eBay & Second-Hand Selling Tips

Easily declutter, flog & make money

how to sell on ebay

Many old items you have sitting around at home can be worth serious cash, but to really get the money rolling in on eBay, you need to know the etiquette and shortcuts. This is a crash course on how to sell on the giant auction site, as well as other second-hand marketplaces - also see our 29 Facebook Selling Tips.

47 eBay & second-hand selling tips, including...

  1. Know where to start

    As well as bringing in extra cash, eBay* can help you declutter your home and be environmentally friendly too – after all, if people are reusing your goods rather than you flinging them into a tip, everyone gains.

    Selling on eBay isn't just for those in the first flushes of a major declutter either – continually selling things you no longer use can provide regular ready money.

    When you catch the eBay bug, it's almost addictive watching the bids flow in; the pounds can quickly add up, especially as you're profiting from stuff that was just picking up dust.

    Committed MoneySavers on our eBay board make £100s a year – although of course how much you make depends on whether you're flogging a few cast-offs or trading full-time. For more ways to bring in extra cash, read Boost Your Income

  2. Not used it for a year? Flog it

    Companies stock check to value their assets, and you can do the same – walk through your home to find items of value you no longer need, then flog 'em.

    Use the 12-month rule of thumb to help decide what to offload. Haven't used it for a year? Sell it.

    Here's what sells best; if what you're selling doesn't fit into any of these categories, the pounds can still add up, and you'll benefit from a more orderly home.

    • New items. Cellophane-wrapped DVDs and frocks with tags fetch a higher price.

    • Branded goods. People trust a 'Black & Decker drill' over an 'electric drill'.

    • Items with keywords. Ask yourself "will someone search for this?" People are more likely to search for a 'Ted Baker shirt' than a plain ol' 'shirt'.

    • Rare commodities. Rare or difficult-to-get-hold-of items always sell well.

    • Job lots. If you've little time and heaps of similar items, consider selling them as a bundle – this works especially well with baby clothes. But sell expensive branded goods individually – don't bung Prada in with Primark.
  3. Don't bin it, 'Bay it

    Don't be too quick to cry "that's rubbish" – sell everything. When it comes to eBay, one seller's junk is another man's treasure, and it's astounding what people will fight to buy.

    Faulty electrical items, for example, shift well, as clever bods fix them or use them for spares. Always be upfront about an item's condition though.

    MoneySavers have made a quick buck selling used carrier bags, magazine cosmetic samples and even a broken Nintendo Game Boy that had fallen down the toilet. For more bonkers sales, read the Sell Your Rubbish guide for a full list.

    You might not want to go as far as this MoneySaver did though...

    I sold my false teeth, got £20 for them.
    - leezed

  4. Scan barcodes to see what old books/CDs etc might be worth

    If you've got something with a barcode on it and want to know what it's worth, there's a quick way to check. It could be you've kept something in its original packaging or it's an item which just has the barcode printed on it – like a DVD, CD or book.

    Simply download the free eBay app for iPhone or Android, open it up and tap the search bar followed by the barcode symbol. Your mobile now becomes a barcode scanner, via its camera.

    Point your phone's camera at the code and you'll see it on screen – the app will scan the code and then list identical items for sale. To see what items have fetched in the past, select the 'sold items' filter.

    This trick isn't just for selling on eBay – even if you want to sell elsewhere, it can give you a good idea of an item's value. But if you do decide to sell on eBay, scroll down in the app and select 'sell one like this'. eBay will instantly add the product information it has in its catalogue for similar items.

    If you have something without a barcode, it's possible to snap a pic, then the app finds similar items. See how to turn your phone into a 'what's it worth on eBay' checker.

  5. Buy first to build your profile and ensure you can sell at a decent price

    Before flogging your cast-offs on eBay, buy a few small items you need; you can buy everything from tights to toothpaste on eBay and may well save cash to boot – see our 40+ eBay Buying Tips.

    This will give you an insight into how the site works and build up your feedback rating. Few buyers will do business with sellers who have no feedback, and even if they do, it means your item is unlikely to fetch its market value.

    The worst mistake you can make is log in for the first time and try to sell a pricey item, such as an iPhone, when you've no feedback.

  6. For buyers... find super-cheap local bargains

    Whether they're offering designer sofas, dishwashers, Wiis or children's books, sellers on eBay often specify items must be collected in person. This often means fewer bids, which means there are bargains to be had.

    You can search for 'pick-up' only items listed as 'collect in person' via eBay's advanced search tool. But we've also built a tool that allows you to speedily track and map gems near you.

    The savings can be massive, such as this one made by MoneySaver Jen_Jen1985:

     "Had been looking for a double buggy – most ended up selling for around £40. I found one via the Local Deals Finder and ended up winning it for £1.24."

    To search for bargains in your area, head to our Local eBay Deals Mapper.

  7. Spy on what others do to get tips on how to sell your stuff

    The joy of eBay is you can see exactly how much other items have sold for and how other sellers have described their wares. Search for the item you want to sell, then on the left-hand grey bar, tick to show only 'sold listings'. You'll be able to see how many bids similar items attracted and how much the winning bids were for.

    Spotted a product identical to yours? Click 'Sell one like this', which automatically fills in a lot of the listing form for you – don't copy descriptions or pictures wholesale from another listing though.

  8. You pay 10% of the price of every sold item

    eBay* offers 1,000 free listings a month - this was boosted from 20 in March. The site charges sellers two fees for basic listings.

    • 'Insertion' fee. This is the basic fee to list an item – normally a flat 35p per item. However, you can list up to 1,000 items a month (at any start price) without paying any charge, so you're unlikely to pay this.

    • Final value fee. If and when an item sells, you have to pay a flat 10% of the final sale price, including postage. This applies to every item, including those listed for free. The final value fee is capped at £250, ie, you pay 10% on items up to the value of £2,500.

    If the buyer pays by PayPal, it usually takes 3.4% of the total sale price, plus 20p per transaction.

  9. eBay vs Facebook – which pays the most?

    Second-hand selling used to be all about eBay, but now local Facebook selling groups and the social network's Marketplace are hot on its heels.

    With Facebook the best bit is there are NO fees, so you keep all the profit – yet with eBay you've a wider audience, as most Facebook sales are local. (For a crash course in how to earn £100s this way, see our Facebook Selling Tips.)

    We wanted to put this to the test, pitting eBay against Facebook to see where you could get the most for your wares. So we crunched the numbers on sold prices for 20 items, from trainers to Nutribullets, to see which site pays best.

    Our spot check found sellers got more on Facebook than eBay for 14 out of 20 items, once fees were factored in. For full results and more findings, read MSE Jenny's eBay vs Facebook – which wins? blog.

  10. Take advantage of 'sell for £1 max' weekends

    There are a few little words every regular eBay seller loves to see in their email inbox: "Sell for £1 max!"

    Every so often, eBay runs promos where you pay final-value fees at no more than £1 on all items you list over a certain period. The promos usually run for two or three days over a weekend.

    These can be a great time to get selling, particularly if you have expensive items you want to shift. For example, if you sold an iPhone for £200, you'd usually pay £20 in final-value fees. With this offer, you'd pay just £1.

    It's worth noting some of these promos are targeted at individuals, so keep an eye on your emails to see if you've been sent an RSVP link. If you have, you need to opt into the promo by clicking on it before listing any items.

    The items just need to be listed during the promotion period, they don't have to sell within this time to qualify. See the full terms and conditions if you're sent an invite for the offer.

  11. Got an old iPod, Game Boy or Walkman lying around? It could be worth £100+ on eBay

    Nostalgic tech fans will pay big money on eBay for your discarded gizmos – we've seen Sony Walkmans fetch £350, Game Boys £165 and original iPods £190.

    Of course, unused items in mint packaging fetch the most. Yet less-than-perfect artefacts can still go for a tidy sum.

    The easiest way to check if you're sitting on a goldmine is to search for the item on eBay, then tick the 'sold items' box on the grey left-hand bar to see what similar items have gone for. Even if you don't want to sell on eBay, it can give you an idea of potential value.

    Here's a list of classic gadgets that are well worth digging out of the loft (all prices are for used models). Even if yours isn't listed below, always check before you chuck – it only takes a few seconds.

    • Sony Walkman – up to £350. This chunky portable music player was iconic in the 1980s and '90s – now it's making a comeback. We've seen the well-regarded 1980s WM-D6C cassette Walkman go for £350 and the TPS-L2, as featured in Guardians of the Galaxy, for £300. Discman CD players can sell for £130.
    • Old-style iPod – up to £190. Released in 2001, first-generation iPod MP3 players with their 'click wheels' can fetch £190 on eBay. We also saw a second-generation model (released in 2002) go for £100 and Shuffles go for up to £100, depending on the generation.
    • SNES console – up to £180 with games. In 1990 you were the coolest kid in school if you owned a SNES. And they're still in demand – we saw a bundle with 11 games go for £180. Sega Mega Drives are worth dusting off too – a console with eight games sold for £205.
    • Retro boombox – up to £475. Spend your youth blasting tunes from an enormous boombox? You might be in luck. Sharp is the most sought-after brand – a GF-777 went for £475. Other classics include the JVC RC-M70, which sold for £220, and the Philips D8444 (£130).
    • Casio calculator watch – up to £130. Three decades before the Apple Watch, there was the Casio calculator watch. If you've one of these 1980s collector's items in a drawer, dig it out – Databank models go for £130, though £50-100 is probably more realistic.
    • Nintendo Game Boy – up to £165. The original model of the popular 1990s handheld console can achieve £100 – more if games are included. Popular for its backlit screen, the Game Boy Colour 101 goes for £165. Rare games can be worth a few bob too – we saw a pair of Zelda games reach £120 (Oracle of Seasonsand Oracle of Ages).

    If you've profited from old-school gadgets, please let us know

  12. Is your old My Little Pony, Tamagotchi or other retro toy worth £100s?

    If you have My Little Ponies, Polly Pockets or other retro toys languishing in the loft, now's the time to dig them out. Collectors could be waiting to snap up your unwanted relics for £100s. 

    The quick way to find an item's value is just to plug the model into eBay and hit 'sold items' on the left-hand side. It will show how much similar listings went for.

    If you're not sure exactly which model you have, a quick Google for fan sites should help you identify its features and markings.  

    To inspire you, here are some of the old-school toys we've found in hot demand. (All prices below are for used, unsealed toys.)

    • 1980s My Little Ponies. Original 'Generation One' (G1) 1980s/'90s versions of the cute toys can fetch £100s. We've seen a G1 Ice Crystal Pony go for £240 and a bundle of 63 less-rare 1980s ponies go for £300 on eBay. To identify your pony, try sites such as Strawberry Reef, which catalogue them.
    • Polly Pocket sets. Discontinued in 1998, tiny Polly Pocket doll sets can go for £235. We saw a bundle of nine items go for £331.Proud owner of a Polly Pocket Secret Jewels case? One recently fetched a whopping £456.
    • He-Man and She-Ra toys. "By the power of Greyskull!" All the rage in the 1980s, toys based on the classic kids cartoon can now go for big money. We saw a Masters of the Universe Battle Cat sell for £332, a She-Ra castle for £333 and a Castle Greyskull with figures for £206.
    • Tamagotchis. Child of the 1990s? You may remember taking care of a virtual 'Tamagotchi' pet. Certain early versions of the small electronic toys could now fetch you a pretty penny. A 'Tamagotchi P Dream Coffret' recently went for £100 and a 'Plus Colour' for £80.
    • Early Transformers. Enthusiasts will often pay £100+ for G1 versions of the popular transforming robots from the 1980s. A G1 Superion Aerialbot fetched £99, a Crossblades £77 and a Menasor £77.

    If you've profited from old toys, please let us know.

  13. Sell for more using the right keywords, eg, 'thong' beats 'knickers', 'sneaker' tops 'trainer'

    If you want to earn more on eBay, tweak your vocab. In 2016, boffins at Birmingham City University trawled over 68,000 completed UK eBay listings to find the keywords most likely to entice buyers.

    Some examples of what the results showed:

    • Perfumes with the word 'authentic' in the description sold for £34 on average, those that used 'genuine' just £21.
    • Shoes labelled 'sneaker' fetched £32, those labelled 'trainer' just £21.
    • Listings mentioning 'thong' brought in £41, and those mentioning 'knickers' £10.

    The researchers analysed over 15 million words in the listings of the items most recently sold when they started their study and worked out an average sold price for each word.

    The study also showed that spelling and grammar mistakes lower items' values, probably because they suggest a careless attitude. For example, fashion listings described as 'men's' closed at £31, but 'mens' only £19. Some innocuous words aren't safe either – car sellers should avoid 'time waster', 'honest' and 'reliable'.

    Check out the list of keywords for the most popular categories below. Describe your item accurately, but try to use high-value terms and avoid low-value ones where possible.

    Of course, some of the most effective words describe items that would fetch higher prices anyway, eg, 'Apple' in the tablets category. Equally, some low-value terms are unavoidable, eg, if you're selling darts – found in the toys and games category – you have to use the word 'darts', yet many terms are interchangeable.

    The best and worst keywords revealed

    Here are some of the best and worst words to use for 14 of eBay's most popular categories. The data is an average of both buy-it-now and auction listings that included those terms.

    •  

      Best keywords for women's fashion 

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Yuna £45
      Thong £41
      Skechers £40
      Onesie £40
      Tracksuit £37
      Pants £37
      Sandal £36
      Medium-warm £36
      Raincoat £36
      Sneaker £32
       

      Worst keywords for women's fashion

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Mules £6
      Cm £6
      Length11 £6
      Blonde £4
      34.6 £4
      Inaccuracy £3
      Frequency.if £3
      Flattering £3
      Misinterpreted £2
      25.5 £1
    •  

      Best keywords for men's fashion

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Bomber £113
      Industries £113
      Swoosh £81
      Cushioning £73
      Tongue £73
      Cortez £65
      Nike £65
      Midsole £65
      Outsole £65
      316418 £65
       

      Worst keywords for men's fashion

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Etc. £7
      Hat £5
      Trapper £5
      Fabricfaux £5
      Foroutdoor £5
      Include1 £5
      Seasonwinter £5
      Stylefake £5
      Weight165g £5
      Fur £5
    •  

      Best keywords for home & garden

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE

      Bugs

      £264

      Bug

      £264

      Sail

      £82

      Diquat

      £80

      Shams

      £72

      Reconditioned

      £68

      Ryobi

      £68

      Duvet

      £68

      Comforter

      £65

      Bidet

      £58

       

      Worst keywords for home & garden

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE

      Countrys

      £6

      Chainsaws

      £6

      Poulan

      £6

      Appreceate

      £6

      Ebay.com

      £5

      Toll

      £5

      Bic

      £4

      Wicks

      £4

      Mcculloch

      £4

      Disappoint

      £4
    •  

      Best keywords for baby items

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Carrycot £400
      Reversible £209
      Hauck £209
      Wheels £209
      Jogging £163
      Evolva £100
      Britax £96
      Facing £96
      Positions £85
      Medela £82
       

      Worst keywords for baby items

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Elastic £3
      Vests £3
      Headwear £2
      Flower £2
      Band £2
      Bibs £2
      Hoodie £2
      Christening £2
      Babygrow £2
      Badges £0.99
    •  

      Best keywords for furniture

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Natuzzi £1,508
      Editions £1,508
      Pouffe £1,508
      Furnimax £1,508
      Settee £789
      Divans £750
      Comfort £750
      Photoshoot £750
      Crendon £750
      Hypnos £750
       

      Worst keywords for furniture

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Procedure £28
      Foreigners £28
      Footstool £27
      192 £26
      Units £26
      Pouf £25
      Etc. £25
      Aspace £25
      Cistern £20
      Cane £17
    •  

      Best keywords for toys & games

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Layouts £395
      Powerbase £395
      Repainted £135
      Fatigued £135
      Chipped £135
      Goblin £63
      Superbikes £61
      Minichamps £50
      Tardis £40
      Flight £40
       

      Worst keywords for toys & games

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Defective £4
      Blow-up £3
      Wrapping £3
      Unconfirmed £3
      Non-defective £3
      Striving £3
      Beforebidding £2
      Settling £2
      Darts £2
      N-strike £2
    •  

      Best keywords for men's fragrances

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Perfum £146
      Sprayed £30
      Boss £30
      Authentic £30
      Skincare £29
      Order £28
      Paco £28
      Parcel £28
      Wholesale £28
      Pre-recorded £28
       

      Worst keywords for men's fragrances

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Ethics £14
      Lasting £14
      Skin £14
      Oils £14
      Evaporate £14
      Longest £14
      Beckham £11
      Concentrated £11
      Calvin £10
      Klein £10
    •  

      Best keywords for make-up

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE

      Cheek

      £41

      Corrector

      £25

      Bloggers

      £24

      Fibres

      £23

      Stilas

      £23

      Stearate

      £20

      Nars

      £20

      Transform

      £19

      Selfridges

      £19

      Talc

      £18

       

      Worst keywords for make-up

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE

      Housekeeping

      £1

      Non-seller

      £1

      Overflow

      £1

      Rosin

      £1

      Mistake.and

      £1

      Dazzling

      £1

      Glazewear

      £1

      Necessary

      £1

      Youve

      £0.45

      Labial

      £0.41
    •  

      Best keywords for DVDs

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Seasons £28
      Sybil £20
      Einstein £20
      Films £15
      Supernatural £13
      PS2 £12
      Muscials £10
      Puppets £10
       

      Worst keywords for DVDs

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE (1)
      Insufficient £2
      Unclaimed £2
      Actor £2
      Murphy £2
      2009 £2
      Category £2
      Charities £2
      Dedicated £2
      (1) Prices rounded to nearest pound.
    •  

      Best keywords for laptops

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Retina £1,000
      Applecare £868
      Mavericks £750
      Full-size £463
      Diagonal £463
      Superspeed £463
      Layer £463
      Backlit £460
      Movies £424
       

      Worst keywords for laptops

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Lid £100
      Installed £100
      Wifi £100
      Included £97
      Working £97
      Yes £79
      Tbf £77
      Vista £65
      XP £20
    •  

      Best keywords for tablets

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Apple £169
      Display £116
      Wifi £99
      Charger £91
      Resolution £80
      Scratches £77
      Working £75
       

      Worst keywords for tablets

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Micro £50
      Slot £50
      Operating £45
      Covered £45
      Tablet £41
      Android £38
      Google £38
    •  

      Best keywords for mobile phones

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Serial £179
      Brand £179
      Refer £178
      HD £160
      Accelerometer £150
      Non-transferrable £150
      Computing £150
      Speakerphone £141
      Voice £137
       

      Worst keywords for mobile phones

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Loudspeaker £48
      Italiano £45
      Clock £45
      Cell £45
      Mains £44
      Handsets £36
      Nokia £35
      Keypad £30
      Qwerty £19
    •  

      Best keywords for CDs

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Symphony £40
      Dutchman £40
      Wigan £17
      Mixed £17
      Anthems £17
      Elton £12
       

      Worst keywords for CDs

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Boys £2
      Rick £2
      Steve £2
      Happily £2
      Located £2
      Producer £1
    •  

      Best keywords for cars

      HIGHEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Mercedes-benz £4,251
      Isofix £3,256
      Adjustment £3,211
      Folding £2,881
      Audi £2,600
      Sport £2,575
      Climate £2,400
      Auto £2,372
      Headlights £2,150
      Conditioning £1,701
       

      Worst keywords for cars

      LOWEST VALUE TERMS AVERAGE SOLD PRICE
      Seats £1,428
      Lights £1,140
      Timewaster £1,075
      Minor £1,046
      Slight £900
      I've £776
      Honest £700
      Reliable £695
      Sensible £455
      Clio £235
  14. Research what products are hot with a nifty tool

    Want some inspiration on what to sell? You can quickly research potential markets with the handy eBay Most Popular Tool. Type in a search term and it generates a list of the relevant auctions with the most watchers and bids. As an example, type in 'games console' and you'll get a list of the most popular gaming items on eBay.

  15. Learn the lingo with our eBay jargon buster

    eBay pros use certain initials to get their message across. These are useful for cramming extra information into titles without exceeding the character limit. Don't go overboard though, or newbies won't have the foggiest what you're on about.

    This is the most commonly-used eBay jargon:

    • BN: Brand new.
    • BNWT: Brand new with tags.
    • BNIB: Brand new in box.
    • BIN: Buy it now.
    • VGC: Very good condition.
    • NWOT: New without tags.
    • NWOB: New without box.
    • HTF: Hard to find.
    • NR: No reserve.
    • VTG: Vintage.
  16. Describe your item in detail – warts & all

    Now it's time to sell and market your product. To write a good description, think about what you'd like to know if you were buying the product yourself. Include the brand name, condition (new or used), specifics, model numbers, size, precise dimensions, style and colour.

    While you want to big up the product, ensure the description's accurate. It might be tempting to describe a shirt as 'like new', but if it turns up with kebab stains on it, the buyer will give you negative feedback and may demand their money back.

    Always run your description through a spellchecker, especially the title. Showing how important spelling is whenn it comes to selloing on eBay, tools such as FatFingers, BayCrazy, Goofbid and BargainChecker are dedicted to profiting from people's slip-ups. Listings with spelling errors, especially in the title, usually sell for less.

  17. Get to the top of the search results

    As everyone who works for a web-based business knows, there's no point creating fantastic content if nobody can find it. It's crucial to write your listing in your customers' language and use the terms they search for – especially brand and product names.

    When buyers search, eBay only looks for words in the listing's title (although buyers can opt to search the title and description if they want), so every word counts.

    Imagine what you would search for. Take 'stylish plunging-neckline plum dress' – no one's going to search for 'stylish', 'plunging-neckline' or 'plum'. Try something like 'new size 10 purple silk Whistles dress' and you'll cover far more of the terms buyers are likely to search for.

    Even better, use Goofbid's nifty and free eBay Pulse Tool, which shows the most popular search terms buyers use, by category. For example, 'perfume' is the second most popular search term in health and beauty after 'Dior', so a listing titled 'Dior perfume' is more likely to get noticed than one called 'Dior fragrance'. 

  18. Upload quality snaps to show buyers exactly what they're getting

    Digital photo camera. 3D Icon isolated on white background

    A decent picture's paramount – you might get away with not including a photo of a Moana DVD, but no one pays good cash for a painting if they haven't got a good idea of what it looks like.

    eBay used to charge for pictures, but now lets you upload 12 for free. It's easy – just click 'Add from computer' or 'Add from mobile device' in the 'Add photos' section of the listing form.

    Ensure you've got good light when taking photos – if you're taking photos of something outdoors, like a car, try to do it on a sunny day. If it's an expensive item, take shots from different angles, as well as close-ups and distance shots.

    Use a plain background – buyers won't be enticed if see a mirror showing you in your Y-fronts in the photos. Take close-up photos of slight imperfections – ideally next to a ruler to show the scale of them – so buyers can inspect them, as they're more likely to buy if they have a good idea of what the flaws are like and may leave you good feedback for your honesty.

  19. Lower your starting price to draw in bids – unless it's a niche product

    Selling on eBay is a balancing act: set the starting price too high and no one will bid; set it too low and there's a risk your item will go for a knock-down price.

    As mentioned above, searching completed items will give you an idea of the prices similar items have fetched, giving you a guide to how much money you can expect to make.

    Consider lowering your starting price to attract more attention; boffins at London Business School and Northwestern University in the US did some research on this topic, and found auctions with modest starting prices sparked more bidding and fetched higher final prices. 

    The exception is products you expect little interest in; the petrol cap of a 1974 special edition VW Beetle may be niche, but someone who wants it could be willing to pay a good price for it. Set starting prices higher for items only specialist buyers will be after.

  20. Close auctions on Sundays, when eBay's busiest

    Avoid ending auctions at 4am, when few people will be up and about in the UK – often bidders prefer to swoop in in the last few minutes, hoping others won't have time to fight back.

    According to eBay, its busiest time is Sunday evenings, so aim to end your auction then. 

    But remember, if you're aiming to sell your item to a buyer another country, such as the US, you should tweak the end time of your auction to suit that country's time zone. 

    Prior engagement? You can schedule 20 of your listings for free, so you can choose when the auction begins and ends.

    You can find more tips on the Best day/time to end eBay auctions forum thread.

  21. Sell in high season

    Think about seasonality – sell stuff at the right time of year; few will be searching for Christmas crackers in July or barbecues in December.

    The closer you can get it, the better. If you're flogging an air-conditioning unit, for example, wait for a hot spell and pump up the price.

  22. Use eBay as a free removal service

    Don't pay the council to collect old sofas or broken washing machines. Put them on eBay for 1p – or on Freecycle – and people with the skills to fix them may buy them, and collect them from you. 

  23. Go global to attract more bidders

    Selling to overseas buyers boosts the number of potential bidders. When expanding your empire abroad, you have two options: sell to overseas bidders via eBay UK or list your auction on that country's eBay site.

    If you think an item will be more popular in a specific country, such as the US, it may be worth listing it on that country's eBay site, as it will be more attractive to locals because it will appear in their currency and appear higher up in searches.

    Whichever you choose, always add a higher postage charge, otherwise the extra cost will eat into your profits. This isn't worth going for bigger, bulkier items, as the high postage costs will outweigh any gains for the buyer.

      • Sell to overseas buyers via eBay UK

        The easiest way to start exporting is by allowing overseas buyers to bid on your eBay UK auctions. To do this, edit your Selling Preferences.

        This will make your listings appear when people outside the UK search for items from international sellers. Different charges and procedures may apply when sending goods overseas though, so look into these first.
         

      • Sell via international eBay sites

        To do some hard cost comparisons, search for completed items on eBay UK to reveal exactly how much similar items are selling for. Then repeat the process on the international eBay site.

        If it's fetching more dosh there, sign into that site and start your listing as usual. To get you started, the other main eBay sites are in AustraliaCanadaFranceGermanySpain and the USA. There's more information on eBay's How to sell internationally page.

        Bear in mind that this way your item will be sold in the local currency. PayPal will do the conversion for you, but use our free Travel Money Maximiser tool to get a rough estimate before listing your item.
         

      • Always get proof of delivery

        Some scammers claim an item hasn't arrived when it has and claim their money back through PayPal, meaning you lose your cash. This is more common with high value items such as iPhones – some MoneySavers will not sell to foreign buyers for this reason.

        The only way to protect yourself against these bogus claims is to get a valid proof of delivery – to qualify for eBay's seller protection, you need 'online documentation from a postal company' that has 'delivered' status, the date of delivery and the buyer's address. For items valued at over £750, signature confirmation is also required.

  24. Use eBay selling instead of renting

    The economics of trading are fascinating. The fluidity of eBay as a marketplace means stuff often moves quickly and at a reasonable price, which has a bizarre effect on some purchases.

    Imagine you're intending to keep something for a limited time – you need a small TV for a few months or want a computer game for a few weeks. In the past, renting was cheaper than buying, but with eBay, buying it, using it, keeping it in good nick, then flogging it can actually undercut renting.

    In fact, if you buy something for the cheapest possible price – see our Cheap Online Shopping and 40+ eBay Buying Tips guides – then re-flog it when you're done, it's perfectly possible to get as much back as you paid for it, so the period you used that item for doesn't actually cost you anything.

  25. PayPal charges sellers, so avoid it – if you can

    The standard way to pay on eBay is using online payment system PayPal. This works well for buyers, as it's free and affords extra protection.

    When selling, the argument's reversed – PayPal takes 3.4% of the amount paid, plus 20p for each transaction. Add this to eBay's fees, and it's a fair whack.

    Unfortunately, eBay requires all sellers to offer PayPal as an option, but if anyone's willing to pay by cheque, you'll make more money. If you're selling a bulky item that must be picked up in person, say you'd prefer cash on collection.

  26. Use free software to perfect your pics

    Smartening up your photos increases your chances of selling your item for more, but top-end graphics software can cost £1,000s. Instead, download a free photo editing suite, where you can crop, resize, touch up and polish your pictures before sharing them. Be careful not to mask any flaws or damage though.

  27. Go for 10-day auctions to ensure the max number of bids

    When listing an auction, you can choose whether it lasts one, three, five, seven or 10 days. The longer your item is advertised, the more chance people will see it, so unless it's time-sensitive, pick 10 days.

  28. Know the rules around paying tax on eBay sales

    If you're flogging unwanted stuff such as cast-off clothing or a second-hand stereo, there's NO tax to pay. But become a trader, make or buy goods with the intention of selling them, and it IS taxable. There are some grey areas, so read this HMRC guide to work out if you need to tell it about income made from online sales.

    There is a £1,000 trading allowance that can be applied to earnings from 6 April 2017.

    Essentially, it means people don't have to report the first £1,000 they earn from selling goods and casual services (such as gardening) – including via the likes of eBay – to HMRC. See our £1,000 tax breaks will be back in new finance bill news story for more info, and visit Gov.uk for full details.

  29. Stick to the law for listing and selling products

    If you're a trader – a person who makes or buys goods with the intention of selling them – the buyer has the same statutory rights as when buying from a shop. This applies to new and second-hand items – see the Consumer Rights guide for more information. Traders are also required to register as business sellers with eBay.

    If you're a trader and sell using the buy-it-now button, rather than just a standard auction format, then Consumer Contract Regulations apply. Under the regulations, buyers have 14 days after the item is received to let sellers know they'd like to return the item. They then have another 14 days to return it.

    It's worth reading eBay's returns guide for more help.

    Be careful with descriptions

    With private sellers it's caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. Buyers' only rights under law are that the product is fairly described and the owner has the right to sell it. Under eBay's own rules buyers are also eligible for a refund if the item's "not as described", ie, it doesn't match the seller's description.

    Business traders' sales are covered by the Consumer Rights Act whether or not they use buy-it-now. This means goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described. Therefore business traders need to be more careful with descriptions than private sellers.

  30. Build your reputation by selling as you'd like to be sold to

    To build an array of sparkling feedback ratings, you need to deliver goods speedily and in the condition advertised. While not a legal obligation, offering good customer service will boost feedback and protect you from problems.

    So how can you get top marks? The key is to put yourself in the buyers' shoes – how would you like to be treated?

    Describe the item accurately, reply to questions promptly and try to dispatch within 48 hours. Let the buyer know when you've dispatched, email them the postal tracking number and include an invoice in the package.

    Another nice touch is to email a message along the lines of: 'Hi there, I've just sent your lovely puzzle/pineapple earrings/plastic parrot. Hope you enjoy it/them as much as I did – please shout if you have any questions.'

  31. Never bid on your own auctions

    Don't bid on your own auctions with another account to boost prices – this is known as shill bidding. It's illegal to push up a price artificially by bidding against yourself or by getting family or friends to do so.

  32. Popping something in the post? Show off your package

    Hoard large envelopes and other packaging materials – big brown paper carrier bags are a good substitute for brown paper.

    Make sure items are secure and nicely packaged. Traders often like to add a personal touch by including a business card or wrapping good quality clothes in tissue paper. 

    Some eBayers even use popcorn instead of polystyrene to pack around fragile goods – buy kernels in bulk, cook the popcorn without oil and let it cool. If you're sending an item internationally, watch out, as some countries have tight controls on importing food, so always check this before packaging this way.

  33. Make sure you price the postage right

    The buyer pays for postage, so when listing goods, you must specify a postage cost. Try to be as accurate as possible, because if the price specified is too low, you'll have to make up the difference, and if it's too high, the buyer may give you bad feedback.

    Don't forget to factor in packaging costs when calculating postage charges – buyers often don't expect to pay much more than the price of postage itself, so you may wish to factor packaging costs into the price of the item.

    To get an idea of prices, weigh the item and use the Royal Mail price finder. If you're posting anything weighing more than 2kg, it may be cheaper to use a courier – read the Cheap Parcel Delivery guide for full details.

    Postage costs are included in eBay's final value fee – see the eBay fees now eat into postage costs MSE News story for more details. The final value fee is 10% of the final sale price and postage (although it's capped at £250 per item), so sellers should factor this into their postage charge to avoid being left out of pocket.

  34. Get proof of delivery to beat the cheats

    It's not just buyers who get caught out by the unscrupulous – sellers can too. One problem for sellers is a buyer winning a pricey item such as a MacBook, then saying it never arrived and claiming the cash back – even though they have the item.

    To qualify for eBay's seller protection, you need 'online documentation from a postal company' that has 'delivered' status, the date of delivery and the buyer's address. For items valued at over £750, you'll also need signature confirmation.

    You must also have sent the item within the number of days you promised in your listing, which eBay calls your "handling time" – read eBay's Seller Protection FAQ for more details.

  35. Send to the address on eBay OR PayPal – even if they conflict

    According to the eBay Seller Protection guidelines, if the buyer's address on the PayPal transaction details page differs to the one on the eBay view order details page, sellers will have met their shipping obligations with regard to the eBay Money Back Guarantee as long as they send their item to one of the addresses.

  36. Block dodgy buyers

    Discourage dodgy buyers by adding a requirement that you'll only accept bids from buyers with a certain feedback score. To do this, in My eBay, click the 'Account' tab, then 'Site Preferences' under 'My Account'. In the 'Selling Preferences' section, scroll down to 'Buyer Requirements' and click 'Show'. To the left of 'Block buyers who:' click 'Edit' and then tick the box under 'Buyers with a negative Feedback score' and click the 'Submit' button at the bottom of the page.

    You can also block specific buyers – if you get enquiries from a buyer before your auction ends and don't like the cut of their jib, just add 'em to your blocked list.

    While most negative feedback is likely to be justified, buyers who casually leave negative and neutral feedback for sellers most people would consider decent are an issue. To check if you're dealing with a cranky curmudgeon, go to their profile, click on Feedback profile and then on the Feedback left for others tag. 

  37. Be prepared to refund

    An item may arrive damaged because you didn't package it up well enough, or a buyer could be disgruntled because your description was inaccurate. If you're in the wrong, it's only fair to refund the buyer, whether or not you're legally obliged to – and you could limit the damage to your feedback score. If payment was made by PayPal, be sure to refund that way.

  38. Set up a bank account just for eBay

    Consider setting up a bank account specifically for paying your eBay earnings into – that way you'll see the cash pile up, rather than it just disappearing into your current account. Some MoneySavers then spend what they've made on Christmas or a holiday – see the Top Savings Accounts guide for best buys.

  39. It's not just eBay – don't forget you can sell on other auction sites too

    While eBay is massively dominant, eBid is a decent-sized alternative. The advantage of using it is that it charges sellers less than eBay, which means some prefer it. On the downside, your auctions are likely to get less exposure than they would on eBay, so could get fewer bids and, ultimately, earn you less money.

    Comparing charges is tricky, because all auction sites have different fee structures.

    eBid lets you list items for free and charges 3% of the final sale price with a free seller account.

  40. Sell for free on classified sites

    With local classified sites, the buyer usually collects in person and pays cash on collection, which means no eBay, no PayPal and no fees – hurrah!

    The king of 'local' classified sites is Gumtree, which covers the entire UK and lets sellers list for free. Interestingly, Gumtree is owned by eBay, but thankfully this hasn't affected its free community-based operations.

    Many MoneySavers rate second-hand site Preloved*, where placing ads is also free. Try Loot, local online forums and your local paper too.

  41. Turn your phone's camera into a 'How much can I get for this?' fun checker app

    Got an old ukelele/unicycle/yoga mat and want to know how much you could get for it on eBay (or elsewhere, for that matter)? We've an easy trick to track down similar items available on the site to get a steer.

    Download and open the free eBay app for iPhone or Android, then tap the search bar followed by the camera symbol, point your phone's camera at the item and snap a photo – the app will search eBay for matching objects and show lookalike items listed for sale.

    When we tested this, the items listed were not always identical, but many were along the same lines.

    If an item has a clear brand or title, it's often easier to search in the traditional way, using that. For example, we searched for a book with a bird on the cover with the photo checker, and it suggested hundreds of different books about birds.

    Alternatively, if you've got something with a barcode such as a book, DVD, CD or something still in its packaging, you can check prices by using your phone as a barcode scanner.

  42. Profit from old books

    Listing books one by one on eBay* may make you the most cash, but it'll take time. Amazon Marketplace* is a convenient place to sell old books as you only need to search for the book and write a short description (fees apply).

    If you need speed and ease, trade-in website We Buy Books lets you enter the barcode or ISBN and offers you a price – you can then post off your books for free. However, the prices offered are usually lower than you would get by selling them yourself.

    See the Get max cash for old books section of our Boost Your Income guide for a full list of trade-in sites and fees.

  43. Quicker cash for old CDs, DVDs & games

    Trade-in sites pay quick cash for old CDs, DVDs, computer games and Blu-rays, plus some electronics and clothing, making them a convenient option.

    When it comes to newer items, you're probably better off selling them individually on eBay, but hoarders of CDs and games from the 1990s and beyond could make £100s on the side – see the Quicker cash for old CDs, DVDs & more section of the Boost Your Income guide for a full list of trade-in sites.

  44. Can you profit from lost luggage auctions?

    Ever watched Storage Hunters, the US show where people bid for the mystery contents of storage units? Now you can do it yourself at lost luggage auctions.

    When airlines are unable to reunite lost bags with their rightful owners, they often sell them off via specialist auction houses for £10-£75.

    Find a winner and profit is possible from eBaying the content. For a full guide, including which auction houses do this, see our guide to Lost luggage auctions

    It's also worth checking out police auctions – forces in England and Wales use an eBay-style site, official eBay stores and even auction houses to sell lost property and goods seized from criminals when they can't find the rightful owner. It's a cracking way to get a bargain.

  45. It's not all about selling – consider giving to charity too

    From bras to Blu-rays, donating to charity shops is a fab way to declutter – and helps good causes at the same time.

    What charity shops will accept varies, though the examples below are typical. It's worth calling ahead to check if you're taking bulky items.

    • Oxfam. It's looking for clean books, toys, clothing (even bras), shoes, accessories and homeware. On the tech side, we're talking DVDs, games, CDs and mobile phones. It will even accept furniture (though give the shop a call before lugging a sofa over).

      Oxfam can't accept computers, medical equipment or anything broken/dirty. Electrical goods that run off the mains are also a no-no (though it says a few shops do accept these, so please check before donating). See a full list of what it can and can't take.
    • British Heart Foundation. As well as its high street shops, the charity has specific stores where you can donate electricals and furniture (as long as it's got the right fire labels). See a full list of items it takes at each type of store, including collection details.
    • Cancer Research. It will also accept electrical items, though not white goods (it still advises to call ahead and check). Other donations welcomed include clothing, bed linen, homeware, books and mobile phones. See a full list.

    Other big names to check include Age UKBarnardo's, Sue Ryder (which also has a free furniture collection service), Salvation Army and Scope.

    For bikes, try the Re-Cycle scheme, which distributes them to people in developing countries. For glasses, try Vision Aid Overseas, and for running shoes, Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe campaign. If you've old tools to donate, consider Workaid, which refurbishes tools for use in projects in Africa and the UK.

  46. Try Freecycle instead of binning

    Top-quality goodies are available daily across the country for FREE. It's all about web communities, and the big names are Freecycle and Freegle.

    Instead of binning goods or trying to eBay them, people offer them to their local community for free. In return, they hope they can grab something they want – see our Freecycle & Freegle guide for more information.

  47. Flog stuff at car boot sales – MoneySavers' top 10 tips

    Car boot sales can be a fun way of flogging lots of stuff in one go. You usually have to pay a fee though, so weigh up whether you'll sell enough to make it worth the trip.

    First, a little inspiration from forumite jessobel:

    In the end we made £450! Really pleased with the result. Apart from getting up at a god-awful hour, it was actually quite a pleasant experience. The stuff we sold was literally stuff we would have thrown away or donated.

    Here are MoneySavers' top 10 tips to help boost your coffers:
     
    1. Do your research. Some car boot sales are more popular than others. Search online directory Car Boot Junction to find one near you – it includes timings and seller fees, eg, Chirk Airfield near Wrexham charges £7 a car or £15 a van. It's not an official directory, so give the organisers a call if you want to double-check anything.

      Plus it also lists other types of sales, including indoor and specialist sales, eg, we found a computer sale in Bury, Greater Manchester.

    2. See if you can bring two cars for (almost) the price of one. If you team up with a friend, you can usually share a stall (and the fee). Some MoneySavers say they've taken two cars of things to sell, but parked the second car in the car park (there's likely to be a £1 or so fee) and brought things over to their stall when needed.

    3. Add a pound or two to the price you really want. That way buyers can haggle you down and feel they've got a bargain – when really they're paying the price you wanted all along.

    4. Use coloured stickers instead of price labels. Put a sign up to say what each colour means, eg, "Red: 50p, Blue: £1". Then you can easily lower the prices as the day goes on by changing the sign, eg, "Red: 25p, Blue: 50p".

    5. When packing your car, put your table in last. That way, it can come out first and make setting up easier.

    6. Go early to set up and make sure your doors are locked. It can be common for people to open your boot and start rifling through your wares before you've had chance to set up, so preparation is key. Make sure you get there as early as possible, and have your wares organised so you can set up quickly.

    7. Take food, drink, plastic bags/sheets and lots of change. A picnic will stop you spending your hard-earned cash at the burger vans. Buyers often ask for plastic bags, so if you have a stash at home it can be a good way to re-use them. Plastic sheets are handy if it rains, and the change is for your 'float' – keep it on you at all times, eg, in a bum bag.

    8. If you're trying to declutter, DON'T wander round the other stalls. Or you'll end up with more than you came with.

    9. Hang clothes up on a rail. Presentation is key – make your stall the Primark of the field.

    10. Grow plants and sell 'em. If you're good in the garden, you can grow plants from seeds and make a bit of money selling them at car boot sales. Plus MoneySavers say plants can attract buyers' attention and bring them over to look at your other items.
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