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Selling Things to Improve Your Finances

selling things to improve finances

For free and impartial money advice and guidance, visit MoneyHelper, to help you make the most of your money.

Although it is not usually a long term solution to financial problems, selling some of your property can provide you with a short-term financial fix.

Most of us have loads of things that we no longer use or need. And as the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. If you need to raise cash quickly it’s worth having a look around your home to see whether there’s anything that you can sell.

If you are creative and good with your hands, it’s also possible to use repurposing or upcycling to create things that you can sell from things that you would otherwise have thrown away, or even create items to sell from scratch.

Depending on what you decide to sell there are a number of options available to you.

Getting Someone Else to Sell on Your Behalf

This is the easiest option. There are a number of places on in most towns that will buy virtually anything from you if they think that they can sell it on. If it’s a vehicle you are looking to sell, many garages will buy the vehicle from you and put it on their forecourt. There are a number of websites that exist solely to buy items from the public and sell them on. Examples include Music Magpie and Momox.

You could also sell your items via an auction house. The downside of selling via an auction house is the fact that you cannot guarantee what price your item will sell for. This can be a good way of selling items that are difficult to put a price on, though.

Letting someone else sell your items is the safest option if you’re looking to sell something because you don’t have to worry about people coming to your house and you don’t have to worry about being given forged bank notes or cheques that subsequently bounce. However, you won’t get the best possible price if you ask someone else to do the selling for you because they will be looking to make a profit.

If you sell via a pawnbroker you will usually be given the opportunity to buy your items back within a specified period. The price you pay to buy your items back will be higher than the amount you got for them, but this option can be useful if you need money on a short-term basis.

Selling Items Yourself

You’ll get a higher price if you sell your items yourself rather than letting someone else do the sale for you, but you’ll also have to do a bit more work if you go down this route.

First, you’ll need to advertise the items that you want to sell. Then, you’ll need to make sure you’re available to deal with any enquiries from potential purchasers and conclude the sale.

Advertising Your Items

The important thing to remember is that if you want someone to buy something from you, you have to sell it to them. This means that your advert has to be perfect. Tell people why they need your item. And make sure that the pictures are good. Clean the item before taking the pictures, and make sure that there’s nothing in the background to detract from the item you are trying to sell.

Don’t lie in your advert, though. If there’s a problem with the item you’re selling, make sure that you’re honest with potential purchasers if you want to avoid having to deal with complaints. If you know that the car you’re trying to sell won’t start, for instance, mention this in your advert and explain the symptoms so potential buyers can make an informed decision.

There are a number of places online where you can advertise your items, such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and eBay. If you would prefer not to advertise online you can also advertise your items on the noticeboards in places such as shops, social clubs and the like. You can also advertise in local newspapers and classified advert publications.

There may also be a specialist publication that would be more likely to attract potential buyers. As an example, if you are selling fishing equipment you should consider advertising in a magazine aimed at anglers.

You could also sell your items via a car boot sale. Car boot sales are only really suitable if you have a number of items to sell as you have to pay a fee to be a seller, but they can be a good way to turn your items into cash.

Concluding the Sale

Once you’ve found someone who is interest in your item you’ll need to conclude the sale. Most people will want to haggle so you might want to add a little bit onto the asking price to give you room to move during the negotiation. However, don’t add too much or you might put potential buyers off.

Be friendly, but remember that you don’t have to accept the first offer. And if you’re selling things because you don’t have enough money to pay the rent don’t let potential buyers know that or they’ll know that they have the stronger hand.

Once you’ve agreed on the price, don’t let the buyer take the goods before you have the payment. Check that any bank notes are genuine and if the buyer is paying by a method other than cash makes sure that the funds are cleared in your bank account before handing the goods over.

It’s also worth getting the buyer to sign a receipt. This doesn’t have to be a formal document. Just a handwritten note with the date, a description of the item, the price paid and their signature will do. If possible, the description of the item should include the serial number. A receipt makes complaints much easier to deal with.

Repurposing and Upcycling Things

It’s not just selling the game console you’re no longer using or getting rid of some clothes you no longer wear. You might also want to consider repurposing or upcycling things that you have in your home.

Repurposing means taking something and adapting it so it can be used for a different purpose. As an example, some people use repurposing to turn broken household items into create sculptures. Upcycling is taking something and renovating it so it still serves its original purpose but has been repaired or repainted. You can also make craft items from scratch if you have the skill to do that.

As well as selling craft items or repurposed and upcycled items via the standard channels, there are a number of websites that are dedicated to helping them sell craft items. Etsy is probably one of the more well know website, but there are other websites that specialise in this sort of product and even Amazon can be used to sell these products.


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Are you struggling with debt?
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