Permits required to do a yard sale/garage sale?


Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
If you're planning to run a garage sale, yard sale, or a rummage sale, are there usually permits required to do one in your area? I know in Michigan for example in my city they require a permit. I don't remember the last time I had a yard sale, but I remember going to our local town hall location and requesting a permit. I believe it was free. You might need a sellers permit in Michigan to sell stuff at a yard sale. But I think it's different everywhere.

What's the permitting process for running any kind of sale on your property where you live?
United States
I think in some locations you need a sellers permit, and I know in some you just need a permit to run a yard sale. I can see some area even requiring a sellers permit and a permit to host the yard sale.

It'll differ in every area I'm sure, but you will likely need a sellers permit at the very least.
You need to check with your local city or county government to see if they require a permit for yard sales. Some areas may have specific regulations regarding the frequency of yard sales, the duration, and the placement of signs. Some of the common requirements for yard sales include:
-If you plan to use signs to advertise your yard sale, there may be regulations about the size, placement, and duration of these signs.
-Make sure that your property is zoned for residential use and that yard sale are permitted in your area.
-Some municipalities may have restrictions on the hours during which yard sales can take place.
-Certain items may be restricted from being sold in a residential area. Make sure you are aware of any regulations regarding the types of items you can sell during your yard sale.
My mom, and especially her friend, used to be really into garage saling...scoping out when they were happening and getting rock bottom deals on old stuff people were offloading. If you're serious about garage sale shopping, you do kind of have to get there ahead of other people, before all the "good stuff" gets picked over. I once bought a kegerator from one for only $40 back when I was in college (my roommate at the time brewed beer). That was probably my best experience with garage sales...usually I find maybe one item that's kind of interesting, look at it for a minute, and then leave.

This is one of those areas where I know permits are often required - both for the garage sale and probably also the handmade signs people put up around the neighborhood - but I wonder what percentage of garage sales actually bother to obtain them. I just checked my City's website and it doesn't look like they have any specific garage sale permitting requirements but, like @Jake points out, the website does mention the possibility of needing a seller's permit.

In California, it looks like the state's Department of Tax and Fee Administration is responsible for issuing seller's permits. Their website indicates that a temporary seller's permit is only required for garage sales "if you have more than two garage sales within a 12-month period"...I find it interesting the state even bothered to call out this scenario since having that many garage sales would seem to be exceedingly rare (if it even happens at all).
Oh! I wonder when the laws changed for this because when I was in my 20s we never heard of such a requirement. I just looked it up for some of the towns I lived near in Indiana and every single one of them requires a permit. What's interesting is that one town even has a limit of how many sales you can have each year (2). I remember my aunt having a sale every weekend and her town told her she couldn't do that because she wasn't a store.

For further information on this GPT, visit the U.S. National/Federal GPT page.