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For Seniors: How to Expand or Shrink an eBay Search

You can expand or shrink an eBay search to quickly find what you want. Scrolling down a search results page can open up even more options — called Preferences — for finding just what you want on eBay. Some options are there to narrow down your search, and others will open it up.

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Using the Buying Formats preferences is similar to the tabs at the top of your search results, but with one important addition: eBay hides store listings unless the core search comes up with 30 or fewer auction-style and fixed-price items. You can click the Include Store Inventory option to open up your search to every item on the site.

Use the Show Only preferences if you want to narrow your search. You can set these preferences:

  • Completed listings. This choice is important when you want to find out what the item you’re seeking sold for in the past. After you click this preference to see only completed listings, you can sort the Completed results by price to determine the previous high and low selling prices.

  • Free shipping. At first glance, looking for items with free shipping seems to be a good idea, but what if another seller has the item for sale for less (including shipping)? If cost-saving is what you seek, go back to the top of the search-results page and use the Sort By drop-down menu. Set your search to sort by Price + Shipping: Lowest First.

Choosing to search with a preference for the Location of searched-for items is valuable when many of your search results are in countries outside the United States. You may prefer, especially when you’re first starting out, to purchase items from North America only. Even though it’s very cool to get a package of Egyptian cotton shirts from Egypt, shipping can take a very long time.

So what about the Choose More links you see in the search preferences? You can click a Choose More link and get a dialog box with extra choices, but more than likely, you won’t ever need to use this option.

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