I recently listed my IKEA loft bed frame on Craigslist after I was inspired by reader Christian L. (see comments), who regularly makes money on Craiglist. He’s been very successful at selling items on Craigslist for as low as $1 and as high as $4,000 (In case you’re wondering, it was a car.). Wow! He’s super savvy so I asked him for tips on selling stuff on Craigslist and included some of my own. I’ve already received legit offers!
Here are 12 ways to successfully sell stuff on Craigslist.
1. Know your Craigslist market. Christian said he lives in a college town — as do I — so he cannot price gouge. College students simply wouldn’t bite. Those of you in a well-off area can get away with listing pricier items.
2. Do your research. You want to know how much the item you are trying to sell costs new. Then find similar listings to see how much similar used items are going for. I found out a new IKEA bed frame was $119. Then I looked around to find the prices of used bed frames. Keep in mind that if you price the used item at a higher price than the new item, you’ll have a hard time making the sale. I mean, who’s going to want to pay more for something used? Not me!
3. List a price that’s a little high. Leave room for the buyer to negotiate a price at which you’re still OK to let the item go, Christian said. I listed my bed frame for $100, but I may consider going down a few more bucks.
4. Be as clear and concise as possible. Giving up all the item’s details upfront can help reduce the back and forth emailing with a potential buyer. If you do get emails with questions, you can easily refer them to your listing. Include dimensions, weight, model, year, where you originally bought the item, color, material, and any scratches or dings.
5. Never list your phone number. You simply don’t want to get bombarded with phone calls at all hours of the day, or spam texts. Once you’re comfortable with the potential buyer, Christian suggests you ask them for his or her number to contact them. If you want to accept phone calls I suggest you don’t share your personal number, but instead set up a Google Voice account for your Craigslist business. Their settings make it easy to block unwanted calls, and you can keep your home or cell phone number private.
6. Don’t post your email. I opted for the anonymous email option so Craigslist set up a random address that is forwarding to my personal email. All potential buyers will see my email listed as firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Include a map. Though you don’t what to list your address on the site, you do want to give potential buyers an idea of where they’ll have to travel to pick up their purchase if you’re not willing to ship. I included a map with only my zip.
9. Write a clear headline. Your headlines and photos are what grab potential buyers’ attention. Include words people would normally use when searching for items like “brand new,” “mint condition” or a name brand. Avoid including lots of asterisks, smiley faces or hearts in the title as it will seem as if it’s spam. Poor grammar and weird phrasing are also signs of spam and a possible scam.
10. Watch out for scams. The site suggests you deal locally with buyers as most distant buyers are scammers. I’d also suggest you don’t allow strangers in your home no matter how nice they seem. If your goods are small enough to carry with you, it’s best to meet up in a public place to finish the deal. Your front yard or sidewalk will do!
11. Respond promptly. The sooner you reply to those interested in your items, the sooner you can get started working out a deal! Potential buyers will expect you to be available soon to show the item.
12. Put your name in the ad. The buyer will feel more confident calling, texting, or emailing someone if they have a name. Reader Chris suggests using a fake name so when you receive a call asking for the person you’ll know it’s about your Craigslist ad.
It took me less than 15 minutes to complete my listing including taking the photos! If selling items on Craigslist is not your thing, you can give your stuff away on Freecycle or to a charity you support. If you’re a shopper, SFGate has a great tips of tips for buyers to get the best deal on Craigslist.