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How to Sell on eBay

Turn your possessions into cash and become an online selling machine.


  • Step 1: Sign up If you haven’t done so already, sign up for a free eBay account.
  • TIP: Before you auction off your belongings, establish a positive feedback rating by purchasing and promptly paying for a few eBay items.
  • Step 2: Enter item and categorize Click on the 'Sell' tab at the top of the page. Type in exactly what you’re selling and choose a specific category for your auction. You’ll pay a fee if you choose more than one category. If you have a seasonal item, wait until the right time of year to sell it.
  • TIP: People are willing to buy things – even broken items – that you’d otherwise throw away.
  • Step 3: Write description Title your auction and write a detailed – and honest – item description. Include related keywords to optimize search results. Mention problems or flaws – failing to do so could lead to negative feedback, which will make it harder for you to sell in the future.
  • TIP: Spell-check. Misspelled words in titles and descriptions can result in lower sale prices because fewer buyers may access your auction in searches.
  • Step 4: Snap and upload pictures Using a digital camera, snap several sharp, well-lit photos of your item and save them onto your computer. Then, click the 'Add a photo' button to upload to your seller page.
  • Step 5: Estimate shipping costs Estimate your shipping costs using eBay’s shipping calculator or a shipping web site’s calculator. These tools can help determine how much you should insure the item for, and explain tracking options like signature confirmation.
  • Step 6: Set opening bid Set the opening bid. When determining your starting price, research similar auctions to gauge a range, but remember – lower is usually better. Auctions that start at $1 or even 1 cent typically garner more traffic. But, If you want at least a certain amount for the item, set a reserve price that the highest bidder must reach.
  • Step 7: Set auction length Choose the length of time for your auction to remain open. Most sellers keep their items up for five to seven days. Avoid ending your auction on a Friday evening or Saturday, when many potential buyers aren’t in front of their computers.
  • Step 8: Determine payment method Select a payment method. Checks and money orders are common, but using PayPal, a service that allows funds to be deposited directly into a bank account, is the most popular. You can sign up for a free PayPal account at
  • Step 9: Submit your auction Proofread and double-check all the information on your seller page and hit the submit button. During the course of your auction, promptly answer emails from potential bidders.
  • TIP: Offer a clear and hassle-free return policy. Buyers are wary of any seller without one.
  • Step 10: Ship item Once your auction has ended, and after you’ve received payment, promptly ship the item. If it’s fragile, be sure to use plenty of packaging materials. Keep the tracking number in a place where you can find it.
  • Step 11: Wrap up sale You’ve completed your eBay sale. Thank your buyer, leave some positive feedback, and head to your closet to scrounge up another item for the auction block.
  • FACT: In 2008, an Australian man auctioned off his entire life on eBay – selling his house, car, clothes, and even his friends for $380,000.

You Will Need

  • Something to sell
  • A computer with internet access
  • An eBay account
  • A digital camera
  • Shipping supplies

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