It's easy to approach the sale of an item—especially if it's a personal possession—with a preconceived notion of its worth. After all, it had a price when you bought it, it has a certain amount of value to you now, and it makes perfect sense that someone else ought to be willing to pay that amount to you in order to own it.
In truth, however, the true value of an item can often be much greater or much lower than its owner believes it to be. Sellers—part-time or personal-item-only sellers in particular—often make the mistake of pricing an item purely on an ad-hoc or opinion basis.
This is a sure recipe for losing money. Price an item with a high starting bid or a high reserve and it may not sell at all—but you'll still be responsible for your listing fees. Price an item too low using Buy It Now and you could cheat yourself out of dozens—or even hundreds—of dollars.
What To Do InsteadInstead of simply setting the starting bid, Buy It Now price, or reserve on an auction based on your own estimation of an item's worth, do your research to see what the item's real value—its marketplace value—is.
- Check with local retailers (or, if applicable, consignment shops) to see what the item is selling for at market in your area.
- Check with online vendors like Amazon.com and online price aggregators like PriceGrabber.com to see if you can find your item and its current pricing in the online marketplace.
- Most importantly of all (for used items in particular), check eBay's archive of completed listings for items like the one you plan to sell, to see what eBay buyers are paying for it. This can be done by checking the "Completed listings" box on the left side of any eBay search results page.
Once you can see what other people are paying for items like the one you plan to sell, you'll know enough to set your price accordingly so that you don't lose a sale by selling too high or lose cash by selling too low.