Buying and selling for profit, or ‘flipping’, is nothing new. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a difficult endeavour! It can be a fantastic way to make some extra cash while having fun shopping at the same time. Knowing the best things to buy and sell in the current climate is a firm step in the right direction.
Selling on your own unwanted stuff is a great way to build up the savings pot. Some of us are even lucky enough to find that we have some of the best items to resell for profit in our very own homes!
However, you don’t always need to be hiding the holy grail in your attic to make a tidy profit. It’s simply a matter of knowing what to sell – and what’s likely to fetch the most money. As you might imagine, this could take some time and research – therefore, be willing to put in the work!
That said, we’re here to help. There are plenty of places to find things you can buy to make money from charity shops to flea markets to garage sales, so now the real trick is to know what exactly to look for. Not all items can be huge money makers, so you need to know what will make you money – and what could lose your investment.
With that in mind, here’s a complete guide to finding easy things to buy and sell for profit and what you need to look out for.
Why is reselling a good idea?
Reselling, or flipping, is all about buying to sell back on. Therefore, whether you’ve bought something for yourself (and have tired of it), or have found something you think is a bargain, there might be a way for you to make some profit.
People have been reselling for as long as markets and garage sales have existed. It’s certainly nothing new, and thanks to the emergence of online stalls such as eBay and Facebook’s Marketplace, the competition – and potential for big money – has grown massively.
Reselling will only be profitable for you if you know what to look for. However, you don’t have to be a connoisseur of artisan pottery or first-edition books to make money. That said, you can’t always expect beanie babies to turn a profit in 2022!
Best things to buy and sell for profit right now
Whether you’re a reader or simply like keeping a library to look at from afar, books have a lot of value. What’s more, despite the ebook boom, they’re never likely to go out of fashion.
Classic, well-loved or especially old books, in particular, are very popular – especially if they are hardbacks with nice covers, and have been exceptionally well-kept. Of course, special editions, first editions, and signed copies tend to sell for the most money. That said, it’s worth looking into what some of the most popular genres and series are right now.
New books (released in the past year or so) can be quite expensive; however, people can quickly resell them. Some of the most valuable books, believe it or not, are textbooks and manuals – simply because they are infinitely usable, and students will be on the lookout for recommended texts.
Whenever buying to resell books, always look at the condition first. Avoid anything with stains, rips, or lines across the covers when possible. Ultimately, the rarer the run of a book, the more valuable it’s likely to be – so make sure to check what’s selling well on eBay or in your local marketplace.
Some of the best treasures that you can come across are toys – mainly because they are so abundant, and what’s more, they get discontinued very quickly. Therefore, it’s a great idea to look for lines that were either limited or disappeared from shelves altogether.
Of course, vintage toys tend to do the best of all – a great reason why heading to garage sales can prove to be so fruitful. Many adults look online to find their old favourite toys from their childhood, too.
Toys kept in mint condition, in their original packaging, will always fetch the most money, and some even go for thousands. However, even if the packaging is a little damaged or even disposed of, some collector’s toys can sell for handsome amounts of cash.
Film memorabilia, for example, always goes down well – and popular lines such as Funko Pop figurines often cease production and therefore accrue value online. Ultimately, parents often head to the web to find toys out of stock, too – so keep tabs on the popular lines and look around for bargains.
As you can imagine, jewellery can do very well when resold, but the average buyer of second-hand trinkets can be quite discerning.
The best prices for reselling jewellery come from trading those made from quality metals (such as silver or gold), precious stones, etc. That said, it’s not always easy to know which items are genuine, and which are fake. Therefore, if you find a purchase that’s a low-risk investment, buy it and get it analysed by an expert.
It’s recommended that you have any jewellery you buy valued carefully before your sell on. Otherwise, you’re at risk of stocking up on tat!
However, people will pay a lot for a name they recognise. A brand name in a watch, chain, earrings and more can go for a lot of money, no matter the piece. Be sure to research your fashion lines.
Vintage jewellery also tends to do very well both online and in specialist marketplaces. As is the case with clothes, certain old pieces definitely come back in style, and some people are willing to search everywhere trying to find quality vintage pieces. Often, all they need is a good clean to get back that shine.
People are always going to want and need clothes, though the condition is important – style, believe it or not, is not always as crucial as you might think.
Fast fashion has changed the way we shop for clothes – many people buy online and get new accessories delivered within days.
However, along with fast fashion, there has also been a growing trend in shopping for second-hand, vintage clothing. That’s because the iconic clothes of the 80s simply don’t exist now – at least, when it comes to specific brands. Again, as with jewellery, people are willing to pay handsomely for brands and labels they recognise.
Clothes can, however, be hard to buy unless you know your lines well – that said, there’s nothing preventing a true gem appearing in a charity shop without anyone realising it.
As with books, quality matters. Never buy clothing that’s especially worn, dirty, or faded. Regardless of the label or brand, if it’s shabby, it’s not going to sell well.
Do also consider accessories in this section – handbags, shoes, hats – all can be resold at great prices depending on the label.
Video Games and Consoles
We’ve definitely passed the point now where old video games and consoles are considered collectable items. Older consoles and their boxed games – such as original Nintendo Entertainment Systems, Sega Master Systems, etc – can be considered niche purchases.
However, it’s hard to know what will sell well unless you really know your games. That being said, a great marker is to simply look for obsolete titles that are complete with their boxes and instruction manuals. These will likely pick up interest regardless of the title.
Some accessories and consoles, too, pick up a lot of extra cash because of their rarity. Consider the Nintendo Virtual Boy a good example. An absolute failure on release, there are very few of these consoles left in the world – if you get one for less than $100, you’ll make a serious profit.
A great place to start with video games resales is to take a look at a ‘video games market’ – specialist marketplaces for games, paraphernalia and rare goods pop up all over the US. Another great option is the infamous local Gamestop store! These can be fantastic barometers for price, as the items for sale here are likely to be at their most expensive.
The best place for these bargains will always be car boot sales – where some sellers may not know the treasures they have before them!
Yes – believe it or not, you could make a fair bit of money selling on a cooker or a freezer, depending on the quality and the brand.
Appliances can cost an absolute fortune new, and the fact is that we all need them at some point or another. Many people will buy them second hand to save themselves some money, especially if they are just moving somewhere and need to buy a bunch of appliances at once.
The great thing is that you can easily find them and refurbish them from a variety of sources. Many appliances simply need a bit of TLC and a deep clean – and can then be resold for a profit. Look at anything from kettles and microwaves to fridges and vacuum cleaners.
Above all, look for the really high-end brands – lines such as Smeg, for example, don’t come cheap when you’re buying new. You’ll find – on online marketplaces such as Gumtree – that people aren’t as fussy as you might think.
Furniture is always great to resell, though you may need to put in a little time and effort to bring it up to code.
Old, solid furniture is very popular these days. You can get some incredible, classic pieces that are well-made for cheaper than modern items – look for well-made, functional and timeless items such as cupboards, tables, chairs, etc.
The effort comes into play when you may need to refurbish, repaint or recoat the furniture you buy. This type of reselling therefore often needs a little more creativity. You could purchase a cheap chair, stool or table, and create a completely new piece from them – all it takes is a little time and imagination.
Solid wood furniture, above all else, tends to sell well at fantastic value even years after manufacture. Therefore, look for low prices and flip.
In fact, some people end up setting up businesses from a few simple furniture resale projects. Who knows where you might end up?
Artwork can be great to sell on, but you’ll need to know what you’re looking at.
Much the same with jewellery, if you find a piece of art or a framed, signed print going for a bargain, it’s absolutely worth buying it to get it valued. Traditional watercolours and pastels can go for hundreds if not thousands of pounds if they are either rare or created by well-known masters of their craft.
If you’re serious about buying artwork to resell, you will need to look closely into a period or style and do a bit of research.
Vinyl records are very much ‘back in’ – but cassette tapes and CDs, not so much.
Music lovers and enthusiasts are more likely to pay good money for the crisp sound of vinyl than the awkwardness of tapes – meaning that if you can find a few popular records that are scratch-free at car boot sales or charity shops, you could turn a profit.
CDs’ profitability may rise again, but they are clogging up charity shops right now – and really aren’t sought out by many. Even then, they won’t sell for much.
Vinyl of some of the biggest-selling and best-loved albums of time, such as Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours or Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms, are always likely to sell well. However, many modern albums still press onto vinyl, so look out for a few future classics.
Where can you buy – and sell items?
The great thing about looking for items to resell is that they can be found pretty much anywhere. What’s more, many of these resources all offer great platforms to resell through, too.
Charity shops tend to be great shopping grounds because their prices always remain very low – and often, shops may not know how much items are actually worth! Sometimes, you can even get a bundle of items for a fixed price, which is great when you plan on reselling them.
Charity shops are great for clothing, entertainment, and even furniture depending on the store you shop with. These shops’ stock also tends to change very frequently, offering you countless opportunities to come and search for more.
For selling, of course, the answer is moot – you’re literally giving stuff away here! Choose a charity shop to buy from, not to give to.
Flea Markets & Garage Sales
Flea markets, community markets, and garage sales are brilliant for hidden gems and secret bargains – mainly because people don’t always know the value of what they’re selling. Most people selling at flea markets are also trying their best not to have to go home with most of their items, so many of them are interested in negotiating.
You can sometimes get some very reasonable prices or two-for-one items, giving you a decent profit when you resell them. The great thing about these markets, garage sales, or the car boot sale is that most people are there to sell items that they have not used in years.
There is always a wide variety of items, some of them very old, which can make them pure classics. Of course, quality will vary, but you might just find an impeccable bargain or two.
However, choosing to sell at flea markets can be risky. It’s likely high prices will turn bargain hunters and savvy shoppers away. Therefore, it’s ideal for buying only, unless you really can’t move certain items elsewhere.
As you probably already know, selling items online is also a great way to make money. That said, you can also find plenty of bargains on the web, too.
Good places to start will include eBay – where you can set up search tools to look for items that have sold in previously successful auctions or buy-it-now sales. eBay’s also full of millions of items – it’s likely to be your biggest pool for products on the web.
Do also take a look at marketplaces such as Gumtree – it’s a little different in its organisation compared to eBay, and it’ll take some searching through – but there are often some bargains to be had, especially if you’re buying in bulk.
You may also wish to look at used and new items on Amazon for cut price sales, and what’s more, police auctions are also great online resources for sellable products.
Many of these resources are also great places to start reselling from. eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Amazon are all very easy to set up with, and you may even choose a specialist app such as Vinted if you have clothes that are likely to appeal to a niche audience.
Some final tips on reselling items
Before we close this guide, here are a few quick tips to always keep in mind when reselling.
- Always look for items that are good quality. Regardless of the item, poor quality simply won’t sell – look at them carefully, in person, if you can.
- Buy low – wherever possible! Until you become savvy enough to know what prices are really worth, start out by scouring for bargains you can afford. Set a small budget and a resell target early on.
- Be willing to do your homework. Perhaps choose a niche – such as jewellery – and study the markets carefully. That means checking out relevant forums, monitoring eBay, and maybe even joining Reddit to look at relevant communities.
- Demand really is everything – if no one’s looking to buy your items, they won’t sell. It’s that simple! Consider what’s selling – check out the car boot sales near you and filter out ‘sold’ results on eBay.
- Remember that it’s completely legal to resell items in the US. However, you’ll still need to pay tax if you earn a big chunk of cash, so keep a record of all your sales!
It’s easy enough to start a side hustle reselling items – however, you’re going to need to be savvy and smart. Do your homework, and buy low to sell high. You can do this!
by Jon Craig
I am the creator of Project Financially Free and I started this journey to both educate myself and share my insights on personal finance. I’m passionate about financial literacy and I invite you to join me on this transformative path. See more.