Doing It the eBay Way

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

There is something to be said for the lure of on-line auctions. While as a consumer it offers a look across the world at what sellers have to offer, it also provides a seller with opportunities once unavailable. For the average person who is looking to sell a few valuables which were found around the house, eBay offers a brass ring if only the seller is capable of grabbing it.


What Not to Sell

There are items that go unsold on eBay as there are at any yardsale or flea market. Yet, the problem with eBay is that each item costs to list on the auction cite regardless of its final sale. Therefore, there are some items which do not pay to be listed.

Buyers like new or like new products. That's not to say that used products don't sell, but evaluate them first. Antiques and collectables rarely matter in their condition. For instance, Breyer horses command resale values even if they're broken because collectors are looking to customize lower quality models. However, worn bridesmaid and prom dresses often close without bids; these items are in less demand due to fashion and sizing, especially if they're not in new condition.

Avoid the knick knack trap. Ceramic figurines that can be found at any dollar store in America aren't worth listing on eBay. They defy the rule of supply and demand - too little demand and too much supply.


Old or Gold?

There are items that resell regardless of their condition. Antiques are always a popular item as are hard to find collector's items or items that complete a series. Yet, other household items tend to be popular on eBay.

Brand name children's clothing is a popular search on eBay. Brand name clothing costs too much for toddlers who outgrow shirts before they show wear, yet used items offer the same brand for a smaller price. NFL and other officially licensed products do the same. For example, one toddler Dale Jr. NASCAR t-shirt cost $18 new. One year and two dozen washings later it resold on eBay for $7.50.

Factor in the Shipping

When pricing on eBay, shipping quotes are important. Buyers calculate this into their final purchase price. Make shipping quotes realistic, and be sure to get accurate weights with a scale or at the post office to assure proper charges. Adding a $1 handling fee for the cost of packing peanuts and tape is understandable. Adding $5 is not.


Avoid the stores such as QuickDrop that offer to sell items. They charge ridiculously high shipping and handling fees not to mention the fees for posting the item.

Talk to people who collect and ask where they like to search for items. Most likely one of the first answers you'll hear is eBay.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at or visit her website at


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