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7 Tips to make you more efficient on eBay as a Buyer
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[Image: ebay-search-efficient.png]

The auction site and marketplace ebay is a popular destination when it comes to buying things online. I use it predominantly to find items that are not available in shops anymore, e.g. old console games, Lego stuff, or even the odd TV remote that you cannot get anywhere else from anymore.

While ebay is relatively easy to use, it is often the case that you can get better deals and be more efficient on the site if you understand how it works better. In this guide, I'm listing seven tips that could make you a better, more efficient, buyer on eBay.

Tip 1: Efficient ebay Homepage searching

While you can type a search term to find things of interest, it happens quite often that unrelated items are returned on eBay. Search on eBay provides you with a handful of options to narrow down results.
  • Use the minus-character to exclude items from search, e.g. ITEM -ITEMB, to only return results that don't match ITEMB.
  • Limit the results by category. Ebay runs searches across all categories by default.
  • If you get only a few results, check the "include description" option.
Tip 2: Advanced search options on ebay

Ebay's advanced search page provides you with options to define additional parameters for the search:
  • Include and exclude keywords.
  • Search by category.
  • Search titles and descriptions.
  • Set a price range.
  • Set a buying format.
  • Set item conditions.
  • Set shipping options.
  • Define location boundaries.
  • Search specific sellers.
  • Show results with certain characteristics, e.g. best offer or sale items.
While you can make these changes on the results page as well, it may be faster to set them right away.

Tip 3: Sort options are your friend

Ebay displays results by relevancy and may display sponsored results on top as well. The sort options that are provided by eBay let you change the default sort order. You could change them to sort by lowest price (including shipping), highest price, ending soonest, or by nearest.

Tip 4: Filters are even better

Filters are probably the most useful option to narrow down results on ebay. You find them on the advanced search page but also on search results pages.

You may use filters to list items by category, platform, type, model, condition, location, price, seller or buying format.

Tip 5: Save Searches

Ebay has a handy option to save searches to open results at a later point in time using the available items at the time as the base. It speeds up things tremendously when you buy items of a kind regularly, or if you could not find an item of interest but want to continue searching for it.

You can check out our guide on using ebay searches for additional details.

Tip 6: Research prices before you buy

Did you know that you can look up for how much items sold on ebay? It is an excellent option to find out how much an item is worth before you make a buying decision; it is also great for sellers who don't know for how much they should sell an item on ebay.

Basically, what you do is open the advanced search page, type the name of the item that you are interested in, and check the "sold listings" option before you hit the search button.

Check out our research item prices on ebay guide for additional details.

Tip 7: Best Offer means you can get the item for less

Many items that are offered on ebay have a best offer option enabled. It is called "make offer", and you can even enable the "has offers" filter to only display these on ebay.

Best offer means that you can suggest a price for the item. It is up to the seller to accept the offer, make a counteroffer, or decline it right away.

Sellers may enable auto-accepts as well. Select "make offer" on eBay and suggest a price for the item. Some sellers set lower thresholds for the price so that offers lower than the threshold are rejected automatically.

Often, it is possible to get 5% or 10% off the item, or even more. It depends on a number of factors, but it is always better to use the make offer option if it is available as you will save money when using it.

See our how to buy items for less on ebay guide for additional tips.

Now You: do you use ebay? Have other tips?
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