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Many people earn either supplemental income or a primary income through buying and reselling items. The venues are diverse for finding buyers and sellers, with the overall goal of buying low and selling high. No "best" resale item exists; however, many items can be bought at resale that have good value. The trick is to find the item for a cheap price, then resell it to a person who is willing to pay a higher price.
Antiques and Restoration
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Antiques usually have good resale value. For example, you can buy an antique clock, and hold on to it for two years, then offer it for sale through auctions, newspaper advertising and online stores. An antique's value, depending on condition and market factors, usually increases with age. Be careful, though; many fake "antiques" are offered for sale by unethical people. It is best to specialize in an area, such as in vases or stamps, so you can become a true expert in the items. If you want to become a specialist in Depression Glass, for example, joining specialist trade associations like the National Depression Glass Association is a good way to obtain research information. Study antiques guides, such as those offered by Kovel's, to obtain as much information as you can from the true masters in your chosen field of specialization.
If you find an antique in less than perfect condition, be careful with restoration. Some antiques will increase in value upon restoration, while others may actually decrease in value. A buyer may want, for example, the original finish on a piece of furniture. Before attempting restoration work, its best to become an expert on the nuances of your particular antique.
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Many used cars have good resale value, but some cars do not. Before investing in used cars, research what cars have the highest value. Organizations such as the National Automotive Dealer's Association (NADA) publishes the well-known "Blue Book" of automotive resale prices. Look to the collector's market first. A popular nonprofit trade group is the Antique Automobile Club of America, which offers accurate information on car values. Try to find a car that is reasonably priced, and resell it accordingly. For antique and highly prized cars, try to buy a car in less than perfect condition. Fix it up a little bit and resell it. Again, be careful with the restoration. Some cars will decrease in value if, for example, you use non-original aftermarket parts.
Where and What To Buy
The main goal of buying resale items is to find a good deal. Look to garage sales and thrift stores for items that have good resale value. For example, you may find a purse in a thrift store from a top-name designer and resell that purse for 10 times what you paid for it. Use a sharp eye, and scour the world for items that are priced low. Look to newspaper and online classified ads as well. People may be selling an item cheaply that they don't think has much value. To make a quick profit, look for items that are easily transportable and have a good resale value, like jewelry, coins and small collectibles. This is where being an expert can mean the difference between making and losing money.
Where and What To Sell
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Finding a seller that has an undervalued item is half the battle. Finding buyers that are willing to pay the fair market price is the other half. Auction houses can help you determine a correct valuation for the item. An auction house charges commission based on the selling price. Therefore, it is to the auction house's advantage to price the item as high as possible. Another popular venue for selling is trade shows, where you can display your wares. Another good venue for selling is the classifieds section of specialist magazines or newspapers.
The best items have good time frame resale value, meaning the length of time you have to hold onto it for it to gain value. For example, you just bought an antique watch for $100. If you have to hold onto it for 10 years for it to gain value, it has a low time frame resale value. If you bought an antique ring, however, and it gained value in two weeks, it has good time frame value. According to "Business Magazine," gold jewelry of 18 karat purity and above has good resale value (see Resources). Gold items of under 10 karat purity have low resale value.
Tony Oldhand has been technical writing since 1995. He has worked in the skilled trades and diversified into Human Services in 1998, working with the developmentally disabled. He is also heavily involved in auto restoration and in the do-it-yourself sector of craftsman trades. Oldhand has an associate degree in electronics and has studied management at the State University of New York.