It’s summertime which means endless yard sales in communities throughout the US. Before the internet, holding a yard sale was your best bet in selling your old unwanted goods for cash. Then the internet happened and more specifically, eBay.
At first, it was a great time to be a buyer at yard sales. I would go down the street hitting up every yard sale, easily finding items to purchase and resell on eBay. At the yard sale, prices were low because of either low demand for the item or the owner not understanding the value of the item in question. On eBay, you had a much larger audience which can translate into more demand.
Added to this though was the novelty of eBay. It seemed like back in the day, everything sold on eBay and you could find anything you wanted. Now that eBay has matured, it is not the same.
So here you are, having a pile of stuff that you no longer want and you wonder if you should hold a yard sale or just list the items online in hopes of more money. Here is a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Yard Sale vs. Online
As I mentioned above, when holding a yard sale, your audience will be smaller than if you sold the items online. This could equate to a lower sale price at the yard sale. With a yard sale, you have planning to do. First you have to decide when to hold the yard sale, and then you need to advertise it. Overall, the work isn’t too involved but it is work nonetheless.
Then there is spending the weekend manning the yard sale. You can expect to be occupied from 6am to 2pm when you take into account set up and take down times.
With eBay, there is also work involved. You need to create an account if you don’t have one, then take pictures of all of the items individually. From there you have to list each item as well. A week later, if your item sells, you need to pack it up and go to the post office and ship the item.
The benefit of eBay again is potential higher sales price versus the yard sale. Plus, once you have everything for sale, you don’t have to man the table all week while it sells. Of course, for this convenience, you have to give eBay a cut of the profit, usually around 10% (plus more when your customer pays through PayPal). You could cut all of the prep time out and go to an authorized eBay selling shop that will list the items and even ship them for you. Of course, you will have to pay fees for this on top of what eBay takes.
All of the listings on Craigslist are free and there is no fee for selling an item. You still need to take pictures and create individual listings however. From there, you have to field phone calls and emails from potential buyers and then meet up with the buyer to complete the sale.
The fact that there are no fees for selling on Craigslist is great. The only issue is that you have to deal with many low ball offers. I can’t tell you how many times I list and item and get an email offering me 1/10th of my asking price. The great thing is even if you list the price as firm or that you aren’t willing to trade items, you will still be contacted by people trying to low ball you or offer something they have to trade.
All three have their advantages and disadvantages. I use all of them strategically. First, I check out the item on eBay and see what I can expect to sell it for. They have an option to only see completed items so you know what the item sold for recently. If it doesn’t sell, then there isn’t any reason to list it on eBay. If it does sell, I usually will list it on Craigslist first. I do this to try to avoid the 10% hit I take from eBay. Plus for me, it is more convenient to meet someone down the street to finish the sale than it is to pack it up and drive over to the post office.
If the item doesn’t sell on Craigslist, then I will go with eBay for the sale. For the things that I found didn’t sell on eBay in the first place, I will hold a yard sale for those items.