Selling secondhand items on eBay

By 05/08/2020Home, Top Tips

You’ve spent the last few weeks decluttering, and now you have a pile of used clothes and household goods to sell on. Where do you turn? To eBay, of course.

eBay is one of the best known and established online marketplaces. In fact, it’s over 20 years old, giving it plenty of time to build up a large following of bargain hunters. But there’s also a large number of sellers, so you need to make sure your stuff stands out with our top tips. 

Selling secondhand items on eBay Urban Locker

Clean and repair your stuff

Even though we expect second-hand goods to show some wear and tear, it’s always best to clean and make any repairs you can before listing your item for sale. Taking a little care in your photos will show that you are more likely to have taken care of the item while you were using it. 

Wash and iron clothes before listing them. The newer they look, the better. Clean and polish furniture, bikes, household items and shoes. You don’t have to go as far as repainting or removing scuffs, but do what you can to minimise them. 

Take good photos

The first thing buyers see on eBay is a picture of your item, so make sure it’s appealing. Make sure:

  • You have good lighting for a clear image, not too dark
  • Look at the background to remove clutter and distractions
  • Always check for reflections in mirrors and polished surfaces
  • Make sure your photos are clear and not blurry
  • Take pictures of every angle and close ups of every mark
  • Photograph any extras that will be included – original packaging, wires and cables etc – to make it clear

Research your market

eBay has a great feature in the advanced search function, which allows you to look at similar items that have sold. Use this to research the average selling price of your item so you know where to position it. You might also want to dig deeper, and see what details those successful sellers added to their description. 

Selling secondhand items on eBay Urban Locker

Consider your postage, costs and fees

Before listing your item you need to think about the additional fees you will incur. Ebay charge a percentage of every item sold, and you have to offer Paypal as a payment option, which incurs further fees if buyers choose to pay that way. 

You can offer collection only, which gives buyers the additional security of checking the item before they make any payments. If you are posting the item, make sure you weigh it carefully first so you can compare prices between using Royal Mail or a courier. 

Don’t forget the costs of packaging. For one or two items, you might consider this negligible. But when you are selling lots of individual parcels, the envelopes, parcel tape and bubble wrap can add up. Breakable items need to be packed securely. Our box shop has a choice of strong boxes and packaging options to make this easier

A final consideration is your time and effort. You may not put a price on this at first, but if hours of your time are spent listing, answering comments, packaging and travelling to the Post Office, you need to consider if it’s worthwhile. 

Listing your item

Listing your item is key to getting it found. You need to consider what a buyer will type into the search facility to find it, and put the key information in the title in concise wording. 

Add as many characteristics as you can, as buyers will refine their search dependant on what is important to them. 

Make sure your description contains as much information as you can. If you have an item that is opened but brand new, perhaps clarify why. Was it an unwanted gift? If it’s relevant, explain how often something has been used. Make sure you list all defects and any damage, and highlight that a picture has been included, so that buyers can judge for themselves how relevant the scrape is. 

List all the extras you are including, such as cables, instruction manuals. If something is in your picture but not included, make that clear. 

As a private seller of second-hand items you don’t have to offer a returns policy, although you may choose to for added confidence, particularly if you are a new seller with low feedback points. If you do, make it clear who has to pay for the return postage costs. 

Finally, make your description stand out by using the font options and changing the colours. Invite buyers to view your other items and consider offering a combined postage option to encourage multiple purchases. 

Selling secondhand items on eBay Urban Locker


eBay sellers are awarded feedback from buyers, so you want to do all you can to avoid negative feedback marks. Communicate with buyers throughout, answering questions and dealing with issues promptly. 

Send the buyer any tracking information provided by the courier, and keep your own proof of postage in case items are lost en route. Once your item has arrived with the new owner, make sure you leave them feedback as a buyer. 

Storing your secondhand items

If you’ve listed everything on eBay, but you can’t wait for it to sell to free up space in your home, consider your own self-storage unit. A small unit, the equivalent of a spare cupboard, maybe all you need to keep your stuff clean, damage-free and out of your way while you wait for your buyers to come and get it. If you need help, call us today on 020 3637 0850.