How To Find Exactly What You're Looking For on eBay

How To Find Exactly What You're Looking For on eBay

Michelle Chin
Feb 14, 2011

Having been on eBay since 1998, I have a few tips and tricks I use to find what I want. Though I have to admit, patience and tenacity are two of the biggest things I can recommend having when searching that elusive "thing" online. I've compiled a few of my personal search tips to hopefully help you find what you're looking for.


1. Entering specific search terms should be your first strategy. Sometimes using common misspellings can also be helpful. "Emes" rather than "Eames" or searching simply for "50s sofa" may yield a wonderful Danish Modern daybed and could get you a deal you weren't expecting.

2. If your specific search terms aren't working, cast a broader net. You'll have to scroll through more pages, but there could be a gem hiding in all those search results.

3. When overwhelmed by what you see in the search result, change the sorting. They often come up first as "best match," but I often use "ending soonest" or "newly listed."

4. If you can't find exactly what you want, say, a nickel finish faucet instead of chrome, you can look in a seller's store.

5. If you don't see what you want in the seller's store, you can scroll down the specific item page and ask the seller a question. On more than one occasion I've asked a seller if they had something not listed and they actually had it and put it up as a "buy it now" for me.

6. If all else fails, you can save your search. eBay will notify you when items matching your search terms are listed on the site. I found an out of print Anton Corbijn book and trim for my old Volvo that way.

Additional Notes:
Not to harp on the importance of patience, but it is a very important part of shopping for hard-to-find items, especially if you want a great deal.

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(Images: Michelle Chin)

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