Ebay Tips

Ebay is the place for bargains, and is a niche for gently used pre-owned items.  It started as a small offshoot of a personal website in 1995 and now is a multi-billion dollar company in over 30 countries.  Here are some tips on finding Ebay bargains:

1.  Finding Items

Finding the best deals on Ebay is a combination of a.) knowing how to use Ebay’s search tools, and b.) patience.

Start by typing something into the main search box, for example: Panasonic camera.  If you get many results, you can limit by price, size, color, condition (new or used), etc.  You can also sort the results by:

  • Time, Ending soonest  (Look for auctions with zero bids that are about to end.)
  • Time, Newly listed  (The best deals go quickly, so it can help to look at new listings)
  • Price and Shipping, Lowest first
  • Distance, Nearest first  (For furniture, cars, or other bulky items, look for local sellers.)

Ebay’s listings change constantly, so if you don’t find a good deal, check back later.  To help with this, you can “follow” an Ebay search to get email updates when new items are posted.  To do this, after you search for something on Ebay (using the box at the top of the page) look for the “+Follow this search” link at the top of the search results.

2.  Is it a Good Deal?

To know if the listed price is a good deal, you can see how much similar items have sold for.  To do this, scroll through the options on the left side of the screen to near the bottom, and check the option “sold listings”.  The items that show up will have prices in green – that is the actual purchase price of items that were recently sold.

Also, keep an eye on shipping charges.  Each seller sets their own shipping charges.  Most are reasonable, but sometimes you see an item priced cheap, but with a high shipping charge.

3.  Deciding to Purchase

To assure that you’ll have a good Ebay experience, make sure that there are pictures of the item from all different angles.

Also look at the sellers feedback rating.  That will be a percent value located near to the sellers name.  That number should be as close to 100% as possible.  In the Ebay world, anything below 99% is not a great rating.

4.  Purchasing the Item

There are two main listing types on Ebay: Buy-it-now and Auction.. 

Buy-it-now.  These items have a fixed price, and purchasing them is simple.  Some also have a “Make Offer” button.  You can click that to suggest a lower price, and get a response back from the seller.

Auction.  Auction items have a button to “Place Bid”.  The ad will tell you how much time is left in the auction and how many bids.  As noted above, it can be a good strategy to sort items by “Time, ending soonest” and look for items whose auctions are about to end, but don’t have any bids yet.   If you win an auction, you have to go back into the Ebay website to pay for your item.


Becoming an Ebay Seller

Anyone can also become a seller on Ebay.  It can help you declutter your house and earn some cash.  Here are a few tips on Ebay selling:

How Much is your Stuff Worth on Ebay

Five Essential Supplies Needed to Start Selling on Ebay

My First 90 Days as an Ebay Seller

Best Time of Year to Sell Things on Ebay

Selling a Baby Carrier, Sling, or Wrap on Ebay