I think you should all know I have declared myself the queen of Ebay and will be making myself a crown forthwith unless anyone would like to send me one? Well why this lofty promotion you ask? As your new monarch I live to serve and am more than happy to tell you why, and share my secret of success, along with a few pictures of Ebay wins.
Renovating a large house that is in disrepair and has been lacking in ove for many many years is expensive, yes even DIY is not free, who would have thought it. I am so lucky to have these huge Victorian rooms at my creative fingertips but the size of a room means that everything adds up, even cheap white base coat paint adds up when you need litre upon litre of the stuff. As you can imaging furnishing the monster house could well bankrupt the richest of folk, unless of course you are the queen of Ebay, which, as you now know, I am.
Tip 1 – Get the app on your phone. This sounds silly but it maximises your browsing time, you can’t all have insomnia like me, (lucky me – I am not lucky insomnia sucks).
Tip 2 – When you search use the ‘sort by nearest first’ option. It is furniture and yes some will ship things but freight costs are not cheap and keeping it local is better for the environment in terms of fuel and it leads into my next tip.
Tip 3 – Hire a van or a man and van for the day. If you time it so a number of items are ending within a few days message people and say that you are hiring a van or a man & a van and would like a bunch of possible collection dates and times from them. People are pretty accommodating and are mostly just happy to have the space back from unwanted furniture. By amalgamating your collection costs you are reducing your overall costs which frees up more cash for those litres of paint I mentioned. Or, of course, more Ebay furniture.
Tip 4 – If you have a car measure it. Know exactly what you can fit into it. Don’t make assumptions and turn up and an item does not fit.
Tip 5 – Measure your spaces, all your spaces! No I don’t mean that get your minds out of the gutter. I mean all the nooks and crannies in your home. I have a notebook, (I have so many), this notebook contains my home’s vital statistics. The space on the landing I think I can fit a bookcase, all measured up so I can check against the measurements given in Ebay posts. This tip will change your vintage furniture buying habits forever.
Tip 6 – Check sellers other items. Often they are often clearing out a parents house. Or a less macabre reason is they are downsizing. If you see a number of things you like you can normally broker a deal, especially if they are on buy it now. Message them, be polite, don’t push. If they say no that is fine. In fact I found the wardrobe for £10 on Ebay and saw that it was photographed in a yard filled with furniture but could not see those items in the sellers shop. So I messaged him and asked about them specifically and picked up everything on the list for a song plus delivery. He was happier to get rid of everything and skip the fees and hassle of Ebay – so you never know.
Tip 7 – Watch items that are less likely to end in a bidding war. How do you know? Well there is no way to know for certain but there are indicators. Items that end at an odd time in the early hours or when people are at work, not everyone can get away from their desk job. Also items in more out of the way areas that say collection only. If the seller lives in London there are a huge number of buyers on their doorstep who can collect but rural and semi rural areas not so much.
Tip 8 – Watch items that are battered and bruised. These are great ways to keep the cost low. They are also auction items that don’t get as many people bidding.
Tip 9 – Know your limits. There is no point in buying an item that needs re upholstering unless you can do it or you know someone who can do it at a price you can afford. Sanding, paining, replacing a hinge, re covering all of these are achievable jobs but don’t take them on unless you can.
Tip 10 – Resist the Ebay effect and consider the true cost of an item. What is that I hear you ask. I will tell you. Even though you are not in an auction house you still can find yourself getting carried away with the whole auction vibe, especially in those last moments. I have watched auctions and wondered why someone is paying only £5 less than new for a second hand futon from Ikea. I have also watched my very dear hubby bid on an item, get outbid, instantly up his offer and sit in a panic hoping that he gets outbid again as we cannot afford the item. Then when he thankfully does he went and bid again because he was caught up in the frenzy of the moment. Remember whatever you pay for an item you have to consider shipping/collection costs and any repairs that you need to do, factor this in when you make your bid.
So armed with all of the advice and the inspiration from the photographs you too can become an Ebay master, but not the queen, I am the queen, I opened with that!
Other Ebay finds include; a sofa and chair to be recovered £30, a rocking chair free, a hall stand £45 and a small bureau also free, sometimes people just want it out of the house!