You’ve heard about them. There’s people out there who buy homes in foreclosure, fix them up and resell them for a profit. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, but if you don’t have the resources to take on such a project there is another way to benefit from buying and selling items.
If you’ve heard of Amazon, eBay or Craigslist you are already half way there. The world of the internet has changed how we do business, but it hasn’t changed the kind of business we do. If you were shopping for bargains before the electronic age took off, you can still shop for bargains. Only now you can save some cash with an incredible deal online and flip that very same item for a profit either at the same website or another one designed for buying and selling.
For seniors on limited incomes with time to spare, Craigslist could become your next best friend. What makes Craigslist the top of the heap is that there are no ‘listing fees’ or membership dues of any kind associated with the website. Essentially, you can buy something this morning, pick it up, give it a dusting and list it tonight for sale for more than you spent to get it in the first place.
How to start
Before you jump into this, there are a number of tips I’d like to share with you to assist you in doing this right and actually making money from it. First, give Craigslist a very long and hard look. This means visiting all the categories, looking at numerous listings and learning how the system functions. There is a lot of ways this can work out, but you need to know what you are doing first.
There are a lot of people listing items on Craigslist at prices well below what they could get for them and that is where you fit in. In some cases the item is listed at a giveaway price just to get rid of it for various reasons. There are also times a product is listed at an insanely low price because whoever is selling it has no idea how valuable that Donny Osmond lunchbox really is.
Garage sale goldmines
You could also find gold mines in your own town by visiting garage sales. That entertainment center with a scratch on the top that you just bought for $10 may bring you $75 after a quick sanding and extra varnish.
Another tip for you is to try to stick with things you know. If you are a fan of wooden toys, maybe try to stay as close to that category as you can before branching out to other non-related items.
Here’s a tip that can produce great results if you have a lot of room for storage: buy items that are out of season. For example, hunting rifles will drop in price in the off season. This is the time to buy. Clean them up, store them until moose season is about to start and then list them to sell and you’ll be able to ask a much higher price than you paid as the demand will be there to stock up for hunting season.
Follow this rule for consistent profits
When it comes to the actual listing to flip an item I like the follow the three-step ‘T-D-P’ rule.
- Start with the title. Make it a ‘grabber’ as they say in the newspaper business. You need to be descriptive without being too wordy. Don’t be afraid to use catchy phrases such as ‘like new’ or ‘gently used’ and ‘antique’ or ‘classic.’ Those terms still work today and give your product a bit of power when people are scanning through listings.
- The next step is to provide an honest, positive and accurate description. You can be cute and funny, but don’t lie. If there’s a chip in the finish, mention it but don’t make it the main focus of the description. Try to provide information to answer possible questions and imagine what you would want to know about the item if you were looking to buy it. Incorporating those details may not only reduce the questions being asked, but may also assist with the sale.
- The third and final step is pictures. Take a lot of photos from many different angles. If there are special details on the item try to get close up photos of that to help with the listing.
Don’t be surprised if that Bee Gees album you bought at a garage sale for 50-cents sells for $15 on Craigslist just because you gave it a nice cleaning, fixed a small tear in the album jacket and flipped it without listening to it at all. Seniors are notorious for being bargain hunters. Here is a way you can turn that skill into an income while having fun doing it.