customers will want to return to your future sales.

Displaying and Pricing
The process to hold a sale is quite casual in Texas. While some folks tag their items for sale with a price, many do not. Often, especially in neighborhood sales, merchandise is tossed onto tables and in boxes and the buyers asks for the price. I prefer to tag items with a "starting price" because it is common practice to barter on the price and this lets people know where the barter begins. The Dollar Store sells packages of stickers to price your items.

Cash/Credit Cards/Debit Cards
It's a good idea to go to the bank and get some cash to provide change to your customers. Suggestion: (4) $5's, (10) $1's, a roll of quarters (25 cents). If you will be offering items for 10 cents or 5 cents, you'll need nickels and dimes as well.

Some Sellers accepts credit cards if they are already set up on PayPal. ProPay, Google, Square or other online service. This is simple to do with the use of an iPad or phone and could be very beneficial if you are selling large ticket items over $50. Read the fine print of the credit card company contract. You'll want to understand what happens if your customer disputes the charge after leaving with the merchandise and what percentage the credit card company will keep for processing the sale.

Advertising Your Sale
Home Depot and Lowes both sell garage sale signs. If your neighborhood is holding a community-wide sale, consider placing helium balloons on your mailbox so people driving the main roads notice your sale. It's also a good idea to place a garage sale sign at the end of your road to direct people down your street or alley. Your HOA may be providing homeowners with the necessary signs or balloons.

Check the list of garage sale and Facebook sites above to advertise your sale. Even if your HOA is promoting the sale, if you have a lot of items, you may also wish to advertise. If part of a community sale, be sure to add to your sale description, "part of neighborhood community sale."

Where to Hold Your Sale: Front or in the Garage?
As a shopper and a seller, I can attest that it is best to hold your sale in your front yard. If you have a front-entry garage, you are in luck! If your garage is located off an alley, I can share that I lost at least half my customers by keeping my sale in the garage in the alley. The reason is simple: since sales are typically only open until 10:30, customers have very little time to shop. To park and walk to the back of the house takes extra time. Driving into the alleys is risky, because there typically isn't any place to park and it is easy to get parked in. Also, buyers like to drive past the sale to see if what they are searching for is in your sale.

What To Do with Your Leftovers from a Garage Sale

Some sales organized by HOAs will have a charity either leave a truck for leftovers to be dropped off or ask a charity to drive through the neighborhood to pick up leftover items. If this is the case, it will be announced by your HOA when they share the details of the sale.

Local charities in your city will often pick up items, but they all have restrictions on what they will pick up. Because these charity lists are long, we will not list them all here. There is always, of course, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and St Vincent de Paul. Here are a few local charities we are aware of, but you will need to visit their website or call them to find out what they will pick up or accept at a drop-off location:

Allen Community Outreach

Frisco Family Services

The Samaritan Inn, McKinney

Hopes Door Resale Shop, Plano

Rain or Shine?

So what do you do if on your sale day, it rains? If you are part of a community-wide sale, the organizers will probably provide you with direction. If you're on your own, it's up to you. But there are some things to consider. (1) When it rains, there are fewer buyers, but the serious buyers are still out--and there are probably less sales. Providing there isn't a heavy storm, buyers understand they may score the best deals during the rain. (2) If you don't have a garage to hold the sale in, it is probably best to protect your merchandise and reschedule. If you reschedule, for the sake of the buyers, update your marketing to reflect the date change. (3) If it is only a threat of rain, buyers will still be out. Bargain shoppers are not swayed by threat of a little rain!

Most of All, Have Fun!

Buying and selling at garage sales, yard sales, tag sales and estate sales is loads of fun and can net many great bargains. You'll find in Collin County that a lot of the merchandise for sale is still being sold in top retail stores. Children's clothing and toys are some of the most popular items to purchase at these sales, and for good reason: you will pay way below retail for the item at a garage sale because it is considered "used" even though it may be in like-new condition. Home decor, household items, lawn care, tools and electronics are plentiful at sales. Remember, one man's trash truly is another man's treasure!

By Debbie Krubsack
September 16, 2016

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