Turn Clutter into Cash

Looking for ways to supplement your income? One way to raise cash — and conquer clutter at the same time — is to sell your stuff on eBay.

Launched in 1995, this online marketplace attracts users from around the world who are interested in buying or selling just about anything, from cell phones and DVDs to cameras, collectibles and cars.

If you’re new to eBay, the company offers these 8 tips to turn your clutter into cash.

Make the tough decision

Part of the reason you may have items to sell is because you’ve been holding on to them for any number of reasons: An item may have been hidden in storage, had sentimental value, or you might have thought, “I may need this again one day”. The reasons you liked, and kept, the item will be the same reasons someone will want to buy it. Think back to the last time you used the item and honestly assess your need to keep holding on to it.

Get started

First you’ll need to become an eBay member by filling out the online registration form . Also, it’s a good idea to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the site and its features. Visit www.ebay.ca/selling for an online tutorial and step-by-step guide to selling your item successfully.

Go with quality

When you’re ready to start selling, pick items that are in excellent condition; otherwise, be very clear about what defects or problems they may have. There’s no problem selling used or quirky items on eBay, but no buyer wants to be surprised by when their purchase arrives in the mail. Use lots of pictures and be clear in your description; describe the age, size and condition of your item.

Stand out from the pack

Search eBay for your item to see what your competition looks like. Take clear, digital pictures of your item and include them in your listing. For the final touch, grab the attention of potential buyers by bolding or highlighting your listing title. And, play on buyers’ heartstrings by telling the story of your item such as where you found it and why you have you loved it.

Make sure the price is right

The starting price is one of the most important aspects of your auction. The key here is research: What are other sellers charging? How much have similar items sold for? Consider listing your items in U.S. dollars to draw more buyers from across North America and around the world.

Make payment easy

Most eBay members prefer PayPal, an easy way to accept debit and credit card payments. PayPal has no set-up or monthly fees, and is integrated into the eBay system. PayPal also lets you accept international currencies and helps protect you against fraud.

Be clear on shipping rates

Buyers shy away from auctions with unclear shipping rates. Make sure you specify shipping costs to all countries to which you’re willing to ship; and be sure to offer shipping to Canada and the US. eBay offers a built-in shipping calculator so you won’t have to guess at shipping rates.

Build a good reputation

Your feedback is your barometer of trust: the higher it is the safer buyers will feel making purchases from you. If you’re a first time seller, you can build your feedback by being a good buyer before you make the switch. Once you’ve made a sale, make it a habit to leave feedback for other good buyers, and kindly remind them to leave you feedback as well. Of course, the key to great feedback is good customer service. (For more information, visit www.ebay.ca/selling.)

Keep in mind that eBay does charge a fee for listing items to sell or auction. See the website for details.

And if you’re looking to score a deal…

If, on the other hand, your mission is to shop the site for deals, here are some quick tips for getting the most eBay bang from your buck.

Explore. It’s important to weigh all your options in an online marketplace. Check out what other sellers have to offer, don’t just buy the first thing you find. If you take your time and look around, you may find another seller with a better offer.

Decide on a price limit. Whether you’re on a budget or not, it’s always a good idea to set a price limit, not only so you don’t end up spending more money than you bargained for, but also to save time. Sorting by price range will help narrow down your searches.

Read the item description carefully. Before you buy, it’s always a good idea to look at the details of a specific item, as well as the shipping costs, payment methods accepted, and whether the seller offers a return policy.

Don’t be afraid to ask. If you have questions about the product, contact the store or seller before purchasing. All listings on eBay include a link in the Seller Information box to the “Ask Seller a Question” feature. Using this feature is an easy way to make sure that all your questions are answered before you buy.

Learn about the product and seller . Buyers learn about a seller through its feedback score, from previous purchases, from referrals through friends or from reviews and comments left by other shoppers.

Pay safely. PayPal is the preferred payment method for most eBay buyers. PayPal allows you to send payments quickly and securely online using a credit card or bank account. Never pay for an eBay purchase using a non-bank instant cash transfer service such as Western Union or Moneygram.

Have you bought or sold an item on eBay? Share your tips or experiences below.


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