Resale Value Faceoff: Craigslist vs. EBay vs. Consignment

Thanks to the Internet folks have more options when it comes to turning second-hand stuff into cash.

The question is: Who gets you the better deal: EBay (Stock Quote: EBAY), Craigslist, or the pre-Internet way, the second-hand store down the street?

Here are some things you should consider if you’re thinking about making a sale:

OPTION #1 - EBay may be great, but watch out for those fees!

Cost: The San Jose, Calif.-based auction website makes money in two ways: through commissions on all items sold and “upgrade fees” which allows sellers to pay for premium placement of their products on the site.

How it works: If you sell your barely-used 32 inch flat screen HDTV for $1000 you can expect the company to take a 10% cut, so you end up with $900. The trick is making sure your TV gets bought.  With more than 84 million active sellers, there are bound to be more than a few TVs like your up for auction, and standing out could be difficult. You can improve your chances by paying an upgrade fee for as much as $179. That will place your product at the top of the list.

Ease: You don’t have to be a tech wizard to master eBay, but it wouldn’t hurt to get acquainted with PhotoShop either. Take a few good pictures of your item and then take a look at some of eBay’s design templates and decide which one will make your stuff look great.

Chances for Success: Overall, eBay has been incredibly valuable for sellers because of its
Global reach. Unfortunately, because of the huge number of products on the site it’s easy for an individual seller to get lost in the shuffle.

Whether or not you sell depends on the quality of your posting and how you’ve priced your product. Setting your price too high can scare off potential customers. A good tip is to come up with a reserve price, which is the absolute minimum that you’re willing to take. Bidders can’t see the reserve price, so there’s a chance that a flurry of bidding will raise the value of your item. If no one cracks the minimum, you’re not obliged to sell. If they do, you’ve made a few bucks. The bad news is that you’ll have to pay as much as $4 to set the reserve price regardless of whether or not you sell.