Top tips for selling your old stuff on eBay (and actually making cash)

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:52 PM

Here are some tips from experts Only sell valuable stuff Understand the fees Avoid the scams Optimize your title Take great photos Don't try to profit from shipping charges

Too much clutter, too little money, too many gifts you didn't like... an eBay auction is one of the simplest solutions to all three issues.

If your trash might be someone else's treasure, an eBay business is simple to start and accessible to just about anyone. "It has low start-up costs and it can be started out of your home," noted the New Life Auctions blog, written by sellers who have been active since 2000. "You can work at your own pace and on your own time."

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Within that flexible framework, though, are certain strategies for making far more money and clearing out a lot more junk as an eBay seller.

 

»Here are 10 tips from NLA and other experts: 

Only sell valuable stuff

Yes, you're trying to profit by selling stuff you don't want, but you want to make sure there are some potential buyers who will disagree with you. Start by perusing eBay's own list of what's selling well.

Understand the fees

While it's easy to enter the world of eBay sellers, sales involve fees and you'd do well to balance them against earnings, according to NLA, which offers an eBay fee calculator that allows you to compare which listing formats and categories have the lowest fees, and how much each listing upgrade will deduct from your bottom line.

Avoid the scams

You might be surprised to learn that plenty of the scams that surround eBay sales affect sellers. "Many of the scams take advantage of sellers not knowing all the rules for safe trading on eBay," NLA said. "It is very important for a seller to completely understand PayPal's seller protection program." One scam involves a buyer using PayPal, waiting for the item to be delivered and then opening a dispute with PayPal if you didn't check "delivery confirmation."

If you don't use PayPal's "signature confirmation" option to sell higher-priced goods on eBay, a scammer might open a dispute with PayPal claiming the item wasn't received. "Unable to show proof of delivery, PayPal takes the funds out of the seller's account and returns it to the scammer," NLA noted. The blog outlines other potential scams and ways to avoid them, including credit card chargeback, fake money order and "you have been chosen to sell our products" scams.

Optimize your title

Your title, not the item description, drives search results. Include critical keywords, using a search of keywords for similar completed listings to guide you. Try to include the same keywords as the listings that sold for the highest price. Avoid words like "look" or "incredible" in your title, advised NLA, since no one uses those words to search. If you have a few words leftover in your title, consider adding a common misspelling of the primary keyword to catch the eye both of bad spellers and bargain hunters who search using commonly misspelled listings

Emma Drew, who blogs about money on EmmaDrew.info, said you should include terms you would use when searching for something on eBay. (Be sure to check out her "10 weird things that actually sold on eBay" post each month.)

Spell it right

Most people can't find listings with the primary keyword spelled wrong. That means fewer bidders. 

Take great photos

A picture may not be worth the proverbial thousand words on eBay, but it's pretty close. eBay itself recommends these tactics in its section on taking great pictures:

  • Use a plain, uncluttered backdrop to draw attention to your item.
  • Turn off the flash, instead using diffused lighting to prevent shadows and reflections.
  • Use a tripod to prevent softness and blur.
  • Fill the frame with the item.
  • Capture all angles, details and blemishes.
  • Show the scale.
  • Don't use props.
  • For fashion items, use a model, dress form or mannequin so buyers can see fit.
  • Shoot shoes from different angles so buyers can see the front, top, sides and bottom.

List on Thursday nights

It is common knowledge that eBay auctions ending on Sunday evening are the most profitable and popular, noted Drew, and listing for 10 days on a Thursday gives you two Sunday nights. 

Allow international buyers

"Every bid counts, even if it comes from the other side of the world," according to NLA. "Odds are they won't win the auction, so why not let them bid?" If an international buyer does win your auction, you are able to charge a separate handling fee to compensate for your time filling out the customs form. You'll also want to make it a policy to insure all international packages.

Don't try to profit from shipping charges

If your shipping rates are unreasonable, most buyers will be on to you in a flash, according to NLA. "People know that they are being ripped off and they will leave your auction and not return. Charge a reasonable handling fee." 

Resist the urge to end an auction early

If someone e-mails you with an offer that requires you to end your auction early, don't take it, NLA urged. Even the best early offers are usually just a fraction of what your item is really worth.

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Avoid the biggest mistake in estate planning 

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 7:00 PM

When it comes to finalizing your plans for what happens to your assets after you die, there is one simple mistake many people make - which could put your plans in jeopardy, according to a Centerville C.P.A. A will is the key first step, but only about half of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 have one, according to Mark Bradstreet, C.P.A. with Bradstreet and Co. 

For those that do have their wishes planned out, the biggest mistake they make is not communicating those wishes to family members. “To not let anyone know where your will and documents are - if you don’t do that, then for all intents and purposes, you never had a will,” said Bradstreet. “If you die without one, the state uses their own rules to effectively come up with a will for you.”

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Having a will is clearing the first hurdle, but what comes next is what really helps your heirs after you're gone, according to News Center 7's Rachel Murray. A will lays out who gets what when you're gone - your home, cash, vehicle, and heirlooms - and not having one can be a disaster. "There was a lot of legal difficulties associated with the estate - one lost her home and you can't access bank accounts, things like that," said Don Cook from Mechanicsburg who has many children and grandchildren. 

To avoid any confusion after you're gone, Bradstreet recommends writing a letter to hand-out to trusted family members that include, "where your will is at, who has got it, who is your attorney, safe deposit keys - a lot of people will go ahead and list out their different assets, and their different account numbers."

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Sharing your wishes with family can be tough. "Most people, including my wife, doesn't like to talk about it and I don't like to talk about it either mortality, but I want to make sure that my kids are taken care of," said John Noyen of West Chester. 

There are many online forms to create a will yourself, but Bradstreet recommends consulting with an attorney who will help you make sure your wishes are carried out when the time comes.

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This app may stop robocalls for good 

Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ 12:19 PM

At home, at work, on your smartphone- robocalls are targeting people at all hours of the day and night.

Michael McCann is fed up with all the robocalls especially the sneaky ones with “spoofed” phone numbers. 

“The local ones make you feel like it’s somebody you know within the area,” said McCann in an interview with our sister station WPXI. 

Now, there’s a way to fight back. 

An app called RoboKiller claims to stop the scammers in their tracks and even allows you to exact some revenge. 

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The app won a contest sponsored by the F.T.C. and is billed as a highly intelligent and constantly-growing database which blocks hundreds of thousands of phony numbers. 

If a scammer calls you from a new phone number RoboKiller remembers the scammers voice and can add that new number to their blocked calls list, according to RoboKiller V.P. Ethan Garr.

You can also have a little fun with the scammers with a feature called Answerbot.

You choose from a list of sarcastic, interactive recordings which answer the call and have long conversations with scammers to waste their time.

“They think they are talking to a human and it drives them insane,” said Garr.

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Some Answerbot conversations have lasted 40 minutes, Garr said, and that’s 40 fewer minutes for the scammer to try to steal other people’s money. 

McCann tested RoboKiller for a week and he was impressed.

“So far so good. I’ve had no robocalls,” said McCann, “I think it’s very important to have something like this if you want to make sure your privacy is protected.” 

The RoboKiller app costs $24.99 a year. 

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Millennials bypass starter homes, new studies show

Published: Thursday, May 10, 2018 @ 11:42 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2018 @ 6:12 PM

Millennials bypass starter homes, new studies show

A growing trend among millennials is expected to have a wider impact on the real estate market.

Studies and stats show that millennials are putting off buying a home. In fact, many are skipping a starter house altogether and saving up for a home they will live in into retirement, according to USA Today.  

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Seventy-five percent of first-time home buyers would rather skip a starter home, according to a 2016 survey by Bank of America. 

Millennials lived longer at home or rented for a longer period of time, allowing them to save a larger down payment to purchase the home of their dreams, analysts said. They also purchased more homes last year than any other generation, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

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Gas prices could rise due to Trump’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2018 @ 10:55 AM
Updated: Tuesday, May 08, 2018 @ 6:40 PM

(image: Pexels)
(image: Pexels)

UPDATED @ 6:35 p.m.:

Gas prices could spike now that President Trump announced withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

“It a double negative to not have the deal and also have those prices go up,” said Tom Tudar of Dayton. 

Analysts say the move could remove a million barrels of oil a day from the global supply, according to News Center 7's Rachel Murray. 

Right now, the lowest gas prices in the Miami Valley can be found at a few stations in Springfield at $2.46 a gallon. 

To find the cheapest gas prices near you, go to whio.com and click on "Pump Patrol".

Many motorists in the U.S. are already paying three dollars or more for a gallon of gas, but the Miami Valley might be spared from hitting that benchmark.  

Right now, the national average price of $2.81 a gallon is 45 cents higher than a year ago, and prices are expected to increase, according to AAA.

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Motorists on the west coast and Idaho, Utah, and Pennsylvania are already paying three dollars a gallon for regular unleaded, with California drivers paying the highest amount, $3.63. 

The current average for the Dayton Metro area for regular gas is $2.61 up from $2.14 a year ago, and up four cents from last month, according to AAA stats.  

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will talk to a local AAA expert to find out why gas prices are rising and whether we can expect them to level off or decrease any time soon. 

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