In one of my financial articles here on Helium.com I talked about how doing some simple “completed item” research on Ebay may provide knowledge that could bring you in some extra bucks. Sometimes, though, even during such a search, a unique item won’t show up no matter how much research you do.
If you have some unique items on hand, you can do a completed item search on eBay or other venues and no information will be available. It might be a good idea then, depending on the size and weight of your unique item, to try listing it for sale to determine its true market value to try to gain some fast and easy money in return. You might be pleasantly surprised (or you might not, but as long as it’s not a big investment to list, it never hurts to try).
For instance, at a local auction I bid and won a box of dog chew toys that were mixed in with a couple of old ratty looking rag dolls. I paid $2 for the whole box, mainly because, with pet toys costing so much in stores these days, I went for the rubber squeakers for the pup (always a good idea to thoroughly clean and sterilize such items first before giving to your dog). I almost threw the five old rag dolls away, they were in beat up condition.
First, though, I decided to do a completed item search for rag dolls, but none of my rag dolls were listed. Still, I had only paid $2 for the whole box, including these dolls. And they were lightweight, so would be easy to pack and ship.
I washed the dolls, they still didn’t look that great, but since my initial investment for these items was so small I took a chance and put each rag doll on eBay, starting around $3.99 each. To my surprise, three sold for $3.99 each and one that was made by Hasbro turned out to be a collectible rag doll. It was in rough condition but I was explicit about the used condition in the listing and it still went for around $45.
Look around your house for unique items, but consider your costs first before deciding to list. Is the object in question smaller, so can be easily shipped, or is it very large, which will entail freight costs (although the buyer usually pays shipping, you still have to find freight services, cost, whether they will pack or you will pack, etc., so don’t forget such considerations when deciding whether or not to list your unique item for sale).
Of course you can always have a buyer pick up a larger piece, but, unless you are willing to load a heavy item and meet an unknown buyer in a safe public place, giving out your home address to a stranger can sometimes create some potential safety problems
If you paid a great deal for the item and are hoping to break even with the impending sale, don’t forget that you’re still going to have to pay listing fees on some online marketplace sites and, if sold, final value fees at times. On the other hand, if you have a unique item that is just taking up space, even if you did pay a lot for it at one time, wouldn’t it be better to have that gone and have a little extra money for it in your pocket instead, even if you don’t break even? Depends, of course, totally on the item, whether it’s something you can or want to sell, whether it will be overly cumbersome to ship (don’t forget, the post office now charges by weight and size of package, not just weight alone).
Plus, you won’t know what the item will bring, what buyers will be willing to pay, until you list, so that’s a little bit of a gamble, which is why it’s important to consider all upfront costs first. Also, depending on which online auction site or marketplace you choose, if it’s a site you’re not that familiar with, you may want to read the board forums first to see if there are a lot of problems with non-paying bidders, etc. Still, in these harder economic times trying to list and sell a unique item that you no longer want or need in exchange for some extra money might be something to consider.
There are other venues besides eBay that are auction style sites, but, unlike eBay, they don’t charge for sellers to list. One site that is gaining in popularity, where it’s free to sell, is www.buysellit.com. Another is www.ecrater.com. eBay is the best known and largest online auction site, so you will automatically get more exposure there in most cases. Still, a lot of the free marketplace sites are getting good reviews from both sellers and buyers so you might want to check a few of those out as well. Another alternative to eBay that is growing rapidly is Bonanzle at www.bonanzle.com. Here sellers don’t have to pay to list although when something sells they are charged a final value fee (although Bonanzle’s final value fees are cheaper than eBay’s).
There are several such alternative marketplaces and many of them are totally free to list. To find them type in “free marketplace” into your favorite search engine (don’t forget to include the quotation marks to narrow the search or you may end up with more information than you can handle at one time).
Whatever you decide to try to sell online in return for possible fast and easy extra money, always remember to first consider all costs, outward and hidden.