Marilyn, one of our subscribers, sent an email with this question:
I belong to a group of elderly people. We all have things like china sets, stemware, etc. that we would like to sell online but we don’t know how to do it. We all have cell phones, can take and upload photos…but what’s the best way to sell?? – Marilyn
If you’re looking to make some extra cash, one of the easiest ways to do that is to sell stuff you no longer need on the internet.
Depending on the value of the item, you could earn a few extra dollars per sale, or start earning even more if you’re a seasoned seller.
Once you’ve found things to sell, here’s how to get started.
The three most popular platforms for making money online are eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
They are each fairly simple to navigate and can be used on both your computer or mobile phone. Here’s how to get started on each platform:
Known as “The Shopping Market”, you can buy or sell just about anything on eBay. Visit eBay.com or download the app on your iPhone or Android.
eBay can be used for both auctioning and letting buyers place bids, or you can sell items faster with a buy It Now option.
Before you can sell anything on eBay, you need to create an account. Once connected, you can press To sell at the top of the page, or the Sale button at the bottom of the app.
Tips for selling on eBay:
- They will charge 10-15% of the final value your item sells for
- Your first 250 ads are free each month
- eBay will recommend the best way to ship your item, or you can choose your preferred local carrier.
- Seller protections are in place so you can protect yourself from buyers
Selling an item
- First, enter keywords to describe what you’re selling. It can be the brand, the model or just the name of what it is.
- Depending on what you’re selling, you may need to select a category next. If you’re selling something specific like a pair of shoes, you can skip this step. For other articles, choose from the suggested categories or select a specific one.
IE: Home & Garden > Kitchen, Dining & Bar > Kitchen Utensils & Gadgets > Cooking Utensils
- Select the condition of your item. You can usually note whether it is New, used, and depending on the item you may have other options like Used with flaws Where Open box.
- Then create your ad by adding: Pictures – Be sure to add multiple photos from all angles. Below are more tips on taking photos for announcements.
- Title – avoid capitals, use search terms buyers use often, and focus on a specific brand, name, and color
- Object characteristics – add additional details to help buyers get a good description
- Category Description – these should already be filled in but now you have the option to edit them if you need to
- Pricing – select whether you want this ad to be an auction or not. If you want it to be an auction, select a starting price. If not, your item will be listed as “Buy It Now” for sellers. You can also choose when you want your ad to appear. Keep reading for more information on how to price your items.
- Delivery – select how you will send your item once it is sold.
- Preferences – if you want to set up a return policy, you can modify it in this section.
- List your item – once you have completed all these steps, you can list your item.
How to get paid
You will set up your payment information when you first list on eBay. Once your item has sold and buyer’s payment has been received, you should receive the money in your bank account within 1-3 business days.
Craigslist is extremely popular because you can post a free listing without an account. This is a great option for selling locally, as the website is split into multiple “Sites” which are generally the largest cities in each state. Visit Craigslist.org or download the app on your iPhone or Android to find your site.
You can also create an account if you want to better track your ads.
Tips for selling on Craigslist:
- You can either use your real email address or use Craigslist “Two Way Mail Relay” which creates a one-time-use email address for buyers to see and forwards replies to your real email
- You can only sell on a Site so choose the area closest to you
- Craigslist recommends that you only sell items in person
Selling an item
Follow these steps to list an item without a Craigslist account.
- Click “Publish to Classifieds” in the top left corner
- Select a category for your post – here you can click For sale where it will ask for a more specific category
- Create your message and include:
Title: the name of your message. It will appear in the main message list.
Description ad: the body of your message.
To respond to: The email address you want to use for replies. Please enter it twice.
- Click on Continue
- Usually, in the “For Sale” categories, you will be able to add photos at this stage. You can add up to 12 photos and must upload the best photo first.
- Click on Publish
- Confirm your publication by e-mail. You will need to click on a confirmation link in your inbox.
- Your post should appear on Craigslist within 15 minutes.
How to get paid
Since Craigslist suggests selling items in person, the easiest way to make money is to accept cash. Beware of buyers who offer to pay via Zelle, PayPal or another third-party platform, as it may be a scam. Do not accept cashier’s checks/certified checks or money orders – banks cash fake ones and then hold you responsible for them. Also, never give out personal information to receive money.
Marketplace is offered through the Facebook app – on iPhone and Android, as well as on the Facebook website.
Tips for selling on Marketplace:
- Choose up to 30 categories for what you sell
- You can list products with a price option of “or best offer” which makes the sale more flexible to interested customers
- You can sell to anyone on Facebook or just people who live in your area
- You will need the facebook messenger application installed on your phone (iOS or Android) to contact your potential buyers
Selling an item
- In your News Feed, click Marlet in the left menu.
- Click on Create a new listthen click Item for sale.
- Click on Add pictures to upload a photo of your item.
- Enter information about your item. To mark an item as free, you can enter 0 as the price.
- You can choose to hide your ad from your Facebook friends. It will still be visible to other people on Facebook.
- Click on Following. If Next is grayed out, make sure you have entered the required information.
- Click on Publish to post your Marketplace ad.
- Be sure to edit your post after and update it once your item is sold.
How to get paid
Facebook Marketplace allows both Local operations (where you meet in person to sell your item) or by selling it through Facebook.
If you choose to ship an item to your buyer, you will have to choose who pays for the shipping costs: the buyer or yourself. Charges will be deducted from your payment if you choose to pay for shipping. If you ship the item, you will be paid in 10-15 days. Payment is made via PayPal or your bank account.
1. Take high-quality photos
No one will buy your item if you take a low-light or blurry photo. You can upload multiple photos to all of these platforms, so be sure to take photos from different angles.
If the item you’re selling has a defect, be honest about it in the description so the buyer isn’t surprised and disappointed later. You can take a picture for the buyer to know what they receive,
2. Set competitive prices
Always check to see why other sellers are offering similar items. Keep these tips in mind:
- If the item is in high demand, you may be able to set your price a little higher than average to make more money.
- If the item is not in demand or has a lower value, set your price below the price at which others are selling it so that you are the buyer’s first choice.
3. The more you sell, the more you earn
If you’re really looking to make some extra cash, you may need to get creative with what you’re selling. If you’ve already listed everything in your home, from clothes to decor to an unused gift, start looking for other items to return.
If you see a piece of furniture thrown away on Trash Day, take it home and list it on Facebook Marketplace for a low price.
- If you transact online using PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or on a site like eBay, you must report your earnings if you earn more than $600. Check with your tax professional or on the IRS website.
- Choose the best platform for your article. There are also other apps like posh mark and Mercari who specialize in clothing resale, so experiment with the different platforms to see where you’re most comfortable selling your items.
- Always be on the lookout for scams. If the deal seems too good to be true or if a buyer offers you more money, avoid selling to them.
Have you ever sold or bought anything on one of these sites? Comments below.