On the surface it seems like it’s easy to figure out what an item is worth, eBay openly shows you the listed prices and even has a filter for showing you the actual sold listings of an item.
And even with this available pricing information, it’s amazing how often people wrongly price an item they want to resell for a profit, myself included.
Over time, I’ve gotten much better at looking up listed prices, then comparing the sold comps to get a value for an item. Can you guess how long it really took me to get confident doing this, for a large amount of different types of items? Almost 2 years, and now even after all of these years of selling on eBay, I still misprice items I want to resell.
For items I’m already familiar with it’s easy to accurately price them using the eBay sold comps, but, for new items you don’t see every day or never sold before, it can still be hard to accurately price something, even though all the pricing data seems to be right at your fingertips!
Make no mistake, it will take you a bit of practice to get the process down for valuing an item you want to flip or resell. Each type of product that is for sale on eBay varies in condition, has a high or low number of available listings, and has a different sale-through rate for how fast it will actually sell once it’s listed.
Below, I’m going to share with you my thought process for looking up certain types of items.
I hope you can take away some tips which will enrich your own strategy for determining the value of an item you want to resell on eBay.
Let’s get into it!
First Things First, How To Look Up The Sold Comps on eBay
90% of the time when I look up prices on eBay, I’m using my smartphone. I think for most people, you are going to use your smartphone too, either an iPhone or Droid.
So, make sure you download and install the eBay app.
Once you have your eBay app opened, go ahead and start searching by one of three ways.
- By doing a keyword search of the item’s brand name, model number, or type of product based on what you know about it.
- If the item has a box or package with a barcode, scan that with the eBay app by clicking on the little camera icon in your search bar.
- The last option is to use the camera icon to take a picture of the item you want to look up and hope eBay is intelligent enough to identify it for you. I find this option to not work very well, however.
Next, you’re going to see a series of listings for the product you just looked up. Depending on how many listings you see, you might find one listing or thousands depending on how rare or common the item is.
In either case, to access the sold eBay comps (the prices that the item actually sold for), just click on the filter option in the upper right corner of your listings, then scroll down the list of filter options and click on “Sold Items”.
Then, the listing prices will turn “Green” in color and you can view the actual sold prices of the item you want to resell.
NOTE: If you don’t have access to a smartphone and are checking prices with a computer, the process is pretty much the same. The only exception is that you are going to have to do a keyword search through eBay’s site search bar at the top of the homepage, then go to your left and access the filter options, then select “Sold Items” that way.
Practice Makes Perfect, Start Looking Up Lots of eBay Items
After you get familiar with the basic process for viewing an item and it’s sold prices, I recommend you look up lots of different kinds of products and play around with all the other filter options like sorting the prices from high to low, shipping options, condition, and any other options that are important for the type of item you are trying to place a value on.
To find items to look up, start with the items around your house. After that, start going out to your local thrift stores and look anything up that you see that looks interesting.
Some other places you can find random items and practice looking up prices are garage sales, flea markets, swap meets, antique stores, rummage sales, church sales, and anywhere else you can think of.
Do yourself a favor and set a goal to look up at least 100 items, this will really help to train you to make checking prices a habit and to build your confidence.
Some people feel weird about checking prices out in public, if this is you, make sure you check out my article called: Should You Feel Weird about Checking eBay Prices in Public?
How Long Will It Take To Build Confidence To Properly Price Items You Sell on eBay?
As a general seller, it took me almost two years to get confident about pricing a general range of items outside my core knowledge of what I would normally sell, which was retro video games in the past. (For the last 5 years, I resell many more items than just video games)
Pricing vintage and antique items can be very hard, when you don’t have any experience dealing with a particular item. Things like condition, variants, markings, rarity, time of year, and if its collectibility is on an upward or downward trend can all affect the price of a particular item.
If an item is newer and you can still buy it in the store, it can be a bit easier to find the value. All you need to figure out is what the average sold price is and make sure you don’t price yourself too high from that range to move the item for a quick sale.
Advanced eBay Related Tools For Looking Up Prices
There are some types of vintage products that are hard to find or rare and will not always show up as an active listing on eBay. If you experience this, you can always click on the sold listings filter anyways to see if there was a recent sale.
If you don’t see a recent sale from the past 90 days, your next best option for looking up that vintage or antique item’s price is to consider using a more advanced tool such as the following:
TeraPeak Research – TeraPeak is available for free if you have an eBay basic store, it gives you a pricing history of up to two years for an item.
WorthPoint – Worthpoint is a great tool that has a monthly subscription. It’s not related to eBay directly, but does have an archive of most eBay sold listings for the last 10 years or longer. It has saved me many times with getting the prices of a hard to find vintage or antique item I wanted to flip for a profit.
I hope you learned something new about using eBay for finding out the recent sold prices for an item you want to list for sale.
The main takeaway I want you to have from this article is that learning the value of an item is sometimes not very easy to pinpoint. You might have to experiment a bit and play around with various pricing and listing strategies so you can find something that will work for your own business model of reselling.
One last note: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked an item up, gotten great sales comps for it, then listed it for sale for what I thought was a competitive price, then just had the item sit there and not sell at all. Over time I’d just lower the price and it would finally sell for a much lower price than I initially thought.
I later found out that sometimes a sold price can be listed for an item, but then, if that item is canceled by the buyer, it still stays as a sold price. So be careful!
After this experience, I’ve realized why specializing in the same category of products can really pay off. If you have an item you already sold in the past, you’ll remember exactly how long and at what price range it sold for already. This will make it much easier to make a profit in less time and value a particular item again and again without having to look it up.
So keep that in mind!
Also, I’m planning more articles about how to value an item you want to sell on eBay or other online marketplaces like Mercari, Etsy, OfferUp, and the like, so stay tuned.