10 Step Guide to eBay - How to become a better buyer

👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅08-09-09

eBay was established back in 1995 and is regarded by many as the online auction website. Everyone has heard about eBay and due to its rapid success there are now millions of registered users worldwide selling items every single minute.

Do you have trouble winning items? Have you struggled to win that special gift time and time again? Well today we have the solution for you - our guide to becoming a better eBay buyer!

1. Research your desired item. Find out how much its worth at retailers.

Do the background checks, find out how much you can get the item you are after for in local shops or online stores. From this we can then determine a limit for how much you are prepared to pay.

2. Set yourself a limit and stick to it.

The pitfall that most buyers fall into when bidding is not setting a budget, or rather not keeping to the budget. It's important to keep to a limit, otherwise you can get caught up in a bidding war and end up spending lots more than you originally planned. Be disiplined, set yourself a limit, and stick to it.

3. Build up a watchlist.

When you have researched your item, and decided a budget. Build up a small list of potential buys in your watchlist. This will give you a good overview of what's out there, and give you the ability to view current prices and acivity all-in-one via your 'My Ebay'.

4. Investigate the seller.

You might think that the important thing is the condition and price of an item. But often, its the seller you need to concern yourself with. It is highly recommended that you check the seller of the item you are going to bid on. Check their feedback, is it strong? Have they had any awkward transactions in the past? How many items have they sold previously? Although eBay is a fabulous tool for buying and selling, because of its phenominal success, scammers have been attracted to using and abusing it as a resource.

It's quick and easy to signup to eBay and begin trading. Due to this fact the community is wide open to fraudsters and poor traders. Being on your guard and investigating sellers will prevent you being a vicitm of crime. Sure enough users do get their money back and issues are resolved but these situations can take weeks and months. Avoiding such problems as you will agree, is desirable.

5. Patience is key to getting a bargain.

It may be that the item you have your eye on doesn't end for 9 days. Bidding on the item at such an early stage, whilst it might make you feel better, reduces your chances of buying the item cheaper and thus at all. This is the route cause of items going for silly prices - way above retail.

If you have a group of users that place their bid days before the listing ends, the price bumps right up and they only ruin grabbing a bargain for themselves. Waiting secures a chance of snapping up a bargain. More on this in Point 9.

6. Include the postage in your budget.

It's very unusual for a seller to take care of postage costs, so you should observe the postage costs that have been set as you want to include this in your budget. Heavy objects will incur large shipping fees and Overseas purchases will require insurance.

7. Thoroughly check the listing.

Be sure to check the entire listing for an item, as some sellers will include small print that you could miss if you only briefly look over it. Some listings have been known to mislead users into believing they are purchasing a real item when in fact they are only purchasing instructions for example. So take note of everything on the listing you are looking at, including postage and payment methods. It's a worth the time, otherwise you could end up with trouble on your hands.

8. Search for spelling mistakes.

One trick to getting a bargain is to search for common brands mispelt. For instance, BOSCH drills are a typical example of this. People spell BOSCH, as BOSH, BOSHCE etc. I have personally taken advantage of listings that contain a mispelt title and naturally the listings do not get the same amount of hits as correctly spelt listings sustain.

9. Bid at the last minute.

Many bidders fall foul of bidding days, hours and minutes before a listing ends. This pushes the price up, and if a group of buyers decide to start bidding in this way the price shoots right up. This is pretty pointless, as you want to walk away with the item at the cheapest price, right?

Here's a little tip. Wait until you are inside the last minute of the item ending and place your bid with just 10-20 seconds left to go. The best method of doing this is to actually have a window open with the maximum you are prepared to pay for the item - and another window with just the listing showing so that you can observe the current price and any activity. As the closing 20 seconds elapses, hit the button and place your bid. By offering the maximum price at such a late stage, bidders watching will not have enough time to even think about placing a bid to counter yours. This is a great tactic and one that you should try to perform, as it maximizes your chances of walking away with the item.

TIP: Placing a maximum bid is simple. Example: An item is currently at $20 and you place a bid of $50. The item will move up to the next increment - eg. $20.50. You are the maximum bidder. Your $50 is invisible to others though, if a bidder comes along and bids $21.00 they will instantly be outbid, by you. They can keep submitting bids until they get to $50 but you will remain the highest bidder. This is a great tool for winning items. Take advantage of it!

10. If you are outbid beyond your budget.

If the price raises above the budget you set. Do not go beyond it. Be disiplined and learn to move on. Bidding wars are very easy to get into, getting into one will only result in you spending more than you intended. Patience is a virtue - there will always be similar items out there!

This concludes our eBay guide. We hope you find the above hints and tips useful if you wish to discuss this guide then please head over to our forums.