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Tips for Selling on eBay

Updated on April 21, 2011

So you have a bunch of junk at home that might be worth some money. (Well, hopefully it's not 'junk' because the end goal here is to make some extra cash.) If you're feeling a little overwhelmed as to how to start putting things up for sale on eBay, you're not alone. Thankfully, it's not complicated and anyone can learn. However, there are certain ways to make the process more fruitful and attract the buyers that you want. I thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned along the way. 

What's It Worth?

Before you put something up, always go to the tiny (read: easy to miss) box on the Sell on eBay page. By entering a few keywords relevant to your item-- such as "Vintage Willis Coach Leather Bag Used"-- you can see exactly how many similar listings have sold in the last three weeks. This will tell you the highest price the item went for, the lowest and of course the average. But always experiment with other keywords as well, because not everyone will list the exact style name or the fact that it's used. Also, look around for completed listings on the site to see what other people write in the title and what their general price point is. Try to get an accurate feel for a good starting price. Never put an item up for the amount of money you hope you will get. It costs you more to list (eBay takes a certain percentage), and chances are no one will bid.

Take A Chance.

I always, always put something up for a lot less than I am hoping to get. You don't want to alienate buyers. In fact, I often like to make sure that my item is the most inexpensive as compared to others in its category. Why? Because a lot of people like to search eBay in the order of lowest to highest prices. That way, my item is the first one that comes up when they do a search. It's harmless to click "Watch This Item," and the more watchers you get, the more likely they are to bid on your item and not look around for a better price.

Use Quality Pictures.

I only photograph my items for sale on sunny days, preferably outside. Natural light showcases your item like nothing else, and makes it stand out in the long list of other similar things for sale. I even have a theory that items with obvious sunlight in the picture sell for more than ones that don't. Always take more pictures than you think you'll need, and put up at least four or five. They only cost 15 cents each, and give buyers the information they need to make a purchase. I'm continually surprised by the amount of auctions I see that have blurry, muddy images that do nothing to give a sense of what you'd be getting-- or even quality items that have only one picture. Buyers cannot be bothered to ask you for more (or better) pictures; they will move on to something else.

Use As Much of the Title Space As You Can.

This is a space where you can enter in additional keywords that will help buyers find your item should there search be more general or vague. It might feel a little silly writing "Coach Leather Bag Black Vintage Saddle Bag Purse" (run-on sentence much?) but it will help people searching for just a "Leather Saddle Bag" find your listing. Or even "Vintage Leather Purse." Always fit in as many relevant keywords as you possibly can. Don't waste it by writing "Leather Coach Bag Cute Exc. Condition!"

Always Offer More.

Some sellers have unreasonable shipping prices (because eBay can't take a percentage of your shipping charge), or don't bother to check to make sure that they've included important details. If you want to use a service like eBay, you're going to confuse people by listing an item with a shipping price for $25. Not only does it look absurd, but when your buyer is checking out, he/she can easily enter in what they want to pay for shipping, thereby lessening your profit. So keep your shipping prices reasonably. And always put in your listing that buyers should feel free to request additional photos or ask questions about the item. You want to come across as a real person (at least I do)!


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    • corajane06 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate NY

      Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I'm sure you'll find some stuff to sell. You'd be surprised! :)

    • emilybee profile image


      7 years ago

      Good article! I'm not too savy on eBay but you offered some great tips and I certaintly have some things around the house I could probably sell.

    • Winsome profile image


      7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Thanks for the link and good suggestions. =:)

    • corajane06 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Upstate NY

      Thanks Winsome! That's a toughie- I haven't sold any big-ticket items like that! But after doing a quick search for "1965 classical guitar," I think you should highlight the fact that it's brand new, list the maker's last name, and of course the year and the fact that it's a classical guitar. Also, for expensive items like that, it's good to set a reserve price so you know you're getting at least a certain amount. Also, this site may have some helpful info.

    • Winsome profile image


      7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      CJ thank you for this helpful article. I just bought a 1965 Meiko classical guitar by Masura Mantano in perfect condition. How do you suggest I list it? =:)


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