Ebay Tips for Buyers

Category: Cool-Stuff

I've tried several times to buy items on eBay, but the bidding options are confusing to me, and I always get outbid at the last minute. Can you give me some tips on saving money and winning eBay auctions?

ebay buying tips

Tips and Tricks for eBay Buyers

eBay is a great place to find things you want, and usually at a great price. You can find clothes, electronics, even houses and cars posted for sale on eBay. Even that limited edition, gold-plated doohickey you've been wanting -- yup, there's somebody selling one on eBay.

But for some people, winning auctions can become an obsession. Others may be prone to emotional bidding in the final moments of an auction, and spend more than they wanted on an item. Here are a few tips to help you set a realistic bid price, and win auctions at the best possible price:

Auction Research

Use eBay's hidden "advanced search" screen (look for the link to the right of eBay's standard silver search button) to help decide your best bidding price. Click the "Completed listings only" checkbox before searching for your item to display actual winning bid amounts for similar auctions that have recently ended. Once you've determined a good bidding price, you can avoid costly emotional bidding wars.

And here's a trick that experienced eBay bidders use -- bid for items when there are the fewest number of other people to bid against you. Often you can win with the lowest bids when the auction ends in the middle of the night or on a holiday or some other time when people are generally absent from their computers. The "advanced search" screen can also be used to find auctions with closing times that will allow you to avoiding competing bidders.

Bid Robot One way to help win auctions that end at odd hours is to use an automated sniping tool like Bid Robot, which automatically places your bid in the final seconds of an eBay auction. This down-to-the-wire bidding technique prevents other bidders from raising the price of an item, because they won't know you have an interest in it. Other bidders who may have been watching the item will be caught off guard, unable to make a higher counter bid before the auction ends.

You should also check out the seller's rating and comments. If the seller is very new, you might want to wait until the seller has more experience. If the seller has problems with previous buyers, it's a good idea to bid on someone else's products. Problem sellers can make for late shipments, no shipments, or poor quality service. eBay's Advanced Search Help page has more information on how to do auction research.

Set It And Forget It!

With eBay, you have the ability to set your max bid and walk away. Let's say you researched a product, and found it normally sells for $25. The current bid is at $10. You can set your max price at $25, let eBay place your initial bid at $10, and then automatically adjust this only if someone else tries to bid on the product. You will be notified by email if your maximum bid has been exceeded. You can learn more about proxy bidding on eBay's website.

With this feature, if no one bids above $10, you pay only $10. If someone tries to bid on the product, say at $15, eBay will automatically input your next bid at $16. This will ensure you don't have to keep watch over your item, and it will do this up to the point when your set price has been reached. You might think this is very similar to using an automated "bid sniping" tool like Bid Robot, and up to a point, you're correct. The difference is that with proxy bidding, you must publicly express your interest in an auction, thereby giving others the chance to engage in a bidding war which drives up prices.

Either way, the idea is not to get wrapped up in the heat of bidding, just set your price and walk away. If you don't win, just leave it alone. More than likely, another person will be selling something very similar.

Buy It Now

If you don't like the idea of someone coming in and bidding higher than you, you can check out eBay's Buy It Now feature. This allows a buyer to purchase the product instantly, before people start bidding on a product. If you've done your research, you will know what the item is worth. And if a product normally sells at the listed Buy It Now featured price, then you can save time by purchasing it now. It can also take the stress out of bidding and eliminate the possibility that someone else will "snipe" you at the last minute.

Buying Local

If you're looking to purchase a product, consider buying local, so you can save on shipping costs. Often eBay sellers charge you the exact shipping price. If you're local, you can ask to pick up the item, or you might get a lesser charge on shipping. If you're planning to bid at eBay for a large item that may be difficult to ship, for example a vehicle, boat or furniture, you can search at Auction ZipCode to see your eBay search results on a US Map, and choose the closest seller.

When you've done your research, you can look at critical elements like locality, the customer service provided by sellers, and prices. It's research that makes bidding and all the other tips come together. Do you have some good tips for eBay buyers? Post your thoughts below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Ebay Tips for Buyers"

Posted by:

Lon Phillips
22 Nov 2007

OR, you can use a program that will bid for you and automatically sign in just before the end of the auction to set the highest bid!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ummm, you mean like Bid Robot, which I mentioned in the article?


Posted by:

Ed
26 Nov 2007

I have been an ebayer since March of 2004 but now rarely sell there because the cost of selling is to high if you don't sell what you list. I still buy there once in a while if I find something I'm looking for but I try to buy where I sell the most listed below, Check it out, you'll be glad you did. The prices are very good on most items. :)

I now have over 400 items listed at Onlineauction.com or ola.com and it cost me $8. a month no matter how much I list or sell and there are no final value fees :) It's a lot better deal than ebay. It doesn't yet have the traffic that ebay has but is a fast growing site.


Posted by:

friendyomi
20 Apr 2010

thanks.
Car Buyers


Posted by:

darla walther
23 Jan 2015

How can I search for an item, but make sure it is not from a foreign country ? I'm tired of having to sort thru all of the items from HongKong and China.....help please


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