Choosing listing types on eBay


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Choosing listing types on eBay

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What's coming up

In this activity we’ll explain the differences between the Buy it Now and auction sale options in eBay, and which you should choose. You’ll also learn about the Allow Offer option, which lets you negotiate the price on some Buy It Now listings.

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What is an eBay auction?

On eBay, an auction lets people bid on your item. You set the Starting bid, which is the lowest price that you will accept. It can be as low as zero, but eBay will usually recommend a sensible price.

Remember, you must sell the item to the auction winner, even if the price is the Starting bid, so make sure it’s an amount that you’re happy with.

eBay welcome screen for signed in user
eBay's create an account page

What is Buy It Now on eBay?

By default, Buy it Now is selected as well as Auction. Buy it Now means you’re listing your item for sale for a fixed price, just like in a traditional shop. This is usually a much higher price than the starting bid for the Auction, and it lets a keen buyer “skip” the Auction by paying a higher price.

Anyone can purchase your item immediately if they pay your Buy it Now price.

You can turn off Buy it Now by clicking the blue switch next to it, or simply by not putting any price in the box.

Negotiate with Allow Offers

If you want to list your items as a Buy it Now sale only, with no Auction, you can also consider ticking the Allow Offers option. To see Allow Offers, you need to first turn off Auction, by clicking the blue switch next to it.

This allows potential buyers to suggest a price, which you can accept or refuse. You can also make a counteroffer.

Choosing the Allow Offers option can be useful in case you’ve priced your item too high.

You can choose Auction and Buy it Now at the same time for a listing, but you can only choose Allow Offers if you turn off Auction as an option.

eBay welcome screen for signed in user
eBay's create an account page

Buy It Now and auction

You can specify a Buy it Now price even if you’ve listed your item for auction. The price has to be at least 30% higher than the Starting bid, and someone can buy it at the higher price immediately, so long as there have not yet been any bids in the auction.

Which to choose: Buy It Now or auction?

Both the auction and Buy it Now sale methods have their benefits. However, with an auction you might end up with lower price than you were hoping for, but a Buy it Now fixed price may result in no sale at all.

You can choose auction if the final selling price is not too important to you, but opt for Buy it Now if you simply must receive a certain amount for the item.

eBay welcome screen for signed in user

Can I set a reserve price in an auction?

Generally, there are no reserve prices for eBay auctions. But there is an exception for motorcars, motorcycles and motorboats.

Because there is no reserve, the Starting bid that you set for an item is very important. Set it too low and you may have to sell your item at a price you don’t like.

Rare stamp with price tag
Photo of stamp that will be listed for sale

Will buyers contact me?

Potential buyers may have questions about the items you’ve put up for sale, so be prepared to promptly answer questions about the product. Messages between buyers and sellers are sent through eBay.


eSafety Tip

Don’t respond to messages that invite you to sell outside of eBay. If you type your phone number into a message, eBay will warn you not to sell outside of eBay and block the message.

Your obligation

Remember, if someone wins the auction or buys your item, you have to sell it. You have entered a binding contract with eBay to do so, and you can’t decide not to sell if you change your mind or are not happy with the final result.

eBay listing process

Well done!

Congratulations. This is the end of the Choosing listing types on eBay activity. You should now know the different ways to sell on eBay, and when to auction your items or make them a Buy It Now listing.

Next up, we'll check out how maximise your chance of making a sale in the Tips for a good sale activity.

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