Warning: session_start(): Failed to read session data: user (path: /tmp) in /home/thetim15/public_html/wp-content/plugins/sell-media/inc/class-cart.php on line 30

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/thetim15/public_html/wp-content/plugins/sell-media/inc/class-cart.php:30) in /home/thetim15/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/wp-cache-phase2.php on line 62
Selling all my earthly possessions. | The Time to Go Is Now
Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thetim15/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thetim15/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thetim15/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thetim15/public_html/wp-includes/post-template.php on line 284

Selling all my earthly possessions.

Well, most of them anyway.  There are somethings that I won’t part with like my guitars and my video game collection (NES, Genesis, N64, Gamecube, etc.).  But for the most part everything is on the table.  My original plan was to start sorting things and making lists of what to sell but I realized that I would get mired in an unending planning phase instead of actually doing something.  I get enough of that at work.  So, I decided to jump in with the big ticket items excluding the house (which we’re keeping – another blog post), and my car (which I’m selling, but need for work for another six months).

Luckily, I have been buying things on Ebay sporadically for the last fifteen years which is nice because I was able to go into the sellers market with a 100% feedback score and a good number of transactions on my profile.  Up to this point I had only sold one thing on Ebay:  Columbia House had accidentally sent me a second copy of The Right Stuff on DVD so I just sold it as I needed the money at the time.  Ahh, Columbia House.

Anyway, I had an old digital recorder from when I thought I’d actually do something productive with the previously mentioned guitars.  It was taking up the most space, would pull in more money than most of the other crap I have and it was rarely used.  A perfect candidate for my first auction.  I don’t ship packages much so I had to get familiar with the options out there and how much they cost.  I took the recorder with me to FedEx/Kinkos when I got my passport photos taken and had them price out the shipping cost so I could get an idea.

When I got home, I laid out all the various pieces and packaging and took some relatively good photos and put my listing together.  I had been doing research on Ebay for the previous week to figure how much I should list it for as I really had no idea how much it was worth.  It was somewhat dated technology so I wasn’t expecting much.  There was a guy selling one under “Buy It Now” for $199 + shipping.  It had been on there a while and wasn’t moving.  Another guy had an auction for one going that had started at $100 and several days after his original posting hadn’t received any bids.  Things were looking grim so I went with a realistic goal and posted mine at $75.  “If it makes it up to $100, I’ll be happy.” I told myself.

Two days later the other guys’ auction ended and at the last minute two bidders had ran his $100 item up to $150.  Now I was kicking myself.  “You should have waited to see how his ended.  You lowballed it.”  But I reminded myself that I didn’t care.  The goal is to clean house and make some money while you’re doing it.  Some people showed interest, there were about 10 people following the listing and a couple people put in small bids.  Okay, this could get better.  The last day of the auction two people got into a bidding war with about 6 hours to go and ran it up to $158.  Score.  I couldn’t believe it.  Based on the other auctions I figured it couldn’t go up from there.  No way.  It’s older tech…no way this goes for more.  In the last 10 seconds two snipers* came in and took it up over $200.  I was astonished.  How could I sell it for more than a “Buy It Now”?

After the winner paid me, I took the recorder back over to FedEx and sent it on its way.  I know I paid more than I could have (there are several ways to save money on shipping), but I just wanted to get it done and get one in the books.  I can tell you one thing:  Selling stuff on ebay is more exciting than buying stuff on ebay.  You still get the rush of the last minute snipers, but in the end you get paid.  Now I’m just looking around my house thinking, “What’s next?”

Here are some tips for unloading your stuff on Ebay:

  • If you haven’t used Ebay before, you’ll need to build up your profile a bit.  I know you’re trying to sell things but it won’t hurt to buy a few things to help build up your rating.  Look for small, inexpensive things you may need for your trip or birthday/holiday gifts for friends and family.
  • Start with your most valuable stuff.  Clear out the big money early.  It allows you to be patient and choose your moment.  If you have a bunch of cheap bric-a-brac left over, you can always unload it at a garage sale or give it to Goodwill.
  • Don’t try to hose people on shipping.  High shipping charges give people a rash.  It makes you look like an ass and will discourage people from bidding.  I personally use the built in shipping calculators whether I use FedEx or USPS.  Sure, I might lose a few extra dollars if I have to buy a box to fit what I’m shipping, but I’d rather sell the item.
  • Make sure your auction ends between 9-11pm Eastern Time on either a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.  I have no actual facts to back this up, but think about it.  That time ensures that most Americans from Eastern to Pacific Time are home from work.  Many people can’t access Ebay at work and many people go out on the weekends or get home late from road trips on Sunday evenings.  You want people sitting at home after a hard days work, watching TV as they sit on their laptop waiting to run up the price of an auction.  Cater to the snipers.  They are your friends.
  • Do your research.  Look up the same or similar items and watch them.  See how people are bidding, and when.  See the starting values and the shipping rates, and then undercut them.  This is capitalism and you are here to move product.
  • Take good photos.  Well lighted.  Neutral background.  Close ups of details help.  This IS a beauty contest.
  • This may change, but I think my low starting point coupled with my fair shipping price got eyeballs on my auction.  The more people you get to “watch” your auction the better off you are.  Snipers aren’t just in it because they want something, they get off on winning.  It is a store with a finish line.  I’ve bid over my max more than once just because I wanted to win.  Never underestimate pride.  But you can’t have competition without interest.
  • Do your shipping research as well.  I went to FedEx/Kinkos (only because it is closer to my house than the UPS store – and they were super helpful when I went in to get pricing) and took a picture of their shipping box price sign.  I also went to the post office and got one of every Priority Mail “If It Fits, It Ships” box.  Now I can do most of the math at home.  You can also save money on FedEx by printing your labels through Ebay.

* for those of you unfamiliar with Ebay, snipers are folks who wait to bid on auctions until the last 10-20 seconds and drop their top dollar bid to grab it out from under other bidders.  It’s my MO as well.

Leave a reply

CommentLuv badge

We're Mark & Julie

We quit our jobs at the end of 2013 to backpack around the world. We're sharing our stories, travel advice and hopefully some inspiration. Read more...

We're currently in: