Spring is just around the corner and soon it will be time once again to clean out those closets and get rid of those items we no longer need. A great way to go about cleaning things out while earning a little cash is to sell those items on Craigslist.
I originally wrote this post late last spring. Then I lost this post. Then I saw several other posts on other blogs and felt as though maybe that was enough to be said about Craigslist. But then I found the post and decided one more post on Craigslist couldn’t hurt!
I have over the past several years found myself using Craigslist as a means to buy and sell furniture and other items in my home. We have moved a lot over the years. Recently we moved twice with in one year which called for us to get rid of furniture quickly. I have found Craigslist and other knock-off versions such as Bookoo (which I used when I lived overseas in Germany) as a means to this end.
I’ve learned a lot while both buying and selling from Craigslist. I’ve broken my suggestions on using Craigslist into two obvious categories: Buying and Selling. I’ve learned the most about selling items on Craigslist by being on the buyer side of the transaction so that is why this part of my list will appear to be more of a Craigslist seller’s “etiquette”. Sure you can sell any which way you want but, if you try to be a little more thoughtful about it I think you are more likely to have a positive outcome. So here are my list of suggestions for selling on Craigslist.
1- If you price your items reasonably they will sell and sell quickly. (This is true for furniture and appliances. That’s all I’ve ever sold on Craigslist.) Don’t price your item high – think garage sale. People come to Craigslist looking for a bargain.
2- Always post a picture with the item you are selling. This seems common sense but you would be surprised at how often I have clicked on an item to find that there is no picture!! Who is going to be interested enough to take a stranger’s word that they have something worth buying?
3- Take your ad down once the item has sold! If you don’t you’ll be getting lots of “Is it still available e-mails?” plus this is just frustrating to potential buyers…
4- Be ready to answer the same question about said item a million times and also be prepared for lots of dumb questions like ” will your futon fit in my escort?”.
5- It is actually a bit of work to successfully sell items on Craigslist so if you don’t have the time to spend on it maybe donating or selling the item to a friend is a better option. You will get lots of emails/voice mails/texts. It takes time to contact each person. Yes, you can just ignore them but think about the person on the other end of the transaction. Next time that could be you. Think: Good Karma.
5-Make sure that you take the time to insure that your item is in good working condition. If it is an appliance you purchased a while back and never used or never took it out of the box that doesn’t mean it works! Plug it in and make sure it is operational. You don’t want to go to all the trouble of selling something only to have the transaction fall through. I was on the receiving end of this type of transaction and pretty bummed when the appliance didn’t work. Fortunately, in my case, the seller gave me back my money. But look at all that time wasted on both ends.
This is another item that we purchased straight out of the box but this time it was brand new and in great condition! Craigslist isn’t only great for second-hand finds. You can find brand new stuff too!
6- Give accurate measurements of the item. Be sure to describe the item as best as you can and include any extra details that may be important to a potential buyer. This way the potential buyer will have a better idea of what to expect when they arrive to see the item and you will have better potential for a sale.
7- Don’t make it personal. If one person wants it but has a doctor’s appointment and another buyer is there cash in hand …it’s not really a toss-up… that’s just the way it works …don’t get caught up in people’s drama other wise you will be spending all your time coordinating with people versus just getting the item sold.
8- Be respectful of your buyers. If they text you asking a two-part question. Is the item still available (yes) and when can I come see it (no answer) don’t just answer one part of the question. That’s just being a jerk. Again, I’m a believer in Karma…
9- Friday is a great day to post an item if you are wanting your items gone quickly. On the weekends people usually have more time to come and look at your items. It is also a time when they have extra time to get on the internet and look for things to buy. If you post your item early in the week then your interested buyers will have to schedule around work and other commitments. So getting them to come and look at your item will be more challenging. On the weekend (most likely) both you and the potential buyer will have more flexibility with your schedule. Interest also seems most high when you first post an item because it is at the top of the list and something new. So make the most of that interest by posting at a prime time. Re-listing items just to take them back to the top is often against the rules or limited to a certain number of times so choose your listing time wisely.
My suggestions for buying on Craigslist are a lot more straight forward. Most of the suggestions are just a FYI of what I’ve learned on the buyers side of Craigslist.
1- If you don’t hear back with in 24 hours the item has probably sold. So move on…(this probably isn’t always the case, but it has been in my experience.)
Some times it takes time to find the piece that you want. We looked around for over a year for this item. It had to fit this space and coordinate with the other dresser already in the room. In this case the individual who sold us the first dresser had this piece available a year later. Craigslist is also great for forming relationships with persons who sell furniture as a business. If you have a successful experience with them the first go round and you have similar tastes this could another source for helping you to find pieces that you love.
2- Be sure to negotiate. It is hard to say no to someone who is there with a truck and a hand cart ready to take your item away.
3-Don’t get your heart set on an item on Craigslist – many times sellers have multiple persons interested and it is a matter of who gets there first which leads me to #4.
4- Get there first! If the item is something you really love contact the seller and get there as soon as possible.
I got there first and am now the proud owner of this sewing table. The down side to this purchase was the three flights of narrow spiral stairs my husband and I had to carry it down.
5- Finally, don’t feel the pressure to buy if the item was misrepresented or if it doesn’t look like you expected it to.
So, these are just suggestions from what I’ve learned in buying and selling on Craigslist. What advice would you add? As for the title of this post. I have to explain. After reading my selling suggestions I thought the Office Linebacker could take care of those who don’t follow the rules. Everybody needs a guy like this around, no? “The Pain Train’s comin’ woo-woo!”.
***I didn’t mention safety as part of buying and selling. But again be sure to use common sense when meeting and exchanging information with individuals to make a purchase or sale. It’s definitely not worth risking your safety for a piece of furniture!***