How to sell your belongings online: Ebay

Oct 10, 2019
If you're thinking about downsizing you may have rooms filled with items you can't take with you, so why not consider selling them online. Source: Getty.

We’re all guilty of holding onto items we no longer need, use or want, whether it’s a failed DIY project, pair of shoes that you’ve only worn once or perhaps furniture that no longer suits the look of your home. While many of us live in denial and simply avoid going into the overcrowded garage or stow away items in the attic, there’s no avoiding your clutter when it comes to downsizing.

If you’re thinking about downsizing and trading in your large family home for somewhere smaller, it’s unlikely that you will be able to take all of your belongings with you, particularly oversized pieces of furniture or children’s toys that may not have been played with in decades.

Before you load up the car and drive to the local dump or op shop though, why not see if you can make some extra cash by flogging your used wares online. Selling your unwanted goods is a win-win as it reduces the amount of garbage going to landfill, provides someone with a reduced price item and also lines your pockets, giving you some extra pocket money to spend in retirement.

One way of swapping your unwanted items for cash is to list them for sale on eBay. Since the online auction site eBay launched in 1995, other similar marketplaces have cropped up online, but eBay has remained one of the most popular and well-known.

So, if you have bags of items that were destined for the op shop, here’s everything you need to know about using eBay.

How do I sign up for an eBay account?

More than 182 million people worldwide have an active eBay account but, if you’re not one of those people, fear not as it only takes a few minutes to sign up online. All you need is access to a computer, mobile phone or tablet and some spare time.

To sign up simply go to and go to the registration page, here you will be asked to enter your name, email address and to choose a password. Once you have entered that information, click register – this also means you are agreeing to eBay’s terms and conditions.

However, you can also sign up for eBay using your existing Facebook or Google Account. To do this, you simply need to click ‘Continue with Facebook’ or ‘Continue with Google’ on the registration page, instead of entering login details. Once you’ve signed up you will receive a welcome email from eBay, filled with advice and tips on how to buy and sell on the online marketplace.

How do I list an item for sale?

Now that you have signed up, it’s time to start selling! To list an item for sale, simply click the ‘Sell’ button at the top of any page on the eBay website or go to ‘Sell your item’. You will then be asked to enter the details of the item you’re looking to sell.

You will need to include a title so that other eBay users can find your listing, as well as a description, what condition the item is in, images of the item and postage details. You will also need to choose whether you’d like the item to be sold via auction and set a reserve price, or give an asking price if you wish to sell as a ‘Buy It Now’ listing. There is also the option to accept best offers, meaning buyers can offer you an amount, and it’s up to you whether you accept.

eBay will also ask you to provide payment details, such as PayPal, to ensure fees can be automatically deposited and withdrawn where necessary.

How do I get paid for my items?

Congratulations, you’ve sold your first item … but how do you get paid? Once the sale has been processed and the buyer has transferred the relevant funds, you will automatically receive the money. However how quickly you receive payment may depend on the payment method used.

If the buyers pays via PayPal or credit or debit card, eBay say they will send en email to you when the money reachers your account. In the case of PayPal, payment is almost immediate as it will be sent directly to your PayPal account.

You also have the option – particularly with larger items that may not be easy to ship, such as furniture or even vehicles – to accept payment on pick-up. This is obviously slightly riskier, but you can accept payment however you wish if you go with this option, be it by cheque, cash, PayPal or card payment.

However eBay does say: “We don’t recommend accepting personal cheques or money orders for payment on pickup because if there’s a problem, it could be harder to resolve than with other methods.”

How do I buy items on eBay?

While you’re listing your items for your sale, you may also be drawn in by some of the available items on eBay and spot something that you wish to buy.

Buying items on the eBay app or website is just as easy as selling them. All you need to do is find whatever you want to purchase and check what type of sale it is. If the item is available to buy now, all you have to do is click ‘Buy It Now’ which means you agree to pay the asking price that has been set by the seller.

However if the item is for sale by means of auction, it could be a slightly more complicated process. As with any auction, buyers have a set period of time to bid against each other to win the item, but be aware that by bidding you are contractually obliged to buy the item should you win.

eBay has a function called automatic bidding which makes it easier to take part in auctions, without having to remain glued to your computer. All you need to do is enter the maximum price you are willing to pay for an item and eBay will bid incrementally on your behalf, until bidding surpasses your limit. If you’re outbid, eBay will let you know so you can consider increasing your upper limit.

Is it safe to sell my stuff on eBay?

eBay’s CFO Gavin Dennis previously shared some of his top tips to stay safe online with Starts at 60 – and they’re surprisingly simple.

“One of the things we take very seriously is the safety of our eBay community, whether that be buyers or sellers,” he said. “There’s a number of things we do to ensure people feel confident when they buy and sell, especially our buyer and seller protection policies that make sure it’s a safe and fair marketplace.”

Gavin suggest vetting other users before committing to buy from or sell to them by checking the feedback they have received from other users. He said: “If someone has good feedback, it gives you confidence that you’re dealing with someone who is a good buyer or seller.

“When I myself buy or sell on there, I always look at their feedback. Things like whether they deliver on time, whether they pay properly, are all peace of mind for a first time buyer or seller.”

He also advises users to be careful when it comes to sharing personal information such as your address or phone number, particularly when arranging for a buyer to collect an item from your home. In this situation he suggests maybe choosing a neutral, public location to exchange the goods, and recommends making sure that the money is in your account before you hand over the item.

Have you ever used eBay before? Would you sell your belongings online?

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