There are two main reasons why I love Ebay:
1. It’s cheap
2. You can find awesome one-off’s that no-one else has
It’s a gold mine for furniture & home decor items that would usually be hugely expensive: chairs, tables, sofas, curtains, headboards, lamps, rugs – you name it! And the best part is, the likelihood of anyone else having the same thing is much lower than if you went to Ikea or Habitat.
I’ve been a big fan of eBay for years, and over time I’ve perfected the art of buying like a pro (if I do say so myself!). There are lots of little tips & tricks you can use to help you win & find bargains, so here they are!
1. Download the app
So handy! My favourite thing about the app is that you can set it to notify you just before a watched auction ends. No more forgotten auctions, no more regrets…
2. Use followed searches
If there’s something particular you’re looking for (for me it’s this shaggy pink fur coat that I missed on Asos a year or so ago…) instead of just searching every now and again, you can do a followed search. Enter you keywords in the search bar as usual, then click on ‘follow search’, just under the ‘auction/buy it now’ buttons at the top of the page. Every time new items are listed with those keywords, Ebay will send you a notification! This is such an awesome feature and takes away loads of the leg work.
3. Take advantage of other people’s awful spelling
Misspelled auctions often don’t sell for anything or incredibly low prices, because eBay’s search tool is nowhere near as advanced as Google’s. It doesn’t pick up on spelling mistakes, so the auctions don’t appear in the intended search results. You can take advantage of these typos by searching through a site like Fat Fingers which does the hard work for you, trialing several different misspellings of the keywords you enter.
4. Use the ‘Advanced’ search
It’s on the right at the end of the search bar. The advanced feature allows you to narrow down your search, but my favourite part is the ‘search titles and descriptions’ checkbox. As the name suggests, it searches for your keywords in the item’s description, not just the title (like normal search), so you can find things that may not be accurately listed by the seller.
I know it’s kinda mean buuut you have a much better chance of not only winning the auction, but winning it at a good price if you snipe. This means bidding at the last minute. I place bids with 7 seconds remaining on the clock, and find it works 90% of the time. It works because it doesn’t give other bidders the chance to rethink and increase the bid they’ve submitted. You need to bid at the max you’d be willing to pay to combat Ebay’s automatic bidding system.
6. Bid with weird pennies
If you’re max bid is £20, bid £20.11 or £20.61. In case there are other savvy bidders, I usually do £1.61 higher. Ebay always favours the highest bid, even if there are only a few pence in it, so you should always do this in case you have the same max bid as someone else!
7. Find auctions that end in the middle of the night
I use Bay Crazy for this. You can search for items that end at unsociable hours which are often better deals, as most people won’t wait up until the early hours to bid on something. Goofbid allows you to schedule your bid so you can go off to sleep as usual and it will bid for you.
8. Search on Sunday evenings
This is the most popular time for auctions to begin and end, so you can see all the ending auctions and the fresh stuff in one hit!
9. Search for the same items using different terms
If you’re looking for Ercol dining chairs, try ‘Ercol dining chairs’, ‘midcentury dining chairs’, ‘Windsor chairs’, ‘farmhouse style chairs’ etc. You get the gist!
10. Buy off season
There’s far less competition when you search for seasonal items off season. If you’re looking to buy a new set of garden furniture, you’ll get it at a better price during the autumn/winter than in spring/summer when everyone else starts remembering that they need it too!
11. Look at ‘Collection Only’ auctions
If you’re within range to collect, you’ll get it at a much lower price because the catchment is hugely reduced, and if you’re not, delivery may be much more affordable than you’d think! Shiply is a great tool to compare courier quotes from different companies.
12. Have a peak at auctions that are still under £1 with less than an hour left
Always worth a look! You can see these listings on Lastminute Auction and there are always bargains to be had!
13. Make private offers for items that you really want
Regardless of whether a listing is an auction, buy it now, or best offer, if there’s something that I really want, I’ll private message the seller with an offer. I’m always surprised by how many people are open to ending an auction early for the right price! There’s no guarantee of course, but it’s worth a punt!
14. Find out what others paid for the same item
I like doing this to make sure that I don’t overpay. You can see what similar items sold for in previous auctions by using the ‘Advanced’ option (at the right-hand side of the search bar), and checking the ‘Sold Listings’ box.
15. Here are those handy Ebay tools all in one place:
Search for misspelled listings
Sites that will bid automatically for you
Search for night-time listings
Search for listings ending within an hour that are under £1