1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How much is my item worth?

By

How much is my item worth?

Using eBay's RedLaser app on your smartphone is one way to get a good estimate of your item's value online.

Image: Aron Hsiao
Question: How much is my item worth?

For those that aren’t professional eBay sellers, one of the hardest things about selling on eBay is figuring out how much you’re likely to get for an item, which ultimately can mean the difference between “worth selling” and “totally not worth selling.”

So how do you find out how much your item is worth?

Answer:

Here are some quick and easy ways to figure out the value of your item, without needing special tools or having to spend a lot of time.

  • Use active eBay listings. Just search for your item, then in the search results sort the results to only include Buy It Now items (click the “Buy It Now” tab), sorting by price from low to high (click the “Sort by:” drop-down list and select “Price + Shipping: lowest first.”) This will give you a good idea of what the current lowball prices are, though you should be sure to check the item conditions of the lowest-priced items—after all, if theirs is broke and yours works, or if theirs is seriously worn and yours is like new, you can expect to get more.
     
  • Use completed eBay listings. Looking at completed listings gives you an idea of what others have earned by selling what you’re selling. Too see completed listings, just stay in the search results you’re already looking at (from the item above), then scroll down until you see the “Show only” list in the left-hand column. Select “Completed listings” from the list and you’ll see a list of already ended listings for what you’re selling. Ignore the red prices in the list; they’re the ones that didn’t sell. The green prices, however, give you a good idea of what others have already earned by selling what you’ve got to sell.
     
  • Pretend you’re a shopper and comparison shop. Use RedLaser to comparison shop for your item using your mobile phone. You’ll get a list not just of low-priced similar items on eBay, but also on Amazon, at other big online sellers, and even in local stores around you. This gives you a “bigger picture” ballpark idea of what your item is worth.
     
  • Check your local classifieds. Don’t forget to also take a loot at classifieds sites like Craigslist and in particular more local classifieds systems that are popular in your area. You’ll often find that your item is more valuable when sold via local classifieds than on eBay. Since selling locally if you can will also help you to avoid the cost and hassle of shipping, there’s no reason not to consider this alternative way to sell your item.

Don’t Forget the Most Important Measures of Value

This list is a good way to get a handle on what an item is worth to other people—eBay shoppers, for example, or Amazon shoppers, or Craigslist browsers in your local area.

What it doesn’t tell you, though, is just how much the item is worth to you or how much the item might be worth in the future, both of which ought to be much more important to your decision that what others happen to be paying for the same item right now.

If this is a meaningful or irrelplaceable item, it may not make sense for you to sell it at all. The same is true if it’s an item that you might need again later, but that will cost more than you sold it for to replace.

And if it’s a potential collectible or a seasonal item, it may make sense to hang onto it for a while and see what it ends up being worth in the future, whether that’s a matter of the seasons changing or the collectors catching up to you. On eBay, timing can be everything.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.