Making Money

How To Sell Stuff On eBay – A Complete Guide

There’s no doubt about it – eBay is the place to go when there’s something you want and you’re looking for a great deal.  Second only to Amazon, eBay traffic accounts for 19.7 percent of all online buyers in the U.S.

ebay logo

If you’ve got some things you’d like to part with, you can definitely make money on eBay by selling. Here’s everything you need to know about how to sell stuff on eBay like one of the pros!

How To Sell Stuff On eBay: Setup Your Account

how to sell on ebay and make money

Create A Profile

If this is your first time, go to eBay and set up your account.  Create a user name, pick a password, and then enter your personal information.

Link To PayPal

For over a decade in the early 2000s, PayPal was eBay’s exclusive method for conducting financial transactions.  Even though today eBay also accepts credit and debit cards, you’ll still want to set up a PayPal account (if you don’t already) since this is the system that works best with eBay.

In general, having a PayPal account these days is a good idea.  Not only are they pretty much accepted at just about every major online retailer, but they’re also very secure and have a great Purchase Protection program that caters to buyers if there is a dispute.    

Build Your Reputation

If you’re relatively new to eBay, then you probably won’t have any ratings from other eBay users.  That can be a problem when you try to sell something because buyers generally only want to work with people who have established positive ratings.

You can easily fix this by simply buying a few small items on eBay (that you were going to buy anyway).  After you make your purchase, send the payment immediately and leave some positive reviews for the seller afterward.  Almost always they will return the favor by leaving positive feedback for you as well.

Find Stuff To Sell On eBay

Around The House

Everyone’s got things around their house that they can sell.  It might be collectibles, jewelry, gently used clothes, household decorations, electronics, tools, or several other possibilities.  Start by looking in your basement or garage and see what you might be able to part with.

Flipping Items

Ever been to a garage or estate sale, noticed an item for cheap, and thought to yourself that you could sell it for way more?  

Tons of people do this all the time on eBay.  If you don’t think so, check out this example from Side Hustle Nation where a couple is making up to $3,000 per month buying and flipping guitars on eBay.  Very cool!


When you’re looking for things to sell on eBay, one of the things you’ll want to keep in mind is the logistics of the items you’re going to sell.  Even though the buyer usually pays for the shipping, sometimes it won’t make economical sense and might prevent you from making a sale.  

For example, let’s say you’ve got a gas-powered generator in your garage you’d like to sell.  Although this is a relatively high-dollar item, the +$100 it would take tot ship the item would probably be a deterrent from anyone actually buying it. 

Return On Effort

You’ll also want to consider only selling items that will be worth your time to sell.  For instance, you might have a ton of CDs in your basement (… thank you 1990s …) that you could get rid of.  But when you think about how most used CDs sell for less than $5 on eBay, it would hardly be worth your time to package each one, make frequent trips to the post office, and manage multiple transactions.  

Create The Perfect eBay Listing

Listing something on eBay for sale is a fairly straightforward process.  They have a wizard that walks you through all of the necessary steps and fields that you’ll need to fill in.

How to Sell Stuff on eBay

Below are a few of the important parts that you’ll want to spend some time working on.


Other than a picture, the title of your listing is the first thing people will read.  Often they’ll use the title to screen for items that they’re looking for specifically.  That’s why you’ll want it to be as descriptive and accurate as possible.  

Start by stating exactly what you have to sell and then also include specific details that would be important to the buyer (such as the make, model, etc.).


For most products, eBay will import details from the manufacturer as the basis of your listing.  Again, it will be important that you help eBay to pinpoint exactly what the product is so that you accurately advertise it to the buyer.  Again, this will be details like the model number, size, color, manufacture date, etc.

There will also be a spot for you to add in your personal information about the item.  This is a very important field because it’s your chance to really enhance the listing and make it stand out among all the other similar products for sale.  

Personally, I like to use this field to tell the buyer:

  • Why I’m selling the item
  • Exactly what condition its in (i.e. it’s still in the box and never been used).
  • What I originally paid for it (helps to frame the perception of my asking price).

Most importantly, be honest with what you’re selling.  Nothing drops your ratings faster than a buyer who feels like they were duped.


I could write an entire post about the importance of photos in an eBay listing!  

To summarize, your photos are going to be what either makes or breaks your sale.  If you can show a great looking product from multiple angles and take close-ups of specific details (such as the product tag to validate the product is what you say it is), it’s going to make a huge impact.  Make sure the photos have adequate lighting and don’t show a messy house in the background (a common eBay seller mistake).

Additionally, if there is anything wrong with the product that you’ve already spelled out in the description, take photos of that as well (such as a scratch or crack on the item).


eBay has two main methods for setting a price:

  • Auction – Buyers will bid in increments for your item starting at a low price (usually $0.99).
  • Buy It Now – Buyers can buy your item right away for one price that you set.

There are pros and cons to each method.  “Buy It Now” is great if you just want to sell your item as quickly as possible.  You may or may not get a better price with the “Auction” method.  In the end, go with whichever one you feel the most comfortable doing.

Don’t forget: Whatever you sell, eBay and PayPal will charge fees for their service.  So take this into consideration when you’re setting your price.

After Your eBay Sale

Receive Payment

Never ship anything until you’ve received an official, confirmed payment from eBay.  Once the item leaves your hands, it will be nearly impossible to ever get it back – even if there is a problem with the financial transaction.


After payment confirmation, don’t delay – ship the item right away!  Buyers expect expedient service and it will help to improve your reviews if you ship the item as soon as the next day.  

Pro tip: If you purchase shipping through eBay, not only can you print the labels and package everything from home, but eBay will also provide the buyer with the tracking information making for a much smoother shipping experience.

Rate Your Transaction

Finally, if all was well with your buyer, give them 5-star feedback.  Again, not only will they appreciate you doing this, but they’ll also be more inclined to give you a 5-star rating in return.

DJ Whiteside

DJ Whiteside is a financial enthusiast who believes in helping other people to achieve financial independence. He’s constantly looking for practical ways to optimize savings, reduce spending, and create a lifetime of passive income. DJ holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, which allows him to take an analytical approach to financial topics. He has been a financial writer since 2011 and has self-published 5 personal finance eBooks relating to saving, retirement, and financial independence.

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