10 eBay buying hacks

02.10.2017 Shopping Hacks

When it comes to buying and selling pre-owned stuff online, eBay remains in a league of its own: Pretty much anything you can imagine you could ever want – there will be someone selling it on eBay.

But of their 170 million users, a large percentage of eBay buyers pay more than necessary on items just because they're not aware of the tricks (of which there are many).

It really pays off to take your time and know your stuff in this game – and we're here to tell you how it's done!

1. Don't believe the hype

First thing's first! It's worth knowing that eBay sometimes has a tendency to make things look more valuable than they actually are – depending on the hype!

If people start bidding furiously on something for the wrong reasons, it can mislead you into thinking it's worth shelling out big bucks for when it's not.

2. Use automatic bidding

Ebay is kind enough to have a function that lets you arrange for their system to bid on your behalf, to save you watching items like a hawk.

All you have to do is enter a maximum bid (instead of constantly bidding higher each time someone overtakes your bid), and eBay will automatically outbid anyone that puts cash down by just a penny or two so you remain the highest bidder (up to your maximum amount).

3. Check the price of sold items

If you're feeling totally stumped trying to work out how high to make your highest bid, a great way to judge your figure is to have a look at the sort of price the same item has sold for recently on the site.

Do this by typing the item name into the search bar, choose ‘Advanced options' and click the ‘Sold listings' under the ‘Search including' header.

This will show you a whole list of similar items that were recently sold on eBay and what they went for.

4. Search locally

Particularly when it comes to larger items like bikes and furniture, a lot of ebay sellers will select the option of only appearing in searches for locals to avoid the hassle of organising delivery.

As this will narrow the amount of bidders, you'll have a better chance of getting the item at a lower price.

To do this, just click the ‘advanced' button next to the search bar and enter your postcode in the ‘locations' section.

Another tip is use the Baycrazy's local item search. Just enter your postcode and it'll throw up everything nearing the end of auction in your local area.

Check your Nova International Address book for finding the zip codes that apply to your international addresses

5. Aim for last-minute bidding

The best time to bid is in the last minute to give other bidders less time to beat you to the crunch.

But how about actually searching exclusively for auctions that are on the brink of closing so you can jump in at the last minute without all the waiting around, and hoping no one beats you to it?

Lastminute Auction is a handy lil site that searches for all auctions that are about to close – you can even search by category to find exactly what you're looking for.

6. Benefit from sellers' mistakes

As well as being able to cash in on sellers' typos, you can also find some serious bargains if they've missed out a vital bit of info that has resulted in minimum bidders.

For example, if someone is selling a Barbour jacket, and post it on eBay as a ‘Waterproof waxed jacket in navy blue', it won't show up in anyone's searches looking for a Barbour.

Website No Bids have a handy tool to check for auctions that are minutes away from ending but still have no bidders (normally due to forgetting a key word or something similar).

7. Create alerts for searches

A simple but effective time-saving trick! You can choose to follow searches by clicking ‘follow this search’ at the top of the listings, just below the search bar after your keywords entered.

This will obviously work better for slightly more niche products, so the more specific you can be about that specific item you have in mind, the better.

8. Save on shipping

Often sellers will try to do the sneaky and make a bit extra cash by bumping up the postage costs.

There are no official guidelines for sellers on what to charge for postage, so it's worth doing your homework a bit to see what sort of cost you should be looking at.

Use your Nova USA address when shopping on Ebay USA and ship internationally with Nova! Calculate shipping costs upfront with our Shipping Calculator.

9. Look for night-time auction endings

If a seller accidentally sets an auction to end in the middle of the night, this will normally result in the item going for less as it will have fewer last-minute bidders (as less people are willing to sit up through the night with their finger on the button!).

Baycrazy have a night-time search tool that can look specifically for auctions that are due to end in the middle of the night, so you have a better chance of getting a good price.

10. Avoid bidding in round numbers

Think of it this way – if both you and another bidder are looking to put in a bid at $10, if you add an extra penny and go for $10.01, your bid will beat theirs.

In case you’re worried they’ll be thinking the same, just go a few pence higher!

The main rule is – bidding in round numbers will almost always leave you missing out, so try to go for the oddest figures you can think of (e.g. $21.74 instead of $20.00).