Where to Find Items to sell on eBay

In: Selling Tips

4 Mar 2009

Most eBay users get started by selling items they find in their attics, garages, and basements. (Makes you think of eBay as a giant garage sale, doesn’t it?) But what do you do when you’ve completely cleaned out the attic?

There are many places to find quantities of items to sell on eBay. We’ll discuss a few of the more popular ones herealthough it’s likely you have a few ideas of your own. Just remember that you need to buy low and sell highso be on the lookout for places where you can buy stuff cheap.

You should also be on the lookout for trends. Just because something’s hot today doesn’t mean it’s going to be hot tomorrow. You wouldn’t have wanted to be the proud owner of a garage-full of Pokemon cards just as the Poke-bubble burst, would you? So when you’re hunting for merchandise you can auction on eBay, try to stay on top of the coming trendsand don’t buy in at the tail end of an old trend.

Of course, it’s difficult to stay on top of the trends in thousands of different categories. For that reason, many eBay power sellers specialize in a half-dozen or fewer types of merchandise. You can track the trends in a handful of categories (by watching the current auctionsand the current selling prices); you can’t be as aware of the trends in a larger number of categories.

So specialize, stay on top of trends, and keep your eyes open!

Garage Sales and Yard Sales

If eBay is like a giant garage sale, you might as well start with the bona fide original source. Many eBay sellers scrounge around their local garage and yard sales, looking for any merchandise that they can sell for more money on eBay. It isn’t difficult; you can pick up a lot of stuff for a quarter or a dollar, and sell it for 5 or 10 times that amount online. Just be sure to get to the sale early, or all the good bargains will be picked over already!

Flea Markets

Flea markets offer merchandise similar to what you find in garage sales. The bargains might be a little less easy to come by, however, but if you keep a sharp eye you can find some items particularly suited for eBay auction.

Estate Sales

Not to be insensitive, but dead people provide some of the best deals you can find. It’s the equivalent of raiding somebody else’s garage or attic for old stuff to sell. Check out the weekly estate sales and auctions in your area, be prepared to buy in quantity, and see what turns up.

Live Auctions

Any live auction in your area is worth checking out, at least once. Just don’t let yourself get caught up in the bidding processyou want to be able to make a profit when you resell the merchandise on eBay!

Vintage and Used Retailers

Head down to the funky side of town and take a gander at what the various “vintage” and used-merchandise retailers have to offer. These are particularly good sources of collectibles, although you might have to haggle a little to get down to a decent price.

Thrift Stores

Think Goodwill and similar stores here. You can typically find some decent merchandise at low costand help out a nonprofit organization, to boot.

Discount and Dollar Stores

These “big lot” retailers are surprisingly good sources of eBay-ready merchandise. Most of these retailers carry overruns and closeouts at attractive prices. You can pick up merchandise here cheap, and then make it sound very attractive in your eBay listing. (“Brand new,” “last year’s model,” “sealed in box,” and so on.)

Closeout Sales

You don’t have to shop at a cheap retailer to find a good deal. Many mainline merchants offer terrific deals at the end of a season or when it’s time to get in next year’s merchandise. If you can get enough good stuff at a closeout price, you have a good starting inventory for your eBay sales.

Going Out of Business Sales

Even better, look for a merchant flying the white flag of surrender. When a retailer is going out of business and says “everything must go,” that means that bargains are yours to be hadand don’t be afraid to try to make a lower-priced deal.

Classified Ads

This isn’t as good a source as some of the others, but if you watch the classifieds on a regular basis, you might stumble over some collectibles being sold for less than the going price online. Just buy a daily newspaper and keep your eyes peeled.

Friends and Family

You can sell stuff you find in your garagewhat about your neighbor’s garage? Think about cutting a deal as a “middleman” to sell your friends’ and family’s stuff on eBay, especially if they’re ignorant of the process themselves. (And remember to keep a fair share of the profits for yourself; you’re doing all the work, right?)

Liquidators and Wholesalers

There are several websites that specialize in selling liquidated merchandise, typically in bulk lots. These items might be closeouts, factory seconds, customers returns, or overstocked itemsproducts the manufacturer made too many of and wants to get rid of. If you’re interested in investing in some liquidated merchandise to sell, a good site to check out is Liquidation.com, which offers various goods from many manufacturers.

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