Help yourself win that must-have item with these tips. You Will Need: a computer with internet access, money, & patience. Create an account. Browse the categories to familiarize yourself with the site, especially if you don't have a specific item in mind. If you know what you want, start searching by using broad terms and synonyms to yield the most results. Add quotes around your search terms or qualifiers, such as a specific color or size, to narrow the field. You can also post on the "Want It Now" page, where sellers can see what you're looking for and contact you if they have it. Carefully read the item's description and make sure it matches the posted photo. Factor in shipping and insurance costs, which can increase the price considerably. Ask the seller any questions before the auction closes. Comparison shop online and offline. Auctioned items often don't come with warranties or customer service, and a seller might offer a higher starting bid than the item's cost elsewhere. Read the feedback from buyers. If the seller has received a lot of negative comments, stay away. The more successful transactions a seller as completed, the more confidence you should have in them. Type in your bid. eBay will notify you if another buyer outbids you, so you can rebid. You can also use eBay's automatic bidding service, which allows you to enter the maximum amount you're willing to spend. Your bid automatically increases against others until your max is reached; eBay will email you if someone outbids your maximum. Bidding usually picks up significantly toward the end of the auction. "Sniping" is the term for the flurry of last-second bids, which usually happen within the last 30 seconds of an auction, leaving other bidders no time to counterbid. Start monitoring your auction a few minutes before it ends, even if you are using automatic bidding. There's no rule against it, so if you want to ensure you win your auction, try sniping.