how to sell on ebay | pricing your item

This is the first part of a series on how to become a successful eBay seller. Many of you have asked for specific tips, and though I'm definitely no expert, I thought I could share what I've learned over the past few years of buying and selling on eBay. :)

Would you like to start selling on eBay for profit? You'll need these three secrets in your back pocket to help you list and sell your items successfully:

1. Know your item.

It's incredibly important to know the market value of your item. Don't try to sell it based off the price you paid for it three years ago. You have to know what that item sells for right now.

How do you know? After you log in to eBay, type in the name of your item in the search box, then check completed listings on the left sidebar {near the bottom}. It will look like this:

{notice the completed listings box is checked on the left}

You can see what iPads have sold for in the past 30 days by looking at the green amounts. Red means unsold. Avoid basing your item's worth on the red ones. Base it on the green ones. You'll want to look through all the listings to get a feel for the average.

If you can't find a single green sold example of your item, chances are that it won't sell for you either. Try listing it on Craigslist where it's free to list and relist forever. :D

2. Be a good deal.

Being a good deal is crucial if you want to turn over your inventory quickly. You will know the bottom range of your item's worth by checking the completed listings, and you'll want to price your item to fall a little above that.

A good deal sells, and most of the time it's only a few dollars under what you want to sell it for. Factoring in your time and the relisting fees, it's worth it most of the time to be a little lower than most items like yours.

If you're really needing the extra dollars, you can price it in the higher range, but realize it may take longer to sell.

3. Choose auction-style or buy it now.

Choosing your buying option makes a big difference in how you will sell your item. Buy it now is less risky, but costs significantly more in both listing and commission fees. If you really need to make a certain amount, do the math on the fees and price it accordingly. Listing as a BIN will ensure that you get the amount you want.

Most BIN purchases are generally higher than the average market cost. When you price a BIN toward the lower range, your item will likely sell very quickly. Frequent eBay shoppers have saved searches and get notified when the item they are looking for is listed.

Selling auction style is a little more risky, but the listing and commission fees are less, and if your item is described well and in good condition, you will probably get market value or a little higher. And you know exactly when your auction will end and you will need to ship the item.

The most important thing about pricing and listing your item is that you put effort into studying it: know what it's worth, and know how to price it based off the profit you need to make and how quickly you need to sell it by studying the completed sales stats.

And of course, describe it very, very well. But I'll share more about that next week!

Q: Everyone does it differently: how do you price your item to sell?


  1. I thought I was a somewhat seasoned eBay seller (thanks to tips from my husband) but I did not know about the "Completed listings" filter!! I am going to make use of this for sure.

    I usually search for the item I want to sell and then watch current listings to see how much it goes for. If I'm in a hurry to get rid of something, I price it on the low side as I sometimes just want things out of my hair, but wouldn't mind making a little bit off of the item. Thank you so much for this post! I look forward to the future ones.

    P.S. You mentioned listing fees. My husband and I each get to list 50 items/month with no listing fee. I *think* that perk is available to everyone regardless of how much you've sold in the past, etc. It seem like they have a day every month or two where you can list items for free. I always try to take advantage of those days as the items I list that day doesn't count towards my 50 free listings a month.

  2. Sarah{Handbags*N*Pigtails}January 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Did you ever sell your old Messenger(Fossil) bag? Im still interested:)

  3. I do!! If you will email me @ mandy @ I will send you details if you're interested! :D

  4. Christine @ IDreamofCleanJanuary 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Very helpful! I've been listing things on Amazon b/c it's so easy but there are definitely some items I should try to sell on ebay. For some reason ebay has just seemed overwhelming to me. I'm sure if I would just sit down and try it once, I'd get the hang of it. So, maybe I will now. Thanks for the tips!


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