How to Make Money on eBay – Things to Sell to Make Money from Home

Whether you want to shift a few old belongings or set up an online business, selling on eBay can be an ideal way to rake in extra cash by finding things to sell to make money from home. 

Regardless of your intentions, learning the ropes before getting started is crucial to ensure you’re not missing any tricks and that you’re on top of the fees. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this guide, I’ve crammed as much information on how to make money on eBay coupled with the things to sell to make money on the platform. With patience and consistency, you’ll start raking in the big bucks. Read on!

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woman taking closeup cell phone photos of items to sell on eBay

Want to get started right away? Create your free eBay seller profile here.

1. Decide What to Sell

Whether it’s your Pokemon card collection or old textbooks, before putting an item on eBay, it’s important to take the time to decide what you’ll sell and the condition it’s in.

While you might be eager to start earning an income on any item you can get a hold of, you might make the grave mistake of selling items that aren’t in tiptop condition or lack crucial parts. That leads to negative reviews for your eBay business, making it an uphill battle to sell other items on the site. 

If you’re stumped on what to sell, the platform’s Marketplace Research tool can be your holy grail in discovering the items in high demand. Additionally, it won’t hurt to check out the most-watched items and those with the most bids. 

Doing so will give you an idea of the products that sell. You can also think seasonally.

For example, you’re unlikely to get a wealth of bids on a pair of sunglasses during winter rather than when the sweltering summer rolls around, so keep them neatly tucked away until the right time. You’re more likely to earn more money if you wait for the hotter months when the demand is higher.

2. Buy Cheap Items to Sell at a Profit 

Besides selling items you no longer use, it’s worth considering low-priced things to sell at a profit. Whether it’s a garage sale, on an online platform, or at your local charity shop, there’s a wealth of places to find great deals on products. 

Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that you may lose cash if you’re unfamiliar with the price of a particular item on eBay, which is why we recommend conducting your due diligence. 

Once you’re confident that a seller has undervalued an item, you can swoop in and buy it and resell it for what you think it is worth and make a profit. Depending on the product, you might be lucky enough to sell an item on eBay for up to ten times the price you bought it. 

3. Improve your eBay Profile

The best way to get the ball rolling on the platform is to become a buyer.  As a result, other users can see you have an eBay history which makes you trustworthy.

Even if you buy a few low-priced items, paying them promptly and taking the time to leave a positive review (if possible) can build up your eBay presence and get you a great buyer rating. 

Another crucial step is coming up with a username. As you do so, keep in mind that the name you choose will be the name of your small business by default, so you want to be wise about it.

Choose one that will instill immense confidence in potential buyers, for instance, a name that’s relevant to the items you’ll sell. That also makes it a breeze to find you in eBay searches.

4. Research the Seller Costs

Before you start making money on eBay, you need to work out just how much an item is worth and the amount it will cost to sell it.

Although it’s a no-brainer you want to make a decent profit, there are extra costs applied when selling on eBay that you need to know about to avoid unwarranted surprises. 

Ecal is a nifty tool that calculates the amount you’ll pay per sale, depending on what you list it for and the amount it eventually sells for. You can run your item through this system to determine the profit you can make.

It’s worth noting that:

  • You’re allowed up to 1,000 items monthly for free, after which you’ll incur a cost per item
  • There are additional charges for optional listing upgrades, such as listing your item or adding a subtitle in different categories
  • Based on the amount you sell on eBay, you might need to pay tax

5. Keep an Eye Out for eBay Seller Promotions

Occasionally, eBay runs promotional sales for private sellers. Keep your eyes peeled for these, as you’ll likely receive an email with a link for activation.

If you can be patient enough for these offers to come around, you can sell your higher-priced items and save a considerable amount of cash on seller fees. 

The offers may include paying reduced eBay fees per listing. Check your seller account page on eBay and head over to the current promotions section to utilize the offers.

Beside each offer, you’ll see ‘Active,’ which means it’s been applied to your account, or you’ll need to click a button for activation. 

6. Charge the Best Price for Your Items

Once you narrow down the list of items to sell on the online marketplace, you can use the eBay advanced search tool to discover similar prices

Once you search for the item you want to sell, tick the ‘completed listings’ box to see heaps of similar items to your search. For DVDs and CDs, you can find out their worth by referring to second-hand websites. 

If you can scan the barcode of your items, you’ll get an accurate valuation, after which you can increase your selling price slightly on eBay unless you receive an offer you cannot pass up. 

Additionally, ensure you price your item accurately, or you may end up out of pocket, and that’s the last thing you need. Note that high postage fees can be off-putting to some buyers, so we recommend adding any mailer envelopes or tape to the cost of the product.

7. Capture Attention with Low Bids

While it’s tempting to initially price your items high, starting with low bids will land you better sales on more profitable items in the long run. This is because low bids will catch the attention of more potential customers and result in a competitive bidding war as the items approach their last days of bidding. 

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that this pointer doesn’t apply to niche items. If it’s an item that an avid collector is on the quest for, avoid setting the initial bid too low as you’re unlikely to receive a boatload of bids on such products. 

You have free rein to add a minimum cost (the reserve) if you have concerns about being shortchanged, which means the product won’t be sold unless it reaches the minimum selling price. 

8. Capture Great Photos 

A clear photo of the item you’re selling boosts credibility. A potential buyer is more likely to continue bidding on eBay if they’re confident they can see an accurate representation of what you’re offering.

If the item on sale has extras such as batteries, boxes, or batteries, capture them in the photo as well. 

While you don’t need an impressive camera to get the job done, utilize the macro mode (if possible) and autofocus, both of which will work magic on close-up photos. Natural daylight is also the key to capturing clear shots.

However, extra lighting such as a desk lamp in a dimly lit room can also do wonders if you avoid shadows. eBay allows you to upload up to 12 photos per listing. 

9. Launch Auctions during Peak Times

Before you jump right in and post your listing, think about the most opportune time to open the bidding. Generally, Sunday evenings are perfect for wrapping up auctions when casual buyers skim through the site for items. 

As such, auctions start getting heated.  If you opt for the maximum 10-day action (which boosts the chances of getting more bids), list it on a Thursday evening to elevate your exposure to potential buyers.

As mentioned earlier, if you’re selling a seasonal or themed item such as sunglasses, consider the time of year that would be best for it to go on eBay. 

For instance, early October would be an ideal time to start listing costumes or fancy outfits, as people usually begin their hunt for Halloween party outfits online. 

10. Craft Compelling Product Descriptions

Here comes the hard part that entails crafting captivating product descriptions. The process can’t be rushed as a great description can make the difference between a customer buying your product and scrolling past it. 

eBay allows you to use a title of up to 80 words, giving you the flexibility to make it as eye-catching as possible. That’s your chance to make it concise, clear, and filled with the relevant keywords to make your item a breeze to find. 

So, without further ado, let’s walk you through the process of writing eBay product descriptions. 

Avoid Spelling Errors

Typos can make it difficult to find your listing on the searches. 

An Accurate, Concise, and Informative Description

To do so, highlight the selling points and key features of your item. 

eBay Acronyms

Use catchy phrases such as ‘very good condition’ (VGC), ‘Brand New’ (BN), ‘Brand New with Tags’ (BNWT), or ‘Brand New’ (BN). 

Honesty Is the Best Policy

If you’re selling an item at a throw-away price because it has a few issues or defects, be honest about that to avoid negative reviews and customers demanding a refund. 

Your Reason for Selling It 

If relevant, include why you’re selling the product and its frequency of use. 

Include Extras

Your items will fetch a higher price if you have the manual, packaging, and other extras it came with. 

Contact Information 

Leave your contact details and invite potential buyers to reach out to you with their queries or concerns. Doing so boosts your credibility as it shows your willingness to be transparent with them. 

Include the Terms and Conditions

These entail payment details, refunds, packing, and postage for potential buyers to know what they’re getting themselves into. 

HTML Function

You can use this feature to make your description snazzier with alluring colors and fonts while maintaining professionalism. 

The Right Category 

Listing your product in the relevant category will make it easier to find. To do so, search for your product to discover the category in which similar items are listed. 

Link to Other Sales 

If you’re selling lots of similar products simultaneously, link them to each other in your product descriptions. 

Wording 

To get your creative juices flowing on how to word your product descriptions and draw inspiration, take note of how top sellers have described their higher-priced items. 


Things to Sell To Make Money on eBay

With insight into how to make money on eBay, we’ll walk you through the best items to sell on the platform for a greater chance of quick profits. 

Before you can start selling, you’ll need to create a seller profile here.

1. Legos 

As a timeless favorite, legos have stood the test of time. You can profit from reselling legos on eBay by:

  • Purchasing mixed legos and reselling them by weight
  • Buying pre-owned sets in good condition to resell
  • Purchasing new sets at a discount and reselling for a profit (retail arbitrage)
  • Buying new sets, holding onto them until they are discontinued, and selling for a profit

The most ideal places to hunt for legos are thrift stores and yard sales. At times, you may find them on the Facebook marketplace. However, you’ll need to keep an eye out for an irresistible deal. 

2. Vintage Clothing 

As one of the best things to sell on eBay, vintage clothing can have an above-average selling price, and chances are you have a few pieces tucked away in your attic, ready to sell. If not, you can easily find vintage clothes at thrift stores and yard sales. 

Additionally, it’s worth buying a mannequin to photograph the clothing for buyers to get a true picture of how it looks. 

It’s important to conduct your due diligence to ensure you sell your items at the highest price and check the tags carefully to ensure your descriptions are as detailed as possible. If you can include the garment’s measurements, even better.

3. Musical Instruments 

People typically sell unused musical instruments in yard sales without considering their true value. When purchasing them, keep an eye out for renowned brand names such as: 

  • Yamaha
  • Conn
  • Gibson
  • Bach
  • Jupiter
  • Fender 

4. Antiques

The best place to find antiques is auctions and estate sales, typically ‘in person’ and local rather than online. Sellers at auctions want their items to sell fast, which is why you’ll usually find impressive bargains.

5. Textbooks 

There’s no denying that textbooks are easy to package and post. Once you seal them in an envelope, you’re good to go, unlike items with complicated packaging methods.

In addition, pre-owned textbooks can easily be found at yard sales and thrift stores. 

Although people typically donate them without a second thought, they can resell for hundreds of dollars, so snap them up if possible. 

6. Dresses

These are always in demand and are easy to find. If you want a quick sale, the best places to find dresses to resell on eBay are:

  • Yard sales
  • Family and friends
  • Thrift stores
  • Facebook marketplace
  • Your home

It’s worth noting that dresses sell best with a ‘Buy it now’ tag instead of an auction.

7. Photography Gear and Cameras 

There’s a constant demand for these items. While people gravitate towards vintage cameras particularly, all types tend to do well on eBay.

The best place to find used photography gear is household auctions, yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. The items to keep an eye out for are:

  • Tripods
  • Cameras
  • Lenses
  • Camera straps
  • Camera Bags

eBay is a great starting point to resell photography equipment. For example, you can pick up old 35mm cameras for a few bucks and resell them anywhere between $50 and $200. Rarer models sell for $1,000 or more. 

8. Video Games 

These are easy to come by and sell quickly. The most popular video games selling on eBay are:

  • Animal Crossing
  • Borderlands
  • Pokémon Sword
  • Super Mario Bros
  • Pokémon Go
  • Wii Sports Games
  • Madden NFL Football

There’s a wealth of games for the vast assortment of consoles. To check if a game is profitable beforehand, refer to the sold listings in the eBay app. 

9. Baby Gear 

It’s pricey to purchase new, and most items are only useful for a short while, so most people turn to eBay. You can purchase them cheaply at a thrift store or yard sale and resell them for an impressive profit.

The baby gear items to keep an eye out for are:

  • Strollers
  • Baby walkers
  • Swings
  • Baby bouncers
  • Activity centers
  • Playpens
  • Baby monitors 
  • Door bouncers
  • Baby carriers

Some of the larger baby items will be difficult to ship so local buyers are preferred. Smaller items, like baby clothes, can be bundled into groups and sold at a higher price than if they were sold individually. Bundles also save on shipping costs.

Conclusion 

With insight into the things to sell to make money coupled with how to make money on eBay, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor, after which you can invest in more items to flip. After a while, it might become a full-time business that rakes in profits you once dreamed of.

If this is in your wheelhouse, the first step is to make your eBay seller profile.

Ready to find more profitable ways to earn an extra income online? Check out how to make money online for beginners for more ideas on how to earn an additional income stream. 

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Steffa Mantilla

Certified Financial Education Instructor

Steffa is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and the founder behind Money Tamer. Her 12-year background in operant conditioning and positive behavioral change training is used to help people find effective motivators to change their harmful money behaviors. Steffa explains the reasons “why” behind people’s financial behaviors and how to successfully change them. After paying off over $80,000 in debt through budgeting, she now teaches families how to get their own finances in order. You can learn more about her here.

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