Tips for Selling on Craigslist

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I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile.

I always have friends texting me asking for tips buying and selling items. I’ve tried several different ways to sell, but I still find Craigslist to be the most reliable, efficient way of selling if I have one large item that isn’t designer but needs to go.

That being said, selling on Craigslist can go terribly awry sometimes, so I’ve been wanting to give you guys some tips on how to do it right:

  1. Don’t be too emotionally attached.
    • I know, I know. You’ve had that chair for 5 years and loved it sooo much but it just doesn’t fit your decor anymore. That doesn’t mean someone wants to pay $100 less than what you paid for it 5 years ago and buy a $600 used chair that your cat has been sitting on for 5 years. People on CL are looking for a bargain. Be realistic about what you can get for your item. If you can’t get what you want for it, consider donating it or reupholstering it, or you’ll be sitting on it (no pun intended) and re-posting lots of ads for a long time.
  2. Do your research.
    • Research what you have and see what similar styles are selling for. I will never forget the time I moved into an apartment and the previous tenant left a lamp inside. The manager told me I could keep the lamp, which I didn’t love, and I listed it on CL for $40. Once I started getting more into selling, I realized that lamp was worth A LOT more. Like $500 more. No wonder the guy who bought it was so excited to pick up what I thought was just another ugly lamp. So do your research!
  3. Have wiggle room in your price.
    • Once you’ve decided on a price that seems fair to you and have done research to make sure you’re on track, list your item for a little more than your goal price. People on CL love to negotiate, and they’ll feel like they’re getting a good deal if you knock some off. Now, I’m not saying to list something for $600 if you’re really wanting $300, that will just scare potential buyers away. But listing for $350 or $400 may work in your favor.
    • If a buyer asks for “the best you can do” on your item, ask them what they’re thinking price-wise before you say a price. Sometimes when I have done this, buyers have put a price out there that was way higher than I was expecting.
  4. Put a photo in the ad!
    • Take a photo with clean daylight, preferably against a plain wall if you have one. You don’t want people to be discouraged from buying your item because they don’t like your other decor. Or take a photo in its setting (think yard furniture in the yard.) Clean the item up the way it will look when you sell it and don’t have a lot of clutter or other items sitting on or near the item for sale. The photo can make all the difference in selling an item or having it sit for months.
  5. Have someone with you when you show the item or bring the item outside.
    • This is just me being careful. I get a little worried about inviting people to my house to look at items, and I especially did when I was living alone. I would have a friend come over when I was showing an item, tell a neighbor someone was coming by to look at stuff, or bring the item outside before they got there if I could carry it. Yes, carrying an item out to sell it is a pain if they don’t buy it, but you don’t want to let random people into your home when you’re alone if you can help it.
  6. Cash only!
    • I’m saying this assuming you only sell a couple of things every now and them on CL. If you have a square card reader, by all means, use it. I still prefer cash.
    • NEVER, NEVER, NEVER accept checks. This may seem like common sense, but what about those people that offer more or the exact amount you have an item listed for without looking at your item and say they’ll give you a cashier’s check? No, just no.
    • This is a major scam. You take it to cash it, the bank realizes it is a fake, and holds YOU responsible. If they have time to get a cashier’s check, they can take their butt to the bank and cash it and bring you cash.
    • Money wires are also scams.
    • Don’t give out your account info for bank transfers.
    • CASH ONLY!

These are my main rules for selling items on Craigslist. I hope they help you have a safer, faster sale so you can buy new stuff to change up the look of your space. Happy selling, Rehabbers!

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