Suzanne Wells turned her life around after she started selling household items on eBay.  

Suzanne Wells turned her life around after she started selling household items on eBay.  

Suzanne Wells

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Spring is finally here (supposedly), which means it's the perfect time to clean up your closet and clear the clutter from the rest of your home. It's not easy to throw away things you paid a pretty penny for, but you don't have to toss everything in the dumpster.

Suzanne Wells, author of the blog eBay Selling Coach, started her eBay career after she got divorced and lost her job in 2003; she started selling items from her house like kitchen and home items and even children's clothes and toys. Now, Wells is a top seller on eBay and supports her family with the money she makes. Wells shared her tips on how beginners can turn their trash into treasure on eBay. 

1. Don't throw out your broken goods. "There's a lot of repurposing," says Wells. "Things that are broken or vintage that don’t look so great can be refinished or redone in such a way that it is desirable to have in your home."

And Wells advises dividing and conquering. Wells gave one shocking example about Keurig coffee makers. "The water tank itself will sell for $20; the lid to the water tank will sell for $10 and the carousel stand that holds the coffee can sell for $30," says Wells. "Things in the kitchen cabinets that look like a jumbled mess are highly desirable on eBay, especiall if it's an older model because they may not make it anymore. People go to eBay and find the parts they need" She also said sellers can list parts from other kitchen wares, computers, electronics and old game consoles. Sort through your electronics well: Wells says even VCRs are worth something on eBay. 

2. Check completed listings to set a price. Wells says not to base your price on current listings, but completed listings so you can see the price at which similar items actually sold. "Go on eBay and search the completed listings – sold listings," says Wells. "They’ll have the price in green so someone actually paid for that item. That’s how you research. Research what sold instead of asking prices." 

3. Sell using the "Buy It Now" option. Auctions are the way to go if you want to get rid of something fast, but Wells says you'll get the most money if you select the "Buy It Now" with a "Best Offer" option. Not only will you have the benefit of having your listing up for a longer period of time, ensuring you get more eyeballs on your item than in the 7-day timeframe of auction listings, but you will also have your item show up on Google when you have a 30-day "Buy It Now" listing. Wells says if you know from past listings that it is possible to sell your item for a certain price, you should use "Buy It Now" to wait for the right buyer. You can even add an option that keeps the listing up past 30 days until it's canceled, allowing even more time for potential customers. 

Wells says showing up in Google results is huge. "A lot of times people don’t even think to go to eBay to look for something, but they can find your item through Google," she says. Wells says using the "Buy It Now" option may mean a slightly higher eBay fee, but that it is ultimately worth it - even if you have to wait six to eight months for someone to purchase your item. 

4. Use the "Best Offer" option. Wells says the "Best Offer" option is like a "reverse auction" because it gives wiggle room for buyers to haggle. "I tell sellers, 'Price your item 20 percent more if you're putting in "Best Offer"; there are a lot of people where negotiating is part of how they buy things, and if you don't have "Best Offer," they may not want to buy anything from you at all.'" Wells also advises not to set up the autodecline function for offers that are too low. "If you list something for $40, and someone offers $39, the autodecline will turn that down and close that door," she says. "You might be more flexible if someone is buying several items." 

5. Take great photos. Present your items in the best light. "The computer screen is the only thing you've got between you and your buyer," says Wells. "It should be clear, cropped-in tightly. eBay estimates that 25 to 40 percent of sales are made on mobile devices; if the picture is not clear or it’s not cropped in tightly, it’s hard to see and mobile buyers are impatient they don’t want to zoom in and try to see what you're selling." Wells suggests investing in a mannequin for clothing items, as well.

6. Choose your words wisely. There are two things to keep in mind when writing your listing title and description: use words that describe the item, and use keywords buyers may be using in search terms. "For example, if you’re selling handbags, not everyone in the country calls it a handbag - in the South they call it a purse or if it’s a clutch or a hobo, make sure to write what kind of bag is it," says Wells. "They say the first six words are most important - so think of the brand name, color, size and the most important words that a buyer would search for. Write for buyer, not a search engine." Wells also says to try to make the description more than 100 words for SEO purposes. 

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