It’s no secret that I have a love for Craigslist. You can find almost anything you’re looking for. I use it to buy and sell. Before I buy anything I always check Craigslist first to see if there’s any postings for what I’m looking for. Navigating Craigslist can be overwhelming though, so I wanted to share some buying and selling tips with you.
1. Price to sell – think about what you’re selling and where you’re selling. Craigslist buyers are looking to pay as little as possible. I always search similar items, to what I’m selling, to see the going price. From there I price competitively. I’m also always willing to negotiate price if it’ll move something faster from my home that’s taking up space. I’ll often write “willing to negotiate” or “looking for a quick sale.”
2. Include specific details – always include measurements (if applicable), colors, condition and any other important details you think a buyer would like or need to know. Buyers are just going to ask those details in an email or call to you, so simply include them in the first place.
3. Honesty – don’t say your couch is in perfect condition when in reality your cat has clawed up one whole side of it. Always specify if you have pets of smokers in your home. Buyers want to know this information for allergies and other reasons.
4. Excellent photos – photos are key to selling. In the past I’ve received no responses to a photo-less post. Minutes after uploading a photo to the same posting I had numerous responses. Buyers like a visual. Make sure the photos are decent too. Not blurry, not too many shadows or highlights. You don’t need a fancy camera, I often use my cell phone camera.
5. Communicate appropriately – I never give out unnecessary information too soon. I actually pick and choose who I respond too and I always check the email address coming in. There’s a lot of spam out there and I’m not willing to risk it. If I think it’s shady or spam like then I don’t respond.
6. Be smart and safe – I always make sure Al is home with me when someone is coming to pick up. In college I used to make sure I had a friend or roommate with me. Always safer to have another person than to be alone. Craigslist is not supposed to frighten people, but you still have to be smart and safe.
1. Peruse the site – search around for what you’re looking for, and do it often. Search a few different phrases and even misspell the item you’re looking for. You’d be surprised at how many postings are misspelled…but it could be just that thing you were looking for!
2. Reach out – when you find what you’re looking for, email (or call if a phone number is provided) the seller. In your email be sure to include the URL to the post. Often sellers post numerous items at the same time, so be sure to specify. Tell them you’re interested and could come by/take a look. Ask lots of questions if you have them.
3. Be responsive – if the seller gets back to you, respond quickly, if you’re really that interested. Sellers often have a few buyers lined up, so you wouldn’t want to lose your chance.
4. Don’t get discouraged – Craigslist finds will come and go, but keep searching. You may find that perfect item and by the time you reach out it’s gone. Keep looking, chances are something similar is going to turn up again.
5. Be smart and safe – Don’t meet someone in a secluded place and always go with another person. If it makes you more comfortable talk to the person on the phone before hand. Always bring cash and bring the exact amount. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made MORE money on selling something because I didn’t have change for the buyer and they didn’t have the exact amount. My gain, their loss, but I’d hate to have it happen to you! Don’t ever mail money to anyone, cash a check for anyone, agree to have something shipped to you..these are all scams.
Hopefully this was helpful. I love Craigslist and I love finding unique things. Selling is so easy too, I’ve sold everything from business suits to rice cookers to sofas. I always throw things on Craigslist, that I was otherwise going to donate. Why not try to get a couple bucks for something?! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. I have a whole lot more Craigslist knowledge that I didn’t share!
Fun CL fact: When we moved from our last apartment we sold enough things on CL (that weren’t going to make the move with us anyway) to cover the cost of our movers. Not bad!