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Resources for Determining the Price of Your eBay Merchandise

The best tool for determining how much to ask for the things you sell in your eBay auction is the eBay search tool. If you know how to use it, it provides a quick way to locate pricing information. To see how items like yours have been selling, search the completed auctions. You can search these results also to see in which categories to list your item.

Almost every eBay page has a small box for searching. Initially, you may find it easier to go to the Search page, but if you know the search engine syntax, or shorthand, you can pinpoint your items with amazing accuracy.

Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of the eBay search engine:

  • The search engine isn't case-sensitive, so you don't have to worry about capitalization.

  • To find more needles in the haystack, be sure to select the Search Titles and Descriptions option.

  • To find historical pricing (what the item has sold for in the past two weeks), be sure to select the box to search Completed listings.

  • If you're using common search terms, don't search only auction titles and descriptions; search by category, too. For example, suppose that you're searching for a Winnie the Pooh baby outfit. Type Pooh outfit and you'll get a bunch of results. On the left, you'll see the category that more closely matches your search. Click the link below it for the Baby & Toddler Clothing subcategory.

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  • Don't use conjunctions (or, and) or articles (a, an, the) in your search; the search engine might misconstrue these noise words as part of your search. Some sellers use the ampersand (&) in place of the word and, so if you include and in your search, you won't find auctions that use the ampersand. In addition, some sellers (because of the 55-character limit) may not place these short words in their titles.

If you have the item number, you can type or paste it into any of the eBay search boxes to get to that item.

By clicking the Advanced Search link just to the right of the Search button, you can access eBay's advanced search options. To dig into the details for historic pricing, you can scroll down (on the left side of any search-results page) to the Search Options area:

  1. Click the Completed Listings check box in the Show Only area of the page.

    You are presented with the search results of completed listings for the past two weeks.

  2. To sort by price, go to the Sort By drop-down box at the top of the listings and select the Price + Shipping, Highest First option.

The results of completed auctions of your particular item for the last fourteen days appear, sorted to show highest prices first. Now you're at the heart of the matter.

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Pull out your calendar and make note of what days your item landed the highest bids. More often than not, you'll find that a pattern appears. Your item may see more action on a particular day of the week. After you figure out the days that your item gets the highest bids, schedule your auction to run on those those days and to close on the day you think will garner the highest bid.

Note that on the results page, items that haven't sold have their prices shown in red; those that have sold are shown in green. This also tells you the high-price breaking point in the current market.

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