Author Topic: Tips for Selling on Craigslist  (Read 5738 times)

FastStache

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Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« on: May 23, 2014, 01:48:00 PM »
I plan on selling some furniture and other items through Craigslist. It would be impratical to not do it at my house, so I was hoping people can shed some tips on making sure the transaction is safe for everyone.

nereo

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 02:18:54 PM »
I've never had a problem selling things on CL's, although I try to be diligent about who I deal with.

As the seller, make sure you advertise your items effectively.  Post photos and declare any defects.  I use an email address as my first Point-of-contact so that spam-bots and wierdos don't contact me.  If you get a response that doesn't specifically reference the item(s) you are selling, ignore it (for example: "hey you still got that item listed on CL?")

In terms of the transaction, I prefer to have at least one other person there that I know.  Move the furniture outside if at all possible so they don't go into your house and so that everything is literally "out-in-the-open".  Take cash up front after answering any of their questions.

skunkfunk

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 02:22:24 PM »
Just make sure you aren't alone if you aren't comfortable with people you do not know.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 04:27:48 PM by skunkfunk »

B L I S S

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 02:52:54 PM »
If you're a woman, bring a male friend with you. Have him deal with the transaction.
If you're a man, flex.

begood

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 02:54:15 PM »
In your ad, be sure to include phrases like "cash only", "local only", "pick-up required", etc. You weed out most of the "will you ship this to Podunk?" yahoos.

I only sold two items where people had to come to my house because they were too big to take out and though both transactions went smoothly, I realized I was really uncomfortable having strangers come in my house, especially when I was expecting them to give me a couple hundred dollars in cash.

My favorite meetup place is the front porch at Cracker Barrel! :)

TrMama

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 03:04:10 PM »
List on Friday afternoon. That seems to be when people here do their shopping.  It helps your ad appear at the top of the heap.

As far as the actual transaction, just move the item either right outside the front door, or just inside. Maybe it's cultural, but weirdos don't seem to buy used items here. I've sold tons of things and never had a uncomfortable transaction.

Of course, whenever I go the US I'm always weirded out by all the weirdos . . .

frugally

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2014, 03:18:24 PM »
My wife buys and sells 2-10 items per week (for the last couple years) on Craigslist of varying degrees of value.  Here are her tips for the sales part:
http://www.welcome-to-the-woods.com/save/a-guide-to-selling-on-craigslist

As far as safety goes, we always have her meet at a public place (gas station, etc.) during the day.  We have had people pick up some bigger items at our home and have never had a problem.  We definitely turn down transactions due to a bad gut feeling on the person - always trust your gut!

Weedy Acres

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 03:59:09 PM »
I unloaded $2000 worth of furniture in 4 days during an extreme downsize/pack/move.  My rules:
1.  List phone number.  Email people flake or don't reply, talking or texting gets the job done faster.
2.  In the body of each listing I said "put my phone number in the search box to see everything I've got listed" to drive interest in my other stuff.
3.  No holding, except if someone calls and says they're on the way.  Again, too many flakes.  I told everyone of this policy, and if they said "can I come tomorrow afternoon" I'd say "yes, but call first to make sure I've still got it."  Only had 1 person show up for an item I had already sold.
4.  Have multiple photos, good descriptions, disclose all flaws, play up smoke free/pet free/child free home if applicable.  You don't want to waste yours and others' time with less than full disclosure.
5.  Delete the items quickly when sold to avoid wasted phone calls.

I never had issues with people calling my phone or coming to the house, though I staged the stuff in the foyer and nearby living room so they weren't traipsing all over. Could just be where I live, but never even had anything that felt sketchy.

wtjbatman

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 08:06:02 PM »
Of course, whenever I go the US I'm always weirded out by all the weirdos . . .

Well maybe you weird them out.

Mrs.FamilyFinances

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 11:34:37 PM »
We sell on craigslist regularly. I've found a few things that always work well, most importantly being a variety of clear, quality photos. Also, being very specif about your terms, ie, cash only, pick up only, no holds, whatever. We usually move items out to our driveway or courtyard, as I don't feel comfortable with strangers in the house, and my husband doesn't feel okay with people in the garage. We list my husbands phone number, so any buyers have a male contact point, although I must say we've never had a sketchy buy/sell. Be honest about the condition of the item!! This is huge!

We also never list anything for free! Even if we actually plan on giving it away for free, we ask $3 or $5. You'd be surprised how many flaky people that weeds out!

This might not apply to you, but we live in the PNW, where the water complicates distances and travel times. For example, we are 14 miles from Seattle as the crow flies (and Mapquest) but the actual travel time is over an hour by ferry or car... so we have to very clear about our approximate location.

Nords

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 11:41:08 PM »
I plan on selling some furniture and other items through Craigslist. It would be impratical to not do it at my house, so I was hoping people can shed some tips on making sure the transaction is safe for everyone.
What Weedy said, with a few extras:
1.  Hand out your phone number, especially if you're planning to answer the phone.  I'm always very frustrated by sending an e-mail response to a Craigslist ad and then not hearing anything for 48 hours (or longer).  If someone else has a similar item for sale and will actually communicate in reasonable real time then I'm buying from them no matter how good the e-mail guy's deal may seem.

2.  Include the actual dimensions and estimated weight of your furniture.  Some of your buyers may have to borrow or rent a hauling vehicle. 

3.  Have some clothesline or heavy twine available.  I've had many inexperienced buyers show up with their truck only to realize that they don't have enough materials to tie it down.

4.  I do not negotiate over the phone.  I suggest to buyers that they eyeball the item before they try to assess its value, and if they can't do that then I'm not willing to drop the price.  This practice gets rid of half of your problem buyers before they even show up.

The more info (and high-quality photos) that you put into your listing, the fewer whackos will be attracted to your ad.

wtjbatman

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2014, 12:17:29 AM »
4.  I do not negotiate over the phone.  I suggest to buyers that they eyeball the item before they try to assess its value, and if they can't do that then I'm not willing to drop the price.  This practice gets rid of half of your problem buyers before they even show up.

Craigslist people can be the worst. I was selling my motorcycle for $3400, I had more than one person email or text me (not even a phone call) with one sentence. It was usually something along the lines of "Will you take $2400 for it?" Huh? Yes there are pictures on my ad, but you haven't even looked at it in person or made sure it runs, and you've already settled on the offer? Not to mention you are completely low balling me in the process?

I wonder if that ever works. Maybe I should start texting people on craigslist and making crazy low ball offers without having even looked at anything.

Malaysia41

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2014, 03:09:20 AM »
I usually tell them the item will be on the front porch and ask them to leave the $ in the envelope I leave in the mailbox.  I have them stop by when I'm not home in the daytime.  I've never been ripped off and I've sold a lot of stuff.  Big perk: no need for banter, no need to worry the person is going to assault me. 

captainawesome

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2014, 06:24:16 AM »
4.  I do not negotiate over the phone.  I suggest to buyers that they eyeball the item before they try to assess its value, and if they can't do that then I'm not willing to drop the price.  This practice gets rid of half of your problem buyers before they even show up.

Craigslist people can be the worst. I was selling my motorcycle for $3400, I had more than one person email or text me (not even a phone call) with one sentence. It was usually something along the lines of "Will you take $2400 for it?" Huh? Yes there are pictures on my ad, but you haven't even looked at it in person or made sure it runs, and you've already settled on the offer? Not to mention you are completely low balling me in the process?

I wonder if that ever works. Maybe I should start texting people on craigslist and making crazy low ball offers without having even looked at anything.

I think that's one of the biggest challenges of learning the CL ropes.  You have to be your own spam filter.  Eventually you are able to get the feeling for whether or not someone is a real buyer. I have sold everything from cars, furniture, to phones, to motorcycles and everything in between.  My wife jokes that I am a CL nut, but people can't believe I am actually able to sell stuff to legitimate buyers.  The biggest tips I can give are these (some have been mentioned):

1) Take lots of good, high quality photos -  Highlight the good points, and if there are bad things make sure to take pictures of those too

2) Honesty - All of my ads give descriptions of the product, what the retailed for originally, why I am selling the item etc.  It gives a buyer perspective, and gives your ad "personality." Don't go overboard with it, don't include any sob stories.

3) Detailed description - like I said above, give details like specs, dimensions etc. so the buyer can do their own research. 

4) Don't get emotionally attached to your items - self explanatory

5) Screen out the scammers - one line texts/emails and offers are always something you have to deal with.  Again, once you are able to establish some communication with the buyer, you can screen accordingly

6) If you are doing a transaction at your home, pick a place that both parties feel comfortable.  If you have furniture items, and can move them to a covered location, like a garage, do so.  I do most of my transactions that require someone to come to the house in the garage or driveway.  It also prevents anything in your house from getting damaged on the way out.  If you are a female, I would recommend having a male counterpart with you.  I have helped out several wives in the area who's husbands are deployed by simply going over and doing the transaction piece for them. 

7) Know that if a person comes to your home, and you haven't negotiated the price over the phone or email (depends on the item, I will negotiate over text/email/phone if the item is pretty straight forward, obscure items, not so much), that they are 99% willing to pay your asking price.  Keep that in mind if you price your item fair when it comes to negotiation. But at the end of the day, if they aren't a weirdo, are willing and able to take the item that day, make the sale.

8) Patience - sometimes people will flake. It happens.  Stay up to date with your ad, "refresh" your add daily so that it bumps to the top when people are searching.  Not everything sells in a week, and I have items that I have had for sale for 2+months sometimes.  People look for different items at different times.

Red Beard

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2014, 07:51:05 AM »
One of the best things we started doing in our CL posts is adding "or best reasonable offer" instead of "OBO". You would be surprised at the decrease in SPAM emails and texts/low ball offers we have gotten by making this small tweak.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: Tips for Selling on Craigslist
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2014, 10:21:36 AM »
I recently moved and unloaded my entire apartment using Craigslist. I wrote a blog about some of my tips (http://www.saveonalmosteverything.com/waystosave/things-i-learned-selling-on-craigslist/), but if you don't want to read that I am going to sum it up for you:

1) Post on a weekend.

2) Include your phone number to allow for texts.

3) If you get a bad vibe from someone, don't respond. Others will be interested.

4) Be prepared to help move the stuff out.

5) Only accept cash!

6) List the dimensions and put good photos to avoid people emailing and asking for more of them.

7) Have someone with you when the buyer arrives for safety.

8) Remove listing as soon as you sell or others will contact you for weeks.

Finally, operate first come, first serve. I gave preference to people who booked appointments to see my advertised queen bed only to find out they wanted a king bed once they got there. They ended up only buying a lamp.  I could have sold the bed days earlier if I hadn't held the bed for that person who wasn't even interested.

Good luck. Overall it was a good experience for me.