The 'Garage Sale Millionaire' who made his fortune selling people's castoffs says there's a step you can't skip before listing anything for sale

When Aaron LaPedis was 10 years old, his mum made him a deal: If he helped his parents with a garage sale and sold his old toys, he could use whatever money he earned to buy new ones.

Around mid-afternoon, his parents went inside to make lunch, leaving LaPedis in charge of the garage sale.

“My parents came out literally 45 minutes later and my pockets were full of cash,” he tells Farnoosh Torabi on an episode of her “So Money” podcast. “And they were so proud of me … until that night when they walked around the house and found half of their furniture gone.”

Young LaPedis was hooked on buying and selling.

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.

If you want to list something for sale, there’s one step you can’t skip before doing so, the expert tells Torabi: Know exactly what you have and what it’s worth.

“Every day, people mis-list what they have, because they’re such in a rush to put stuff on eBay. They don’t take their time,” he tells Torabi. “If you don’t know what you have, don’t sell it until you do.”

He gives the example of animation art. Back in the day, thousands of drawings — called sericels — went into one hour of cartoons or an animated flick, and afterward, animation studios would sell one-off drawings as art to eager fans.

Today, a sericel isn’t worth much. They will go for around $150, LaPedis explains. However, sometimes what people assume is a sericel is worth much more, he says: “I’ve seen lots of cels that weren’t sericels — they were actually hand-painted, limited-edition cels … so instead of being worth $150, they’re worth $1,500 or $3,000. It’s just that minor nuance that people wouldn’t even think to look for.”

Bottom line: Don’t jump the gun. Before listing anything for sale, know exactly what you have.

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