10 Useful Tips for Selling Used Stuff Online

If you are reading this article, you’re among the few people who actually realize how much stuff you’ve accumulated in your house over the years and are probably looking for a way to sell it off. Most people often ask friends and family whenever they are thinking of selling their used stuff. It’s not a bad idea at all but one usually ignored option is to put it up for sale online. You’ll be surprised how many people are looking and willing to buy second hand stuff on the Internet!

1. eBay.in is probably the best site to sell your second hand stuff. The “PaisaPay” escrow like feature is perhaps the best thing eBay has done so far which guarantees your payment as well as protects buyers from fraud. eBay has huge traffic by itself and item listings on eBay generally rank very high on Google.

2. Pricing is key. Always remember, when someone is buying your stuff online, there is a certain level of risk that person is taking, since he is going completely by trust and your description of the item. Offer him a price which accommodates for that risk factor, so that he doesn’t start browsing elsewhere for a better price. In other words, make the offer make him think – “Why not?” instead of “Why?”. A good way to determine a price is by asking yourself – “Will I buy the same item at that price is someone offered it to me?”

3. It’s easy to sell low item values online. Stuff with list price upto Rs. 1000 can be easily sold off since the stakes are not too high for the buyer. But relatively expensive items like old laptops etc. which you are probably selling in the Rs. 10-20k range are harder to get rid off. Describe the condition in detail. Mention how old it is and be honest with the specs and condition. Include a few original pictures to gain confidence of the buyer. If you stay honest, people will also rate you higher in the feedback ratings, which will make future selling easier!

4. Although there is no hard and fast rule for this, I usually sell my stuff after two new iterations of the product have come out in the market, but before the current product goes out of demand. A general thumb rule I follow for electronic gadgets is “2 years old – 50% price”.

5. Apart from eBay, also try classifieds websites like Sulekha.com. Sulekha has insane amounts of web traffic and is usually a good place to list relatively expensive items. All Sulekha.com does is that it connects the buyer directly with the seller, for free. Buyers can then contact you over email/phone and take the deal further. I once sold my Sony Vaio laptop within 3 days of listing it on Sulekha!

6. Don’t even try selling stuff if it’s not in working condition. You can safely assume that it wont sell to anyone except the junk dealer. You can get it repaired and make it sell though. Do some quick maths – if the junk dealer quotes rs. 1000 for an old item and a Rs. 500 repair can help you sell it for Rs. 4000, get it done!

7. Use social media to sell. When you list an item on eBay or Sulekha, post a link of that listing on your Twitter/Facebook profile. Quite often, you’ll find people you know pinging you back, sometimes even because other people they know are looking to buy! They may also retweet and help you spread the link with an even wider audience!

8. If you sell via Sulekha, make sure you do the paperwork right. Do not pass on the original bill. Take a photocopy instead. Moreover, take an identity proof of the person you are selling to (eg. copy of driving license) and clearly write down the date, time and place of the transaction and that the seller is not responsible for anything that goes wrong with the item post purchase. Make sure the terms and conditions are absolutely clear. Incase something goes wrong with the item later (even if it is because of the buyers own fault), he might blame you for fraudulently selling a damaged piece and can start asking for a refund or harass you. Moreover, avoid accepting payments via cash. Opt for Internet transfer since it’s quick and provides full proof of date and time of transaction in case a dispute arises later.

9. Since second hand product prices are not fixed, people will always negotiate. The problem is that you cannot price the item high initially (because then it will not generate enough interest) and neither can you price it too low (since people will almost always negotiate). However, it’s also important to understand that even though buyers are plenty, the right ones are difficult to find. If you find someone offering a price which is not ideal but still acceptable, hang on to it and close the deal. If you don’t, and you’re lucky, you just might find a better deal next day. If not, nobody will contact you for the next 3 months and by then, the expected price would have already fallen to the price you rejected earlier.

10. Do not ignore the junk dealer. Even though he deals in junk, these guys have a life of their own too. They are often willing to buy items in working condition and can pay a decent price since they can use the item at their own house. You cannot compare the price with what you can ideally expect, but if you are looking to sell it and make some cash quickly, the junk dealer is a good place to go.

What I have sold so far on eBay + Sulekha.com:

2 laptops (5 year old IBM and 2.5 years old Vaio), 2 iPod Shuffle, 2 PS3 games, 1 Network adapter, 1 Sony Handycam, 1 Mobile Handsfree kit, 1 Nokia Communicator, 1 Samsung phone, 1 DVD player


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