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Top 10 eBay Shopping Secrets

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At first glance, shopping at eBay seems as simple as it would be at any other online store. However, it’s a lot more than just opening PayPal account and finding readily available good deals. To really be a winner at eBay you should learn a few strategies to get good prices, lower the cost on Buy It Now, and win bids on fast-pacing auctions.

Some of our tips will benefit not only first-time shoppers, but seasoned eBay experts too, so read on:

1. Research the price

Do not ever automatically assume that eBay prices are always good. Many sellers will start with very high prices and the only way for you to know that is by checking other online stores, if you are shopping for a common new item. You can use price comparison apps or check prices at Amazon or Target. Afterwards take a look at Overstock, Etsy, or Google Shopping for more information. Walmart or Best Buy are two other sources worth checking out.

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2. Look at price history

It is very easy to see what the same item was bought for before. Your eBay item search page will have “Show Only” section on the left, click the checkbox for “Completed Listings”, and take a look at what people paid for this before. Green listings in Sold will show you the actual prices paid previously.

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3. Buy It Now counteroffers

“Buy It Now” section calls for fixed price, but you have every right to contact the seller and offer your best price that is lower than suggested fixed. It never hurts to try.

4. Negotiate

Always ask if the seller accepts lower price than desired. You never know how long somebody has been trying to sell something and at what point they might be ready to accept less in order to sell it. You should be polite and respectful, and offer a reasonable price.

5. Sign up for alerts

If you don’t have to have something right away, consider signing up for alerts on your desired merchandise. You will be alerted when new offers come in and won’t have to spend time searching for an item or a price for hours every day. Be as specific as you can in your search, save it, and you will get very targeted emails only.

6. Shipping cost

Price alone is not everything. Make sure you look at the shipping cost too, as it might add significant amount to your order. Some items might be more expensive and offer free shipping, which might amount to a better offer than a cheap item with steep shipping price.

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7. eBay mobile app

The app can help you stay on top of your search easily – we are constantly on our phones anyway. You can search for items, watch sales, bid, and buy what you need on the app.

8. Local sellers

If you are looking for something that would be hard to ship, check local listings first. You can do that by adding “pick up only” to your search or by entering your zip code and mile range in the Item Location section. This can save you a lot of money and trouble of shipping something heavy.

9. Bidding maximum

If you like something, but have no time or desire to keep track of your bidding, think of what maximum amount you would like to pay for it, and bid that amount. Your bid will be kept the highest only up until your specified amount. This means that you can always increase the amount manually when you see that you are getting outbid, but won’t have to track the bidding war all the time.

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10. Wait until the last few seconds to bid

Resist the desire to bid right away on something that you like. This might encourage other bidders to come in and outbid you. The best way to get what you want is to wait until the last few seconds and outbid the last bidder. This is called snipping and is often frowned upon, but it works. Try submitting your offer 30 seconds before the end – you might still have time to increase your offer one last time before the end, if needed. If the item is really hot, do that 15 seconds before the end. You are welcome!