It’s not uncommon for people to brag about selling items through Craigslist or Facebook. While these online methods are overall successful for those who wish to sell the old lawn mower or a gas grille they no longer want, when it comes to items of significant value, it’s wise to consult a broker who has vast experience in online selling.

First of all, deal with reputable buyers. Unless a dealer is responding to a Craigslist or Facebook ad, the majority of people who respond are unlikely licensed, insured, and bonded. Are you willing to take the risk of someone getting injured on your property? Or if an item such as a Lladro figurine is damaged on inspection by a potential buyer at a home, what recourse does a seller have with someone who has no insurance? Secondly, how comfortable are sellers allowing total strangers into their home? Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of to read about teams of people who have mastered the art of one person engaging in conversation while his partner cases the house for money and items of significant value that can be snatched quickly. It’s important to use a third party in a neutral environment to negotiate with buyers who are total strangers. Online selling is the answer. A consignment broker should always be licensed, insured, and bonded. In addition, a broker will look out for your best interests in terms of meeting price expectations and screening prospective buyers.

Another popular outlet for selling is ebay. While anyone can set up an ebay shop and sell items from phone covers to Hot Wheels cars, when it comes to items of significant value, a consignment broker is again the best option. Again, the broker can determine fair market value for the item(s), and handle a problem if it should occur. It’s not uncommon for an item to be sold online and returned by the buyer because it was not adequately described. However, the item that is being returned is not the same item that was shipped. This is a common issue that ebay sellers face and it costs them time and money to fight. The majority of the time ebay will side with the buyer because of the buyer protection ebay offers to its bidders. Any broker worth a grain of salt will use numbered, tamper resistant stickers in a conspicuous spot on the item, so there is proof if it is switched in a return. This is one of many pitfalls a novice ebay seller can run into and even more of a reason to use a consignment broker.

Overall, it’s important to consult an expert when it comes to online selling. Most importantly, sellers want to get the most they can for their treasures. On the other hand, novice sellers need to avoid being put into an adversarial position when dealing with total strangers who lack the credentials to be doing business with you or who are criminals. It does not take a genius to sell an old weed whacker on Craigslist; however, collections of significant value should be sold by a consignment broker with proper credentials.

By: John Vassel
Mr. Vassel has been selling on ebay since 1997, has owned his own consignment shop, and is a third generation antique/collectibles enthusiast. He works with estate attorneys, real estate agents, and people with high end collections who wish to liquidate their personal property. He is licensed, bonded, and insured.