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Researching the Market to Find What and When to Sell on eBay

Just as successful stockbrokers know about individual companies, they also need to know about the marketplace as a whole. eBay sellers need to take a similar viewpoint. To get a leg up on your competition, you need to know the big picture. Here are some questions you should ask yourself as you contemplate making buckets of money by selling items at eBay:

  • What items have the buzz? If you see everyone around you rushing to the store to buy a particular item, chances are good that the item will become more valuable as stocks of it diminish. The simple rule of supply and demand says that whoever has something everyone else wants stands to gain major profits.

  • Do you see a growing interest in a specific item that might make it a big seller? If you’re starting to hear talk about a particular item, or even an era (’70s nostalgia? ’60s aluminum Christmas trees? Who knew?), listen carefully and think of what you own — or can get your hands on — that can help you catch a piece of the trend’s action.

  • Should you hold on to this item and wait for its value to increase, or should you sell now? Knowing when to sell an item that you think people may want is a tricky business. Sometimes you catch the trend too early — and find out that you could have commanded a better price if you’d waited.

    Other times you may catch a fad that’s already passé. It’s best to test the market with a small quantity of your hoard, dribbling items individually into the market until you’ve made back the money you spent to acquire them. When you have your cash back, the rest will be gravy.

  • Is a company discontinuing an item you should stockpile now and sell later? Pay attention to discontinued items, especially toys and collectibles. If you find an item that a manufacturer has a limited supply of, you could make a tidy profit. If the manufacturer ends up reissuing the item, don’t forget that the original run is still the most coveted and valuable.

  • Was there a recall (due to non-safety issues), an error, or a legal proceeding associated with your item? If so, how will it affect the value of the item? For example, a toy recalled for reasons other than safety may no longer be appropriate, but it could be rare and collectible if sealed and intact.

Some people like to go with their gut feeling about when and what to buy for resale at eBay. By all means, if instinct has worked for you in the past, factor instinct in here, too. If your research looks optimistic but your gut says, “I’m not sure,” listen to it; don’t assume you’re just hearing that lunchtime taco talking.

Test the waters by purchasing a couple of the prospective items for resale. If that sale doesn’t work out, you won’t have a lot of money invested, and you can credit your gut with saving you some bucks.

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