Sooner or later we all find ourselves needing some extra cash. Maybe we have some bills that we need to get caught up on, maybe we have a gift occasion coming up, or maybe we just want to buy something that’s currently out of our budget. Raising a bit of extra cash can be done pretty easily without resorting to giving blood or getting a second job. Most of us have some stuff sitting around the house we wouldn’t mind parting with in exchange for a few dollars, and the Internet makes finding someone to take it off our hands easier than ever. Learn how to hold an Internet yard sale to get some clutter out of your house and some green into your wallet.
Selling Items on eBay
Everyone knows about eBay, but what most people don’t know is that eBay isn’t as good as it used to be. Back in the early days eBay was almost entirely people like you and me, just an average person looking for bargains or wanting to sell some stuff out of our attic. But as eBay grew it attracted more and more people wanting to make a full time living off of the site. As more people treated eBay like a business rather than an auction site, the prices grew and the quality of a lot of products fell. On top of that scammers ran rampant on the site and eBay quickly lost its shine.
In the past few years eBay has worked hard to clean up the site, removing scammers and reigning in the practice of selling items for mere pennies but then charging outlandish shipping costs on the back end. The power sellers are still there, as are the power buyers. You won’t be able to get top dollar for your used items anymore, but if the item you are selling is in good shape and has a decent demand, you will get enough to justify the eBay transaction fees.
Before posting your items on eBay, make sure to browse around the site and determine a realistic price for your item. Use a digital camera to take a decent picture of the thing you are selling and make sure to be honest in your description. If your item sells, make sure to ship it out quickly. The faster your item gets to the seller the better of a chance you have of them leaving your positive feedback, something you will come to desire as you sell more and more items on eBay.
Selling on Craigslist
If you haven’t at least heard of Craigslist in one context or another, this must be your first day on the Internet. Craigslist is a huge free classifieds ad service for just about every city in the United States (and a few beyond). Users can post classifieds about nearly anything from lost puppies to cars for sale. While Craigslist is more of a wild west place than eBay or other online marketplaces, the sheer volume of users who will potentially see your ads make it someplace you definitely want to consider when you have stuff you want to sell.
But be careful. While Craigslist is a website, most transactions are finalized in person. You will want to arrange to meet any potential buyers at a public place during the day. It is also not a good idea to invite them to your home or agree to meet them someplace you are unfamiliar with. A parking lot at a big store is a good place, or if the item is small maybe you can meet them inside of a mall. While 99% of Craigslist transactions go off without a hitch, there is no reason to get careless.
You also need to be on the guard for scammers. Never agree to accept more money for your item than you are selling it for, and be very careful in accepting checks through the mail. Many scams involve asking you to cash a large check to cover the cost of your item plus the cost of shipping it to some far off place. You cash the check, ship away your item, and find out 3 weeks later that the check was fraudulent and the “buyer” is long gone.
Selling on Amazon
Amazon is my personal favorite for selling items. Over the years I have sold dozens of items through that site and never had a problem. Amazon is perfect for selling electronics, books, video games, DVDs, or toys. If the item you are selling is in Amazon’s database, you can list it for sale.
The downside of selling on Amazon is the fees. Of all the sites listed, selling items on Amazon will cost you the most in lost “profit” from your sale. However in my opinion the benefits of selling on Amazon justify the additional cost. Listing items on Amazon is easy. They remain up for sale on the worlds largest retail site for up to 30 days before you have to relist them. There is no listing fee, you are only charged if the item is sold. Fees are deducted automatically from the purchase price so you never have to send money to Amazon and finally the money that Amazon owes you can easily be deposited directly in your checking account.
Buyers like Amazon because it is a well known brand, they don’t have to “bid” on items, and their purchases are protected by Amazon’s A-Z guarantee. In addition to that, every seller on Amazon can be rated just like on eBay so that scammers and other useless sellers are quickly outed.
Selling your items online is a great way to raise some extra cash. Make sure that when you take your stuff to the post office that you work with the clerk to determine the cheapest way to ship your items and save money. There is no need to send it priority or even first class if your buyer is not expecting it. So clean out your closet, your attic, and your basement and start listing those items. Before you know it you will have a stack of cash to play around with or pay down some bills.