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Sunday, May 31, 2020

eBay Sellers: How To Evaluate Secondhand Goods

In the appraisal business there are several types of valuation, but the most common is "Fair Market Value." A typical definition of this type of valuation describes it as "The amount at which an item of property would change hands between a willing buyer and willing seller, when neither is under any compulsion to buy or sell and both parties having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts."

The question most people have is "How do you establish that value?" There are two primary criteria that you can use to evaluate secondhand goods. Firstly, recent sales of similar goods and secondly, overall supply and demand for the goods.

How accurate this appraisal needs to be depends on its final use. If it is being provided by a professional appraiser to a paying client, all possible reasonable measures must be taken to ensure an accurate evaluation. If, however, this is a valuation for personal use or for a private purchase or sale, significantly more leeway is allowable. This article will explain how to approach the latter situation.

There are many ways to establish recent sales prices of similar goods with one important caveat which will be explained in a moment. A secondhand dealer, someone with specialized knowledge, or many people who dabble in flea markets, and buying and selling secondhand goods, will have their own experience to draw upon. Others will need to learn some of the best places to find recent sales prices.

The number one error of the non-professional appraiser is to use the prices of goods offered for sale rather than the prices of goods that have actually sold. A typical scenario would be to check out similar items for sale in secondhand stores or classified ads. The flaw in this method is, of course, that you don't know if the items will actually sell for these prices. Fortunately, modern technology has offered us superior, alternative methods.

One source of recent sales prices is eBay itself. Here you can search millions of items including items whose auctions have concluded successfully. Keep in mind that you will need to set up an account in order to see completed sales.

Auctions of the traditional sort are also excellent sources of recent sales prices. Many auction houses post their sales results online. Attending as many auctions as possible in person is another great way to help you to build up a knowledge of values.

Understanding supply and demand for a product can be a little trickier. One clue comes in your research for recent sales prices. Difficulty in locating these may be an indication of low supply. Calling potential sellers and asking them directly about availability and demand can also provide information to assist you in your evaluation.

Like every skill, practice will help you to hone your skills, develop your own unique techniques, and give you the ability to make faster and more accurate evaluations.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Dos and Don'ts Of Finding Bargains At Yard Sales

Finding Bargains At Yard Sales for your eBay business or for your own home and family

Yard sale season is upon us once again and this means that mainy happy shoppers will be out scouring the neighborhoods for the best bargains. There will be many two main types of yard sale shoppers out there, the ones that are looking for some cheap bargains for the family and the ones that are looking to replenish supplies for their eBay inventory. Personally, I fall into both categories because while I feel that yard sales are the perfect environment for finding a great range of merchandise at great prices, which is a must when looking to sell it on at a profit to my own customers, I also like to find items for my family. The problem with yard sale shopping is that there are many traps that buyers can fall into and a great bargain isn't always guaranteed. Luckily, I have learnt plenty of tricks and have lots of tips on what to look for, what to avoid and how to make the most of a yard sale.

The dos and don'ts of stocking up and finding bargains at yard sales:


Look to repeat previous successes. This is probably the best piece of advice to start with because it always pays to look for items you have successfully sold in the past as you know what kind of price you can get. Having said that, you should not be too cautious either because it does not hurt to take a gamble on an item that you think might sell if you have a good hunch and the price is right. At worst, I'll try to get the investment back if I can't sell for a profit.

Keep current trends in mind as you buy. Be aware of what antiques and collectibles are hot in décor magazines, such as the industrial style that is currently very popular. Browsing eBay sold items, Pinterest and reading a lot will help you get a better understanding of trends and what sells: use that to your advantage! Even if you are not looking to resell items and are shopping for yourself, yard sales can offer unique, attractive, vintage items that will spruce up your interior like no-one else's.

Take the time to research brands before getting sucked in by “designer” names. Buying second-hand clothes from yard sales can be a great idea (I buy a lot, especially kid's clothes) but if you are going to resell clothes and shoes you have really know your brands – such as the difference between a real Vuitton bag and a knock-off – and be be extremely picky about quality. Personally, I don't touch anything that is on the high-end scale because it is too much hassle; it will only pay off if you get it exactly right and know you have bought a bargain. On a related note,while kid's clothes are not always easy to shop for, especially when it comes to young boys that always seem to end up putting holes through their knees, it is still it's worth having a look because you can find quality brands and sometimes even unusual, eco-friendly ones.

Keep an eye out for specialized rarities that are not available to costumers overseas. My international buyers often send me special requests for hard-to-find items so I try to maintain that relationship by searching for them where I can.

Think about gifts for friends and family. It never hurts to plan ahead and think about next Christmas a little bit early and it is easy to find like-new toys still in their boxes, or even new books and DVD's! All you need to do is double check their quality before you buy, make sure they are the real-deal (not some cheap bootlegged knock-off) and you have a great present lined up.


Get drawn in by the big brands to the point where you end up paying too much. There are some classic toys that will pretty much guarantee you a sale because of their popularity – Lego, Playmobil and Littlest Pet Shop being prime examples – but sellers at yards sales are fully aware of this too and can catch out unsuspecting buyers that are looking at the name and potential rather than the high ticket price. Lego and Playmobil are great buys but only if you get them cheap.

Buy items that you can't handle. There will be plenty of items at yard sales that will catch your eye, especially if you are looking with interior décor trends in mind, but they will be no use as a profitable resell item if you cannot store it and ship it to another buyer. Don't buy furniture, even if the price is ultra cheap, unless you have a use for it in your own home.

Assume that just because an item is old that it's worth something! The worst culprits are stamps because I have seen far too many ridiculous price tags on them in garage sales and I have friends that bring me some they bought at a premium price at a yard sale, thinking they hit the jackpot, only to find out they are worthless. These sorts of collectibles – stamps, coins, etc – should only be bought if you are knowledgeable on the subject.

Buy personal care items from garage sale. To put it simply, you never know where they've been. Used perfumes and half-empty pots of skin care cream are far more likely to bring you an allergic reaction than a profit. If you must go in for toiletries and beauty items, they should be bought new and from a legitimate source.

It is all about being yard sale-savvy. Some of the tips listed here may seem like common sense dos and don'ts; however, it is far too easy to get swept away by the prospect of bargains, top sellers and unusual collectibles and end up leaving your common sense in your own front yard. 

All you need to do is undertake a little research on what sells and what it hot, have a clear plan of what you want and what has worked for you in the past and stick to it without getting distracted by items that are overly-expensive, unlikely to sell or completely impractical. 

If you can do that, chances are you will come home with exactly what you want for your home or the ideal items for reselling on eBay rather than purchases you will later regret.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Before You Quit Your Day Job | 7 Things You Should Know

You really can quit your day job and be very happy and still be able to take care of yourself and your family. I did and I know many people who have done it, too. But you can’t just put in your resignation and then hope everything turns out ok. There are some things you should keep in mind.

Before you quit your day job, here are 7 things that you should consider:

1. Income

No matter what, you still need to have an income. You need to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head and pay bills. How much will you need? Well, that depends on you. Is it just you that you need to take care of or do you have a family that depends on your income? Know how much money you need to get by before you go ahead and quit your day job.

2. Time

You obviously have some idea how you’re going to make money when you quit your day job but when are you going to do it? How much time do you have to dedicate to your money making idea or a business? If you have children you are going to have to figure out how you are going to get work done while they are around or you’re going to have to make arrangements for child care. Either one can work so just figure out which solution works the best for you. Believe me, working when the kids are around is not easy and will hurt your productivity badly; paying for child care may not be a better option.

3. Don’t Forget to Schedule

Just because you have quit that day job doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have some sort of schedule. Many people think that they can start up a home business and just run it when they have time but the truth is that there is a reason why bricks and mortar businesses run on a schedule. It is because it makes them more efficient. Having a schedule will allow you to get more done in less time and ultimately that is what you are after isn’t it - more time, less work?

4. Be Open to the Options

Don’t leave your job like a teenager and tell your boss where to go. They won’t like that. Don’t burn your bridges when you leave a job. Be polite. Give them time to find a replacement. Leave everything on as nice a note as possible. You might decide a few months down the road that you miss your job and want to come back but that isn’t going to be possible if you act like a big baby and tell them where to shove it!

5. Save Up

If you know you are going to quit your job, make sure you prepare ahead of time by saving up some money before you leave. Even if you have a plan to start a business or something else that will make money, you never know how well it is going to work out so try to save up at least a few months of money that will cover your basic needs.

6. Don’t Forget Taxes

If your plan is to run your own business, remember that you will be expected to pay your own taxes. If you forget about this you might end up with a hefty bill to pay come tax time. You should put about 25% of what you earn into a savings account just for taxes.

7. Enjoy!

You may have quit the day job so that you can do work from home but don’t forget to find time to enjoy yourself. Many people don’t know this but people who work from home often work much longer hours than those who work a day job! They don’t always have weekends off and they don’t always get to quit at 5 PM! But you need to make time to enjoy yourself and enjoy your family if you want to make quitting your job worth it.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Golden Rules On Finding Suitable Free Packing Supplies

There are many aspects to being a great seller, whether you trade via sites like eBay or run your own home business; not only do you have to offer customers the right product, you have to make sure it arrives to them in a way that means they will happily do business with you again. Unfortunately, this can mean lots of boxes and packing materials, which, if you are not careful, can cost a lot of money. The following tips on free packing supplies are designed to help you find that ideal mid-way point between great packaging and low cost.

Finding the right box
Let's start with the most important aspect of all: something to put the item in. Free boxes can be easily found from a range of sources, from workplaces and different shops to helpful friends and neighbors. Shoe boxes are in great supply and a great medium size, but if you need something smaller then glasses boxes from opticians are ideal. The strength of the box may be a concern if it has already been flattened and used but just remember that wine shops and book stores tend to have stronger boxes with bases that are more secure. Recycling bins can be great too – one man's rubbish bin is another's treasure chest – but they may be seen a last resort depending on their condition. If it is exposed to the elements then it is best to move on but if it is safe and dry, say part of the recycling scheme in your apartment building, there is no harm in reusing them.

Be creative with the free packing supplies
Again, family and friends can be a big help if you ask them to save their own packaging, even if that simply means they bag up the foam peanuts from their latest purchase. Failing that, furniture stores and offices can be great source of unwanted packing materials on a larger scale; you could buy a bulk roll of bubblewrap at a reasonable discount but there is just as good a chance that these establishments will have just as much going free. Alternatively, you could think outside the box – excuse the pun – for materials that will provide just as much security without breaking the bank. We all desperately save newspapers when we are moving so why not here, especially when a buyer is unlikely to care if their item is wrapped in plastic or last week's sport's section as long as it is intact.

An extra touch to seal the deal
One final tip to add in here, before highlighting the golden rules, is to save paper so you can write little thank you notes to the customer, such as from the backs of envelopes. Not only will this add a friendly, personal touch that the buyer will appreciate, it may help you if you are feeling a little guilty for cutting corners.

Those final, golden rules on free packing supplies
#1 – Check all your possible sources. There is no harm in asking your kid's school for items that will be thrown out if you have a good relationship with them and you may be surprised by some store policies.
#2 – Be creative with materials that are around. The most important qualities are that it is free and it is secure, not how conventional it is.
#3 – Be aware of balancing low cost with decent quality. A moldy, torn box full of smelly foam or soiled papers is unlikely to bring buyers back!!
#4 - Christmas and birthday parties are your friends. Save all gift wraps and re-use them!

Remember, there is nothing wrong with free packing supplies: you are not only saving money (and can pass the savings to your buyers) you also help mother nature!
What's your favorite Free Packing Supplies tip?