Selling antique items isn’t the most conventional way of making money. In fact, half of the time, the owner doesn’t even know how valuable his or her item is until its appraised.
The beauty of antiques is that like fine wine, their value appreciates with age – pending any major damage to them, of course. These vintage items can range from classic clocks to jukeboxes, and the story about how they came into your possession is often the most entertaining part of the antique-buying experience.
Classic items have likely been passed down from generation to generation, which is why they have a high value placed on them.
From the casual buyer to the collector aficionado, consumers need to know what to keep an eye out for when purchasing antiques. Here are four buying tips:
1. Identify what it is you’re looking for: Recreational antique shoppers are more likely to browse online or drop into a brick-and-mortar location without a specific goal in mind. That’s not to say window shopping is a bad thing, but starting a serious or reputable collection takes a concerted effort, according to the U.K.-based newspaper The Telegraph. Plus, without some type of goal, what can you work toward? Narrowing your focus shouldn’t be too difficult, especially if you’re trying to establish a collection of things you either like or are passionate about. Collectors should really only invest in things they enjoy dedicating their free time to, otherwise the joy of the whole process is lost. Buyers should see the long-term value of the item as an added bonus; there’s no reason to buy something that you’ll get sick of in a short amount of time.
2. Do your research: Part of the process in antique buying is knowing what you’re looking to purchase. As it goes with most consumer products these days, patrons do their homework prior to stepping foot into the store itself. Specifically, 8 out of 10 consumers begin their search process online before buying a product to better educate themselves on its features and benefits, according to a recent study released by General Electric Capital Retail Bank. In the same vein, antique buyers need to compile all the research they possibly can on a given product prior to talking price point. If a shopper is equipped with knowledge, they can ensure that they are making the right decision.
3. Learn how to negotiate: Some people don’t enjoy negotiating, but if a casual buyer wants to become a serious collector, he or she is going to need to learn how to discuss different prices. Having done thorough research can come in handy during this stage because an educated buyer will know exactly how much the item should cost, what it should look like and be able to make an evaluated decision based on the information in front of him or her. For those who enjoy a less tense bartering process, the best way to start things off is to ask what the seller’s best price is, according to Home and Garden Television’s Cari Cucksey. Once that line is established, think about how much you’d be willing to pay and try to find a compromise.
4. Insurance is a good idea: For antique buyers, the transaction process will hopefully be a pleasant one and you’re not duped into buying a fake item. However, every once in a while, someone is looking to get a collectible off of their hands without really knowing a whole lot about it, which can lead to the purchase of fraudulent or damaged items. Best practice is to insure your item or collection, The Telegraph adds. That way, you’re protected no matter what happens.