Pricing second hand items can feel overwhelming at first.
But when you use this simple process, it’s a breeze.
I have been selling used items online for over 5 years, and will share exactly how to price used items for fast sales while maximizing earnings.
How do you price used items?
Using recent sales data is the easiest and most reliable way to determine used item values.
Where can you get recent sales data, for free?
Fortunately, eBay makes sales data accessible to everyone, which is what I’ve used for years.
First, visit the eBay website or open the app if you have it on your phone.
Next, type in the details of your used item, including descriptors like brand, model name, type, color, and any other specifications that are relevant.
Our goal is to generate search results that match your item as closely as possible.
For example, if I wanted to price used furniture, using a search phrase like “Ashley Furniture Altari Alloy Loveseat” is 10X better than saying “Gray Couch”.
The more descriptive search will make our results laser focused on our exact item, which makes our pricing more accurate.
Once we searched our item, we’ll need to activate the ‘used item’ filter and the ‘sold listings’ filter.
The sold listings will show us how much people are actually paying for our item, and the used filter removes any new listings (which would skew our estimations).
At this point, you should be seeing a feed of used items very similar to yours, and how much they sold for.
Tactic for Success
If you’re selling something that’s returning no results or is more obscure, you could see how much pawn shops will pay in your area. Or if it’s clothing or shoes, you can get a cash offer by seeing how much Plato’s Closet will pay. Both options are worth considering to not only get price estimates, but also cash offers on the spot.
Look at 5-10 comparable sold listings or ‘comps’, and take note of three numbers, the lowest selling price, average, and highest selling price.
Getting back to our question at hand, how to price used items. You could price your item at any of those 3 tiers, and get the sale, the only difference will be how long it takes.
If your used item pricing is at the low end of the spectrum, you will sell fast. The more you increase the price (up to the highest sold listings price), the longer it’ll take.
So you have to ask yourself, are you willing to accept a lower payout for your item and get the money faster, or would you rather get a higher payout but have to wait longer?
Best places to sell used items
These days there are more ways than ever to sell used items.
My personal favorite sites to sell used things are eBay and Mercari. Although selling stuff on Mercari is a little more streamlined than eBay, there’s far more shoppers on eBay than Mercari.
If you want to sell your used items locally, here are some great options:
- Garage sale – garage sales are best when you have a bunch of used items to sell. Today’s garage sales draw tons of shoppers, since it’s significantly easier to find them with apps, plus reselling has been growing in popularity.
- Flea Market – Selling used items at flea markets is perfect for getting consistent sales, if you want to build a long term business.
- Facebook Marketplace – very popular way to sell used items, plus it’s a little safer than alternatives like Craigslist which have no security or identify verification procedures in place. Technically you can ship items with Facebook Marketplace too, which is handy.
- Pawn Shop – essentially thrift stores, with higher priced items. When selling used items to pawn shops, make sure you negotiate the sale price up when possible.
Tactic for Success
Regardless of where you sell, spending a few minutes cleaning the item can add serious value. In other words, taking the time to make your item look presentable, can be the difference between getting the sale and not. It can be as simple as dusting it off, removing smudges, and cleaning off easy to remove dirt.
How to earn the most money selling used items?
After years of selling used items online, I’ve learned a few lesser known strategies that can increase your payout.
Include Extras if Possible
Extras are a simple yet overlooked way to increase your sale price, because it can make your offer standout make it feel like a sweeter deal to the buyer.
Pretend that you wanted to buy a used iPhone 12 online.
Do you think the listing would sell for a higher price if it included the original box and charger, or if it was just the iPhone?
Turns out the listing with more extras can sell for a surprisingly higher price.
Great extra to include if possible for a higher sale price are: original boxes, original paperwork/documentation, accessories, or complimentary items (2 PS5 games included with PS5 console).
Cross List Items on Multiple Platforms
Listing the same item across multiple platforms is called cross listing, and is popular among longtime sellers.
I started cross listing myself on eBay, Mercari and Poshmark last year, and was pleasantly surprised how well it worked.
In some situations, the right buyer simply won’t be on the first platform you try, and instead might be on Facebook Marketplace, for example.
Cross listing boosts your listing’s visibility since you’re reaching multiple user bases, and helps you find that ‘right buyer’ faster.
Once sold, remove the item from platforms it’s still listed.
I hope pricing used items seems a little easier now.
After you go through the process a few times, it’ll become second nature.
John-Paul Cody has been an avid online seller for years, across platforms including eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, and more. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and works in data analytics and marketing.