8 eBay Buying Tips That You Can Use Today

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It seems like once a week I get a question from someone who is thinking about buying something on eBay but didn’t do it for one reason of the other. There are all types of products that can be found on the site. Some people haven’t bought anything on there because they aren’t exactly sure how to. This article gives you 8 eBay buying tips that you can use today.

Add items that you’re interested into your watchlist

The eBay watch list is clutch. It is located to the right of the price of every item.  This feature is helpful because it gives you the ability to add an item that you’re interested in your watch list. Having all of your items in the list allows them to be in one place. It will be easy to purchase them from there when you’re ready. The things stay in the watch list until they are sold or expire. You can add any amount of items to the list that you want.

Compare prices

When you’re looking for an item, make sure you check around for different prices. Different sellers may sell items for various prices. Before you buy something, search multiple listings. Don’t forget to look at the shipping price as well. You want to make sure you get the best deal. It would suck to buy an item for $0.99 but have to pay $10 for shipping when you could have found the same item selling for $5.99 including shipping. Comparing prices can save you serious money, so take the time to review at least 3 or 4 of the item that you are interested in before you pull the trigger.

Auction or Buy it now

Most items are sold in an auction or buy it now format. An auction is when a seller lists an item, and potential buyers bid on it. The person who bids the highest wins the auction. Buy it now is when the seller lists an item for a particular price. If the buyer wants the item, they agree to pay that price.  I’m more of a fan of the buy it now option. I want my item sooner than later. It’s up to the seller to decide how he or she wants to sell them. Again, make sure you research items so that you pay the best amount for them.

Auctions can get you your items for a cheaper price at times though. Many listings don’t get a lot of bids, so you can get a huge deal depending on what the item is.

View pictures of the item

The next thing that you want to do is view the pictures of the item. Most items should have multiple photos. If they don’t, feel free to ask the seller to provide some more of them. They should have no problem providing them.  I’ve read stories where a couple of sellers posted other people’s pictures on their listings to try to get top dollar. That’s not cool, and it’s false advertising. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t buy!

I’m sure there are more people on eBay selling the item that you are interested in. If that’s the case, review each listing and purchase from the seller with the best price and feedback.

Read the entire item description

Before you buy an item, make sure that you read the whole item description. Don’t just skim it, read everything. You may think that you’re purchasing a new item, but it could be used or new with problems. The item description should tell you all of that information. If the item doesn’t have a good description, stay away from it. If you see something in the description that doesn’t seem right, reach out to the seller. If they are serious and about their business, they will respond to you.

Check sellers feedback

Before I make any purchases I take the time to view the sellers’ feedback. If a seller has a lot of negative or neutral feedback, I don’t buy from them.  That means the seller isn’t doing something right. You may buy something from them and receive a broken item or something that you didn’t order. As long as a seller’s positive feedback is over 90%, you should be okay.

Check shipping terms & refund/return policies

When you’re buying something, you want to check the terms and policies that the seller has. Some sellers offer same-day shipping. Others ship items within a day or two. You also want to check the refund and return policies as well. Some sellers offer refunds and accept returns while others don’t. Depending on the item it may or may not be that big of a deal to you. Regardless, it’s always good to know what their policies are.

If I’m buying something on eBay, I’ve either had something similar or have purchased that brand before. Because of that, I’ve never had to return anything.

Ask a question

If you have a question about any item that you’re interested in, don’t hesitate to ask the seller a question. Good sellers are there to help you. Heck, they want your business. Most of them will answer your questions in ample time. Potential buyers reach out to me all the time. They ask different questions including dimensions and measurements. Sometimes people ask for more pictures. I answer every question. Most sellers will do the same thing.

To summarize, the 8 eBay tips were to add items to your watch list, compare prices, decide between auctions or buy it now, check pictures, read the entire item description, check the seller’s feedback, check the shipping & return/refund policies, and ask questions. These tips should help your eBay shopping experience be a great one.

Have you ever purchased something from eBay before? Did you have any problems?

Check out these other eBay related articles!

7 eBay Alternatives: Other Places to Flip Items

Should You Start an eBay Store?

Items Not Selling on eBay: 8 Items to Stay Away From

How to Report eBay Income on Taxes

What to Sell on eBay: 45 Items to Flip Now


  1. Great tips! I don’t shop much on eBay since we have Amazon Prime but I can’t wait to start selling on eBay and being on the other side of the equation 🙂

    1. If you need any help let me know!

  2. Thanks for these. I have always been wary of buying things on ebay as I feel like I can never be certain if the picture is real or not! AND I simply don’t want to hassle with a return or fighting about a return with the seller. But as you point out, maybe it’s best to check the seller’s reviews!

    1. The seller’s reviews are key!

  3. You can also make shopping easier by using the filter feature. Most of my wardrobe has come from eBay. Asking the seller questions is essential. I like a thorough response to questions as much as the seller likes fast payment.

  4. Hi Jason,

    Great tips. Whenever I’ve been looking to purchase something on ebay I always compare prices. You’d be surprised how many people sell the same things at different rates, as you said. I tend to lean towards sellers with higher review ratings and free or low cost shipping. And it they live closer to me that’s a plus, as it makes for shorter shipping time frame.


  5. Thanks for the post.
    I will admit I have never used ebay. In the past I have no true interest in it. Recently, I have been thinking about it, so this post helps a lot. Thanks

    1. Thanks for ready. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

  6. Yep, I’m a dinosaur when it comes to eBay–in that I have never purchased or sold anything via it. I usually hop onto Amazon and forget that there are other options out there. You, Jason, have made it sound easy! Thanks!

  7. Pamela Chollet says:

    Great tips! I’ve bookmark them to use next time I try eBay. I’ve been finding better deals on Amazon, but I see I haven’t been digging deep enough into the workings of eBay

  8. Well said Jason. eBay would do well to use your post as a help file on the site.

  9. I’ve bought on eBay a couple of times. One thing was two glasses from a particular NYC bar that my husband wanted and surely couldn’t be found anywhere else. No hassle.

  10. My husband discovered online shopping and everything now seems..”let’s buy it online.” For one, I don’t blame him. He orders today, it arrives the next day…gas and time saved!

    Does it though?

    Thank you for the tips with ebay. I tried it once, didn’t work out for me but with your tips I may try it again…cautiously.

  11. I’ve been telling people you are the king of eBay. Some really good tips here. It’s tough for beginners who don’t know the tricks to get started.

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