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For Seniors: How to Research the Item You’re Selling on eBay

Before you list an item to sell in an eBay auction, you need to do some research to find out as much information as you can about the items you intend to sell. Here are some ideas for researching what you want to sell:

  • Hit the books. Check your local library for books about the item. Study historic guides and collector magazines.

    Even though collectors still use published price guides when they put a value on an item, so much fast-moving e-commerce is zipping by on the Internet that price guides often lag behind the markets they cover. Take published prices with a grain of salt.

  • Go Web surfin’. Conduct a Web search and look for info on the item on other auction sites. If you find a print magazine that strikes your fancy, check to see whether the magazine is available on the Web by typing the title of the magazine into your browser’s search window.

  • When the going gets tough, go shopping. Browse local stores that specialize in your item. Price the item at several locations. When you get a feel for the demand for your product (whether it’s a collectible or a commodity) and how much you can realistically ask for it, you’re on the right track to a successful sale.

  • Call in the pros. Need a quick way to find the value of an item you want to sell? Call a dealer or a collector and say that you want to buy one. A merchant who catches a whiff of a possible sale will give you a current selling price.

  • eBay to the rescue. eBay members often offer guidance for your research on the Community Boards and Chats. eBay has category-specific chat rooms, where you can read what other collectors are writing about items in a particular category.

  • Verify what you have — not only what it is and what it’s for, but also whether it’s genuine. Make sure that what you want to sell on eBay is the real deal. You’re responsible for your item’s authenticity; counterfeits and knock-offs aren’t welcome on eBay. In addition, manufacturers’ legal beagles are on the hunt for counterfeit and stolen goods circulating on eBay — and they will tip off law enforcement.

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