How much work to put into an eBay item – Underwood Portable Typewriter

How many times have you found yourself in possession of an item only to realise that it has more flaws than you originally thought?

This happens to me now and again, where I buy something because I either like it or I know it will sell well and I haven’t looked it over properly or haven’t tested it and when I get it home find out I probably shouldn’t have bothered!

I’m sure this happens all of the time, from small purchases all the way up to cars and houses because people get buyers blindness towards items they desire and don’t always notice the faults until they get it home, and that’s when buyers remorse kicks in!


Case in point, I bought this fantastic small, compact, shiny Underwood Typewriter from the 1920′s with gorgeous white glass keys and chrome surrounds.  I didn’t pay a hell of a lot for it and I thought I’d got a bargain at the time.  Away it went in the garage until I moved house, this was a showpiece for the new office.

Six months later I’m all moved in and discover the typewriter still in its case on a shelf in the new garage.  In the cold light of day its not the same machine as was in my mind all of those months ago.

Don’t get me wrong its still a lovely piece, but I’ve noticed lots of issues I didn’t see before I bought it namely:

Paper won’t feed in
The bell doesn’t work at the end of each line
It needs a new ribbon
The advance line lever is broken
The front is scuffed
The case is covered in tip-ex
It doesn’t shine as much as it used to


None of these are massive problems, especially as I was only planning on using it as a display machine, but I’ve now decided that I’d rather sell this and get something else instead, after all I’ve done without it so far.

So the question being how much work do I put into it before selling it?

This question gets me every time.  Do I either try and fix it myself, clean it up, try and get the bell working and the paper feeder etc, buy a new ribbon in the hopes it will sell for more.

Do I find someone to service it and pay them to do the work in the hopes that I’ll make back more than I have paid for the typewriter and the service?

Or do I sell it as it is and hope I get back at least what I paid for it?


Its always a balancing act between spending time and money on something so as not to lose out when you actually sell it.  I’ve sold lots of items before and written in the description “Item needs a good clean, I will leave this to the buyer”.  I don’t particularly think this is a bad thing IF you state that it is dirty in the description.

If you mention this you’re telling the buyer that they’re going to have to do some work on it and that the item that turns up on their doorstep isn’t going to be as perfect as when it left the factory.  But if you don’t mention it and it’s not clear from the photos then the buyer may be annoyed.

I think buyers realise that its a trade off and they can pick up bargains if they are prepared to do a bit of work themselves.

So with that in mind I’ve convinced myself to do as little as possible with the Underwood, just list it as is and see what happens.  A dealer may buy it, do the work and I may end up buying it back!


EBay Easter Listing Promotion 3rd to 7th March 2015

EBay announced their Easter promotion in the early hours and its better than the standard fare.


Not only do you get the standard 100 zero insertion fee listings at either auction or fixed price, but you also get the chance to earn a 20% final value fee discount on 100 items too! But there is a catch.


When I logged in I found that I didn’t have to opt into the 100 free listings and one of my items had already auto renewed and used one of them, but I did need to opt in for the final value fee discount.

The catch I mentioned earlier is that its only on items which sell for over £30 qualify for this discount.  So if you were planning on selling higher value things like phones or tablets, this week is an ideal time to do it.

If you sold something for £100 you would typically pay £10 final value fee and so the discount would be £2. It’s not the hugest amount but better than nothing and if you do manage to sell 100 items its certainly worth it!

The promotion lasts all over the bank Holiday Easter weekend from Goof Friday 3rd March past Easter Monday and into Tuesday 7th March.

The hook again is to sell your stuff to fund a holiday. Terms can be found here.