From my recent poll it seems like most people are either lovers or haters of Craigslist. There aren’t many in-betweeners. I fall in the lover category. Probably because I’ve generally had good experiences both buying and selling on Craigslist. Granted, I haven’t gone about my Craigslist activity lightly – here’s a few tips for selling on the site. Keep in mind that most of my experience comes from selling (and buying) kid and household items. I’ve not done anything big like buying a car or renting a vacation home. Feel free to chime in via the comments with your thoughts and tips too!
- Descriptive Title. When posting your item use the exact name as well as the category it fits in. For example, if you’re selling an Uppa Baby your title could read, “UPPA BABY VISTA STROLLER”. You’ve mentioned the brand, exact model as well as the general category of stroller. I prefer to use all caps in the title to help it stand out a bit.
- Photos. I usually grab a stock photo of the product if I can find one and then take 2-4 additional photos. Craigslist allows 5 photos and decent photos truly “sell” the item.
- Keywords. When typing the description of your item, use keywords that will help pull it into various searches. They don’t even have to match your paragraph description, you can just have a list of words at the bottom of your post. For example, if you’re selling your daughter’s dresser consider including something like this, “little girl’s room, kid’s room, dresser, changing table, shabby chic, Victorian style, like Pottery Barn, modern” … whatever keywords you would imagine to be in someone’s search.
- Price Point. Before posting, search the item you plan to sell. Aim to price your item within the popular range. If you’re not willing to negotiate, write “price is firm” in your post to deter hagglers. If you’re willing to accept reasonable offers, say so. In most cases, I want to post and sell my item within a weekend so I’ll often list my item for the lowest price in the range and accept an offer 10-30% below my asking price.
- Coordinating Details. I prefer to confirm all the details before ever meeting, in writing (text or email). I want to know our agreed price, form of payment (usually always cash, but I have accepted a PayPal transfer via the PayPal app before and it worked just fine), time and location. The buyer’s name, what car they are arriving in and their contact information are helpful things too.
- Meeting Place. This is where people tend to get heated about Craigslist. My advice? Be smart and follow your gut. Craigslist is the modern day newspaper ad and as the seller, you have the control. Never meet alone for the swap – just don’t do it. Ever. Always take another capable adult. Peg me for sounding sexist, but I usually want that person to be either my husband or my dad. In addition to not going alone, I always tell a 3rd party – another family member or friend – where and when I’m doing to swap so someone else is in the loop. You just can’t be too careful. If the item allows, meet in a public, well lit location. I usually choose a grocery store parking lot. If the item is too large to pack up and meet in a neutral location, I agree on a day/time with the buyer and give them my home’s general location – “we’re downtown near the ABC park”. I ask them to text me for my exact address when they are on their way. This helps avoid giving my home address to flaky people.
- Finalize the Sale. Upon arrival, allow your buyer to inspect the item and ask questions. Confirm their desire to purchase it and exchange funds. Count the money in front of them. It feels weird, but just do it – you’re the acting cashier during this transaction. Say “thank you” and part ways. Deal done!
Now, I hear you, is it really worth all the effort and safety precautions? I think so. We’re currently saving for a few home improvement projects and since I’m a SAHM my financial contribution has been to purge and clear out things we don’t need … an old high chair, some lamps, curtains and a guitar that we’ve moved around for 6 years and have yet to play. In the last month we’ve earned almost $200. Way more than we would have made at a garage sale or consignment shop. So, for us, when planning and safely executing – Craigslist is the way to go!
Have you bought or sold things on Craigslist? Share your experience, greatest sale or best find! And stay tuned for my thoughts on buying through Craigslist – I’ve had some grand luck over the years!