An Advanced eBay Primer: How to buy Magic cards
The world of MTG finance is a complicated one, where buyers and sellers battle to get the best value out of their money and cards. Although logical that may seem, itâ€™s not that black and white. Determining what a card is worth is an important part of buying, and always make sure you know what the cards you are buying are worth. I'm going to take you through the mindset of the buyer and seller, and what it means to get a good buy on the secondary market of Magic.
You will rarely find a store selling a card below low price, so why would anybody sell for less than that? As a buyer, finding a deal on a card you are seeking feels amazing. Scouring social media sites like Facebook, or third party selling sites like eBay and Craigslist for cards you need can often find you a bargain. While not everyone will sell lower than low price, you will not get those opportunities to buy under low unless you ask. One of the most common ways people will buy cards online is on eBay, and in my opinion, one of the best site to garner a low price on cards you seek.
The most popular draw of eBay are their online auctions. These take time to scout out and bid on. While you can get amazing deals on auctions, the time and energy spent can simply be too high. A good thing to look for is an auction that did not sell, either because they were not bid on (at a low price) or were initially set too high and didnâ€™t gain traction. I will cover exactly why this can be good for buyers further on.
Buy It Now
eBay also has Buy It Now listings. These are usually overpriced, and not worth your time messaging the seller asking for a lower price. However, there is an exception. Some Buy It Now listings will have an "Or Best Offer" (OBO) option, right below the Buy It Now button. This is your golden ticket. This is an effective equivalent of the seller jumping up and down with a giant red arrow on a street corner yelling MAKE ME AN OFFER! If you click Buy It Now and they have an OBO option, you are literally throwing your money away. If you act business-like, offering to buy at a lower price wonâ€™t be taken personally. Low-balling is okay, as sellers intentionally put a higher Buy It Now price to create bargaining room. This is assuming you arenâ€™t being that guy and offering $5 for a $25 card. You are not a store, and they could sell on a buylist for a higher price.
How to buy on eBay
Not all OBO listings are created equally. Some give you a better chance to get you the price that you want, and at a sell point that the seller wants. Ironically, offering a low price on a listing that has an already low Buy It Now price will often get you a better result. This is because the seller is prepared to sell at a lower price, whatever the reason. Some people need the money soon, or the listing has been up for a while, or it is simply worth a lower amount to them. In the same boat, unsold auctions can be turned into a great opportunity, simply by messaging the seller offering to buy at the price you want. Never pass up the chance to communicate with the seller.
You wonâ€™t get deals on cards unless you ask. Asking costs nothing as long as you are respectful and offer honest bids. You even get three offers per OBO listing! Communicate with the seller, and they more often than not will be willing to work with you. Beware of antagonizing the seller with unrealistically low offers, because they will simply sell to someone else.
Next week, we'll talk about the best ways to search for the cards you want, and common pitfalls of eBay. In the meantime, happy buying and thanks for reading.
- Erik Svilich