Using your eBay skills to help others

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Recently I was asked to help a friend who has been going through some tough financial times to deck out his house as affordably as possible, with good quality, nice looking furniture.  For the sake of this email I will call him ‘Brian’.  Two years ago Brian, his wife and their 3 children had sell their house due to financial reasons and move in with his family.  They chose at the time to sell almost all of their furniture instead of paying for expensive storage.

Two years on and they are beginning to get back on their feet financially. Although far from being wealthy; they are now able to at least rent a house of their own.

As most of us know, to outfit a house with new,quality furniture for a family can easily cost upwards from $10,000.  However …  If you take the skills we use to optimise eBay sales and reverse them, it is quite incredible how cheap you can deck out your whole house with “quality” furniture and… not spend a ton of time finding the items either.

The secrets to buying items cheap on eBay is as follows:

  1. Search categories within eBay using “no” keywords
  2. Setup criteria for your item/s i.e Max price, Max distance from your zip / post code, new or used etc.
  3. Save your search criteria so eBay emails you daily every time an item meeting your criteria is listed
  4. Use an auction sniping program like Gixen to bid on the items in the last 5 seconds.

So far this is what we have purchased for my friends new rental property.

King size solid timber bed with matching solid timber draws. One of the draws still has the sticker from when it was purchased new for $350.  This whole set would have cost well over $2,000 and we sniped it for $199 as per the screenshot



Next was a dishwasher for $76 (notice the lack of keywords used by the seller “dishwasher LG”)



Other items we have helped Brian find are:

As New Ikea solid Timber Ingolfbar stools x 2 $51 for both (RRP $79 each)

8kg Fisher &Paykel top of the line current model washing machine in mint condition  $279 (RRP$1049)

6 Piece modular sofa $86

8 Seat solid timber dining room table with 8 chairs and matching overhead mirror  $164              (seller claims cost in the 3 Grande mark- looks wise, I would not doubt it)

Timber office desk with matching drawers and leather chair $70

All of the above for less than $1,000!

Here is how we did it.

Let’s say you wish to purchase a sofa.

  1. Type into the search box “sofa” and then press search
  2. On the left eBay will show you categories i.e “Furniture”
  3. Keep drilling down the categories until you finally get to the category you are after i.e. “Sofas, Couches”.  Be careful not to go to the lowest category i.e. “Sofas” as you will see less listings the deeper you go with categories.
  4. Now select “used” (on the left)
  5. Now select the maximum price you are willing to pay
  6. Next select the maximum distance from your Zip / Postcode (this is in “Item Location” “See All”)
  7. Next remove “sofa” from the search box so there are no keywords in the search box and press “Search”
  8. Next save your search and select “Daily Emails”.

Now eBay will only be showing you items which meet your criteria.

Here is an example.  Notice the only keyword is “Couch”!  If a buyer searches for “sofa” this listing will not appear!



The next step is to click “Watch this item” when you find an item you like.

Next is import your “Watched” items into Gixen ( and set up your max price.  Gixen will then bid on the item/s in the last 5 seconds.

Give it a try for yourself, help a friend, however, be careful, it can be addictive!

To your success

Neil Waterhouse

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5 Responses to Using your eBay skills to help others

  1. Sheryl says:

    Excellent the way you broke it all down was easy to understand and I am going to give it a go

  2. Neil says:

    Great article Neil; ‘Brian’ has a really good friend!

  3. cameron scott says:

    Hi Neil. i was about to ask you about searching for poorly listed items but youve nailed it again. just quickly yoiu say put in sofa couch & then go down through the catagories (but not to the bottom catagory), you mention then remove the word sofa but doesnt this stop any listings witht he word sofa from coming up ?(what if there is a poorly listed item with just the word sofa?)
    and could you do the same the other way round & remove couch & just leave sofa ?
    also does ebay have a snippet tool ? thank you i was really keen on looking at doing this for sure

    • Cameron i’m sure Neil could answer by I will –
      Removing the search term is NOT like putting in a negative search term. It’s just taking it out so it shows everything in the category, without restricting it by search term. So will still include every listing even if it has the word sofa, or any other possible word.

      The only point of putting in the search term in the first place is to find items that are listed in the correct category, but with poor search terms. You use a search term to identify the category only, then show all items (not filtered by search) within that category.

      Another type of poor listing would be one in the wrong category which this won’t identify. If it has the right category but a bad title, this will find it. If it has the wrong category but a good title, a normal search will find it (and it won’t be as hidden!). If it has a bad title and a bad category it’s hard to find at all but if you happen upon one there can be some genuine bargains as odds are few will have seen it.

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