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By Rebecca Mathison, Guest Blogger

Getting a bargain on a great fixer-upper piece is great. Purchasing a money pit is not so great. When you’re out hunting through items at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores, most things are going to be inexpensive, unless somebody has some sort of cool antique or random collectible so saying. Don’t let the cheap prices of these potential diamonds in the rough get the best of you. Look for these things when figuring out if $1 really and truly might be too much to pay for something when searching for deals & bargain hunting.

Real Wood

Even though items are cheap at swap meets, you should only buy high quality items. ( Sherri R. Camp/Shutterstock.com)

Real wooden furniture is a better choice than laminate & particle wood furniture for the long-term bargain value. Real wood pieces tend to be better made and have the potential to be fixed up beautifully with a little bit of sandy and staining. Laminate can be painted, but unless a piece is super, and I mean super, cheap, then investing that much time & effort into laminate items probably isn’t worth it. You can buy a brand new item of that quality for probably around the same price as fixing up an old one.

Name Brands

I don’t like to be a labels snob, but sometimes it is important to notice the brand when trying to get a bargain. For example, a lamp might not be to your taste, but if it is a Tiffany lamp at a cheap price, you might want to go ahead and swoop it up just in case. Also, when buying used furniture, if you see it has a quality brand name attached to you, you can feel more comfortable about purchasing it. Also, vintage handbags can be worth a small fortune. Even if you don’t like an item personally, there’s a big market for online sales on sites like eBay for selling brand name items. Check the labels to see if a salesman is overlooking a quality brand name so you can get the deal!

Good Bones

When looking at items, the color and current condition don’t matter all that much as long as the quality and shape of the piece are. You might stumble across the ugliest green mirror you’ve ever seen, but the frame, despite it’s green color, does have an intricate pattern to it and it is a good size…so you might want to consider getting it and just change the color. Many times on shows like Trading Spaces I’ve seen the pros take a sofa with a rooster print or something strange on it and make it look like art with just a fabric change.

Keep those three things in mind next time you go to a resale place. Finding a really quality piece that just needs a little TLC is great. Pieces that don’t come fresh out of a store are a great way to add character to a home and it is a great way to give your home a personal touch. So while there are great deals to be found, don’t go pouring a fortune into something that isn’t worth it. Save that $2 you were going to spend on something that “might be good” and use it on something that already IS good for one reason or another.

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