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Ebay: A Great Place to Sell Yard Sale Treasures

Are you thinking that you would like to cash in on the millions of dollars that are changing hands on Ebay? But maybe you’re not sure what you should sell. Well then, let me tell you that yard sales may be a great resource.

Finding items to Sell on Ebay

I have had some good luck finding items to sell on Ebay. You’ll have to keep a few things in mind to help you succeed.

  • Buyers on Ebay are looking for good deals or bargains
  • You’ll have to pay listing and selling fees to Ebay
  • You’ll need a digital camera
  • Negotiate when purchasing at yard sales
  • Do some research before purchasing if possible

What to Look For

I have found for myself that furniture and antiques that have had the best results on Ebay. That may only be what I gravitate toward. If you have something that you are an expert in, like a certain collectible, look for things of that nature. I am not an expert about furniture or antiques by any means. But I have found that charming or unique things tend to sell.

Don’t Expect Huge Profits

Look for items that will make you at least $25-30 when you list them for sale on Ebay. You may find something that sells for big money here and there, but the bulk of the items you find probably won’t be of that caliber.

I have found that furniture items which can be sold for under $100 or, even better, for under $50 will get the most attention.

Negotiating Your Purchase

When you have found some items to buy at a yard sale, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller. I often cut the tag price in half and see if my offer is accepted. You never know and you can always increase your offer. Remember, people who are holding garage sales are looking to get rid of their things and make a few dollars. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of negotiating. The worst that can happen is that the answer will be no.

Make a Package Deal

If you are lucky enough to find several things that you think you can sell on Ebay at one garage sale, offer to make a package deal. Chances are that you will get an even bigger bargain this way. The owner will be glad to have sold several things at once and will like hearing the large number that you are offering. The breakdown per item may have less relevance.

Bring Cash and Go Early or Late

Make sure that if you go to some yard sales that you are ready to purchase. You may have someone who is on the fence about taking your offer, but if you have the cash in front of them, they may be persuaded.

Try to get to yard sales early. Often the best things are gone right away. Antique dealers often do the same thing to try to find items to sell in their stores and they hit the pavement early.

Another great option is to go at the end of the sale. If there are items which haven’t sold and the garage sale is almost over, the owner will be much more motivated to make a deal with you. This is a great way to make a package deal. Offer to take several items off the owner’s hands at a low price. You can always negotiate up.

Look for Unusual Items

yard-salesYou may try to find unusual items at yard sales. However, don’t buy things that are so way out that no one will bid in them when you list them on Ebay. Look for things that are unique. When I first started looking for Ebay treasures at yard sales, I though silver tea sets would make a killing. What I found, however, was that there were many, many silver tea sets listed on Ebay and so they don’t really sell for much money.

As I mentioned, I have had great luck with older and charming furniture. I found a heavily carved sideboard which was not necessarily my taste. But I was pretty sure that its carving would make it attractive to an Ebay buyer. It was tagged at $250, already reduced from $350. I offered $100 and my offer was accepted. I listed it on Ebay at close to $200 with no results. The listing expired. So, since I really wanted to sell it, I relisted it at $150. I would be up getting several bids and it sold for $305. Wow.

To Ship or Not to Ship

You may or may not want to offer shipping on your items for sale. In the case of the above mentioned sideboard, I listed it as local pickup only. Turned out a woman who lived in California bought it and arranged the shipping herself.

If your items are small and easily packaged, you should probably offer shipping. The expense will be that of your buyer and you can include a small handling fee to cover your packaging expenses.

If you are selling large furniture items, you don’t have to offer shipping. However, you may want to put a line in your Ebay listing which says something like: Buyer is free to arrange for packing, shipping and insurance at his or her own expense.

Include Pictures in the Listing

Make sure that you take some pictures of the items that you will be listing on Ebay. A digital camera makes it very easy. Photos will get your items noticed by buyers and should help you sell your garage sale items.

Be Honest When Listing Items for Sale on Ebay

This is quite important. You’ll want to get positive feedback from your buyers. This way, future buyers will feel secure about purchasing from you. If there are imperfections on your garage sale items, make sure that you state them clearly. You can also offer to email more pictures to a buyer if requested.

Do Some Research

Before you go out and spend money on items to sell on Ebay, spend some time on the site. Get a feel for items that are selling. You may want you first few yard sale purchases to be items that you can use. This way, if they don’t sell, you are not stuck with something you hate.

Once you have made a purchase and you are ready to list an item for sale on Ebay, check around. The item might just be worth more than you think. Check similar items that are listed for sale on Ebay and see if they are getting bids. You can also do a Google search and see if you can find out anything else about your item. Look for markings, labels or stamps on the item itself. These markings may tell you about the item, when it was made and about its value.

It will take some time and effort to find items to sell on Ebay at garage or yard sales. However, if you do a little research and buy wisely, you may just find yourself making a few extra dollars.

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