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How To Sell An Item On Ebay

Updated on May 10, 2012

Be Aware Of Fees

Before you jump into selling your items on eBay, you should be aware that there are fees involved. Both eBay and Paypal will charge fees. Paypal will charge 2.9% of whatever you sell your items for plus $0.30 per transaction. Ebay fees are a bit more complicated and can be explained here. Don't let the fees discourage you, many people make money using eBay every day.

Sign Up

This step is fairly obvious. You need an eBay account to sell an item on eBay. But while you're at it, sign up for Paypal as well. And once you sign up there, link a bank account to your Paypal account. This will make selling your items on eBay far easier. Almost everybody will want to pay for your items using Paypal. Also, many other websites accept Paypal so this will make your online shopping much easier in the future. You'll also need to upgrade your Paypal account to a Premier account (free of charge). Just sign into your Paypal account, click on "Upgrade Account" in the left column, and follow the instructions. This will allow you to accept credit card payments (eBay requires you to accept all form of payment).

Gather Your Items

Get everything you want to sell gathered up, grab your camera, and clear your kitchen table. Take good pictures of everything. Pictures help your items sell because they help show what condition the items are in (this is very helpful when selling anything that isn't in "new" condition). Once all your pictures are taken, put your items somewhere safe. You don't want to have your item sell and then not be able to find it!

List Your Items

Sign into your eBay account and in the upper right you'll see a button that says "Sell," It will bring up a drop down menu with "Sell An Item" as an option. That's what you need to click on.

You'll be brought to a screen where you're asking to type in what you're selling and eBay will pick a category for you. Alternatively you can choose a category yourself. Generally if you're selling a laptop, you can just type in "laptop" and eBay can easily pick a good category for you. But some items may require you to pick the category yourself.

Next up, eBay may ask you for a part number (depending on what you're selling). Generally this is for items that have specifications and often cannot be used by themselves (ex. car parts) or specifications can effect values and buyer interest (ex. computers, cell phones). You can either let eBay find the specifications for you or you can skip this step and manually enter the details on the following page.

The next page is where you're going do most of the set up of your auction. Ebay makes this pretty simple for you by breaking it down into steps:

First, make a title for your item. You might think you want some really attention grabbing title with flashy words, but that's not the case. This isn't Craigslist. People on eBay aren't often drawn in by such titles. They come to eBay with specific items in mind. If they're searching for your product, you want them to find it! If you're selling an football autographed by Brett Farve then a simple title like "Brett Farve Autographed Football" will draw plenty of attention from people who are really looking to buy that item. Keep it simple and your bidders will come.

Second, add your photos. Your first photo is free, then each additional photo is $0.15. You can also upgrade your photos to let users see bigger pictures if you don't feel the detail can be seen in normal sized pictures. You can often do just fine with 2 photos in normal size unless you have an item that just can't be shown in its full glory with 2 photos or in normal size.

Third, describing your item. In the first part of this section, you may be asked for specifications of your item depending on what you're selling. If you let eBay fill this out for you, great! If not, fill out the specifications that you are 100% sure of. After that, you get a big old box to tell everybody what your item is all about. This is where you can get a little creative with your words but make sure everything you say is true. Make sure to list an damage to the item if it's used but also talk about the good parts. Give as much detail as possible to make people more comfortable bidding on your items.

Fourth, set your price and shipping. Start off by choosing a base price to start the bidding. This is no time to get greedy. I tend to choose a price that is below what I feel comfortable selling an item for and hope my item is good enough for bidders to bring it to a fair price. If I was selling a broken laptop for parts and wanted $70 out of it, I might start the bidding at $20. Next you'll choose how long you want your auction to run. You can choose 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days. 7 days is the most common. It gives bidders plenty of time to find your item. You're also given the option to add "Buy It Now" for $0.05. Buy It Now allows a person to buy your item right away for a price you set. This will be your top price if you choose to use it. Nobody will bid more than the Buy It Now price but someone may buy it sooner than the last day of the auction.

In section four you will also be asked about shipping. Ebay has a shipping calculator, use it. Also check out the USPS website before you go setting your shipping price. The shipping price you set at this point is exactly what the highest bidder will be charged for shipping. Make sure the buyer is covering the shipping unless you're selling a very small item that can fit in an average envelope. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to set a low shipping price to bring in bidders, then lose most of your profit to cover the shipping charges. You'll also be asked about handling time in this section. This is the amount of time it will take you to get the item packaged up and taken to the post office. In reality, most people could have this done within a day. But give yourself some time, just in case something comes up and you can't make it to the post office for a day or two. Three days should be more than enough time to get an item shipped to the buyer. You'll also be asked about returns. Unless you're building a business selling items on eBay, I don't recommend accepting returns. This is for your own safety.

In the fifth and final section, you will be asked how you want to be paid. By Paypal is the easiest way to get paid. All you have to do is sit back and wait for the highest bidder to send the payment to your account. You'll also get an option to block bids from "buyers who might make transactions more difficult or expensive." Check this. You want your ebay sales to go as smooth as possible and not cost you an arm and a leg.


This is the worst part of the whole ordeal. You now have to sit around and wait for your auction(s) to end. Over the next few days you can check in on your auctions to see how they're going. More than likely they won't get any bids until the last day but you'll notice more and more people "watching" your auctions. They know there's no point in bidding until the last day, so they put it on their watch list. All these days in between are just to give more people time to see your item for sale.

Your Auction Is Over

The day finally comes when your auction ends. Bids have been placed and there is now a winner. Under "My eBay" you'll get plenty of information on your auctions. At first, you'll be able to see how much your items sold for, if the highest bidder has completed the checkout process, and if you have been paid. At this point, you just need to sit back and wait to get paid. Never ship an item before the bidder has paid.

Once they've paid, you can get the item all packaged up. In "My eBay" you'll be able to print off a prepaid shipping label or simply get the address of the person you're sending the item to if you'd prefer to pay at the post office. Once you've dropped the item off at the post office, you can mark the auction as "item shipped." Then take the opportunity to leave feedback for the buyer. Feedback is important on eBay. If the buyer paid quickly, give them good feedback. If it took the buyer days to pay, you might want to hold off on the feedback and make sure everything goes smooth once the buyer gets the item. Generally, as long as nothing goes horribly wrong then you should leave positive feedback. If the buyer has been a complete pain in your rear and made you regret using eBay, feel free to leave negative feedback, Now you sit back and wait again.

Once the buyer receives his/her item(s), they should leave feedback for you pretty soon. This is where everything comes together. If you described your item(s) perfectly, shipped quickly, and the buyer got the item in a decent amount of time then you'll be getting positive feedback. The more positive feedback you have, the more willing people are going to be to bid on your items in the future.

Where's My Money?

Paypal will hold your money for a while after the auction. When the auction first ends and the buyer pays, Paypal will probably tell you that you can't get your money for a month. Don't freak out! As you complete steps like marking the items as shipped and leaving feedback, the time will drop significantly. If you printed off prepaid shipping labels, the items will be tracked online and when it's marked as "delivered" then the time will drop again. Once the buyer leaves feedback, the time will drop again! And at this point your money should be available within the next day or two. If a buyer forgets to leave feedback, you'll have to wait a few extra days for your money to be available

Once your funds are released to you, you can spend them online using Paypal as your method of payment or you can transfer your funds to your bank account. It takes a few days to transfer the money, but once it's transferred you take that money out and physically touch it. Or you could just leave it in there until you need it.

Rinse And Repeat

That wasn't all that difficult, was it? Hopefully not. If you enjoyed your experience then you should continue selling things on eBay when you have stuff laying around that you no longer need/use. It's always a great way to make a little extra money.


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    • Cobrafan profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nowhere

      Thank you!

    • snigdha.s profile image


      6 years ago from India,mumbai

      Very useful Hub.voted up and shared

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks so much for the info. I have thought about doing this and here is a great step-by-step guide!

    • Cobrafan profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nowhere

      Good luck with your auctions!

    • ASchwartz profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks for the info. I'm planning to sell some of my kids old clothes and toys.


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