Marilyn, one of our subscribers, emailed in with this question:
I belong to a group of seniors. We all have things like sets of china, stemware, etc. that we would like to sell online but don’t know the best way to do it. We all have cell phones, can take and download pictures.. .but what is the best way to sell?? – Marilyn
If you’re looking to make some extra cash, one of the easiest ways to do so is by selling things you don’t need anymore on the internet.
Depending on how valuable the item might be you could be making a few extra dollars per sale, or start to make even more if you’re a seasoned seller.
Once you’ve found some things to sell, here’s how to get started.
How to sell something online
The three most popular platforms to make money online are eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
They’re each fairly simple to navigate and can be used on both your computer or your cell phone. Here’s how to get started on each platform:
eBay can be used for both auctioning and allowing buyers to bid, or you can sell items more quickly thanks to a Buy it Now option.
Before you can sell something on eBay, you’ll have to create an account. Once you’re logged in, you can tap Sell at the top of the page, or the Selling button on the bottom of the app.
Tips for selling on eBay:
- They will charge between 10-15% of the final value that your item sells for
- Your first 250 listings are free each month
- eBay will recommend the best way to ship your item but you can also pick your favorite local shipping carrier
- There are Seller Protections in place so you can protect yourself from buyers
Listing an item
- First, type in keywords to describe what you’re selling. This might be the brand, model, or simply 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 may skip this step. For other items, either choose from the suggested categories or pick through to get a specific one.
IE: Home & Garden > Kitchen, Dining & Bar > Kitchen Tools & Gadgets > Cooking Utensils
- Select the condition of your item. You can typically note if it’s New, Used, and depending on the item you may have other options like Used with defects or Open box.
- Then create your listing by adding: Photos – Be sure to add multiple photos from all angles. Find more tips on taking photos for listings below.
- Title – avoid caps, use search terms that buyers often use, and focus on specific brand, name, color
- Item specifics – add additional details to help buyers get a good description
- Category & Description – these should already be filled out but you now have an opportunity to change them if you need
- Pricing – select if you want this listing 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 listing to appear. Keep reading for more information on how to price your items.
- Delivery – select how you will be mailing your item once it’s sold.
- Preferences – if you want to set up a return policy, you can edit that in this section.
- List your item – once you’ve filled out all of these steps, you can list your item.
How to get paid
You’ll set up your payment information during your first listing on eBay. Once your item has sold and the buyer’s payment is received, you should receive the money to your bank account within 1-3 business days.
Craigslist is extremely popular since you can post a free listing without an account. It’s a great option for selling locally, as the website is broken up into individual “Sites“ which are usually the bigger cities in every 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 keep better track of your listings.
Tips for selling on Craigslist:
- You can either use your real email address or use Craigslist’s “2-way email relay” which creates a one-time use email address that buyers will see that will forward responses to your real email
- You will only be able to sell on one Site so pick the area closest to you
- Craigslist recommends you only sell items in person
Listing an item
Follow these steps to list an item without a Craigslist account.
- Click “post 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 post and include:
Title: your post’s name. It will appear in the main list of posts.
Posting description: the body of your post.
Reply to: the email address you want to use for responses. Please enter it twice.
- Click continue
- Usually in “For sale” categories, you’ll be able to add photos at this step. You can add up to 12 photos and should upload the best photo first.
- Click Publish
- Confirm your posting via Email. You’ll need to click 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. Be wary of buyers who offer to pay via Zelle, PayPal, or another third-party platform as it may be a scam. Do not accept cashier/certified checks or money orders – banks cash fakes, then hold you responsible. Also never give out any personal information to receive money.
Tips for selling on Marketplace:
- Choose from up to 30 categories for what you’re selling
- You can list products with a price option of “or best offer” which makes selling more flexible to interested customers
- You can sell to anyone on Facebook or just to people who live in your area
- You’ll need the Facebook Messenger app installed on your phone (iOS or Android) to contact your potential buyers
Listing an item
- From your News Feed, click Marketplace in the left menu.
- Click Create new listing, then click Item for sale.
- Click Add photos to upload a photo of your item.
- Enter info about your item. To mark an item as Free, you can enter 0 as the price.
- You can opt to hide your listing from your Facebook friends. It will still be visible to other people on Facebook.
- Click Next. If Next is grayed out, make sure you’ve entered the information that’s required.
- Click Publish to post your Marketplace listing.
- Be sure to edit your post after and update it once your item has sold.
How to get paid
Facebook Marketplace allows both Local transactions (where you meet in person to sell your item) or by selling it through Facebook.
If you opt to ship an item to your buyer, you’ll have to choose who is paying for the shipping: the buyer or you. Costs will be deducted from your payout if you choose to pay for shipping. If you ship the item, you’ll get paid in 10-15 days. Payment is through PayPal or your bank account.
How to make the most money while selling online
1. Take high-quality photos
No one will buy your item if you take a dimly-lit or blurry photo. You’re able to upload multiple photos to all of these platforms, so be sure to take pictures from various angles.
If the item you’re selling has a flaw, be honest about that in the description so the buyer isn’t surprised and disappointed later on. You can take a photo of it so the buyer is aware of what they’re receiving,
2. Set competitive pricing
Always check to see what other sellers are listing similar items for. Keep in mind these tips:
- If the item is high-in-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 lower value, set your price below what others are selling it for so you will be a buyer’s top pick
3. The more you sell, the more you make
If you’re really looking to make extra money, you may have to get creative about what you’re selling. If you’ve already listed everything in your home from clothing to decor to an unused gift, start looking for other items to flip.
If you see a piece of furniture being thrown out on trash day, take it home and list it on Facebook Marketplace for a low price.
Other tips to keep in mind while selling
- If you make an online transaction using PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or on a site like eBay, you have to report your earnings if you make over $600. Find out more from your tax professional or on the IRS website.
- Choose the best platform for your item. There are also other apps like Poshmark and Mercari that specialize in re-selling clothing, so test the different platforms to see where you’re most comfortable selling your items.
- Always be on the lookout for scams. If the transaction seems too good to be true or a buyer offers you more money, avoid selling to them.
Have you ever sold or bought anything one one of these websites? Comment below.