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Using Craigslist to Sell Your Stuff

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I have been a big fan of Craigslist since I found out about it after college.  I don’t usually buy much from it, but I have used it to sell a bunch of things including old electronics and furniture.  In the beginning, it took a few weeks to sell an item, but now I can easily have things sold in a single weekend.  The trick has been figuring out how to make posts that can catch and hold a buyer’s interest.  A great Craigslist listing needs a few things – a good price, a solid description, and a flattering picture.

Craigslist Pricing

If you are selling something that others are selling too, you will need a competitive price to get eyeballs on your ad.  I would suggest searching Craigslist for comparable items and pricing yours on the lower end of the scale. 

For example, I am about to list our twin-sized Captain’s bed this week.  I’ve looked around and have found several in similar condition selling for $250-$300.  I will be listing ours as $250.  It is in great condition and I could probably get a bit more, but it is worth it to me to sacrifice $25 in favor of getting the bed out of my house as soon as possible.  It is taking up room in my new home office.

Craigslist Descriptions

Buyers appreciate having all of the information they want listed easily in one place.  I have learned when selling online to start my posts with a sentence or two explaining why we are selling an item and then I add the descriptive information as a bullet point list. 

Taking our captain’s bed as an example again, I will open with a quick sentence explaining that we’d like some more room in my office.  Then I will list all of the pertinent details as bullet points.  I will be sure to include it’s measured dimensions, age, and condition.

Craigslist Pictures

An ad sells better when a buyer can see a picture of the actual product.  The trick is making sure the item looks good in the picture or nobody will want to buy it.  I suggest cleaning what you want to sell, moving it into a well-lit room or outside temporarily, and taking the most flattering pictures you can.  If there are any problem areas, you will want to mention them in your post and take a specific picture of those spots.  Good pictures and complete honesty can make a sell.

I will be opening the blinds in my new home office and taking the best pictures possible of the bed.  I’ll make sure it is cleaned off so they will have a good view of the bed itself without any clutter.  I will also roll out the drawers and take a picture from that angle so potential buyers will be able to see how much storage room they will have to work with.

My best guess is that I will be able to sell off our little bed by the end of next weekend.  Wish me luck!

Do you use Craigslist to sell your stuff?  How has it worked for you?

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12 Responses to “Using Craigslist to Sell Your Stuff”

  1. Alan Z says:

    I always use craigslist to sell my stuff before ebay or amazon due to the face that it’s free and it’s mostly local cash pick up.

    There are a couple of risks though. Whatever it is that you sell, 90% of the time you’ll get a nigerian scammer trying to get your money. Just read the response carefully before continuing, a lot of times its pretty easy to spot. I’ll be selling a laptop, and they’re referring to a boat or something.

    The other 10% of the time, it’s a good free service to sell your unwanted junk.

  2. No Debt MBA says:

    I’ve had great luck selling things through Craigslist. But you do have to be wary. When in doubt, the email is a scam. Never take anything but cash for your items.

    We’ve had large items no longer needed carted off in less than 24hrs and fair market price paid for them to boot. Craigslist is super useful.

  3. Lauren says:

    One thing I’ve noticed when selling on Craigslist is that most of the responses I get offer a lower price. I’ve only sold computer stuff and video games, but if I put an item up for $50, I usually get offers between $30-45. I’ve start pricing my items on the higher side to compensate for this… And the good thing about Craigslist is that if it doesn’t sell, you can always relist it a week or two later at a lower price.

    • saladdin says:

      I never negotiate as a seller and only with cars as a buyer when it comes to used stuff. If someone offers me $40 for an item I listed for $50 I counter with $55. It’s priced for what I want to sell it for. I’ve met people who tried to lower the price after we have already agreed to a price. I just walk away. But I always end up selling it for what I want.

      If you price an item I will either pay that for it or not. I assume that is your best offer because I refuse to play that game.

      saladdin

  4. Wilma says:

    I just started listing items on Craigslist and I’ve been a tad frustrated. Many no shows or they say to call their number and they don’t answer. Most people are looking for something for nothing. I was shocked at just how stingy people are when making offers to you. One person showed up and thought I would let him leave paying way less than half of what I asked for. Not sure if I want to continue with Craigslist.

    EBAY is a bit of a pain lately too. PayPal told me I was limited to $1245.51 in purchases and then I’d be cut off if I didn’t get verified. Meaning my credit card isn’t enough. They want my checking or savings accounts attached as well. So I guess I won’t be buying or selling too much on EBAY.

    • Lori says:

      I have sold many items on Craigslist over the past year. When you get a reply with please call me, IT IS A SCAM. I have had many people try to cut down my price. I list a little higher,
      then lower the price by how much higher I listed.
      That way people feel they got a deal and I get the price I want. Also, do not hold an item for anyone, tell them it’s first come, first served.
      When your price is firm, state FIRM in your ad. I also do not meet people half way, unless I am going to be in the area anyway. If you meet them half way and they do not buy, you wasted money on
      gas. If you stick with Craigslist for selling your items, you will not be sorry.

  5. Surewhitey says:

    We’re moving and selling everything on Craigslist so far. Just deposited the $2,500 we’ve sold (mostly furniture)…

    I also use Google’s Picasa to post a group of pics and prices with descriptions and better pics.

    The spammers are a pain, but you get 2 legits for every spammer.

  6. I am a big fan of any place where I can sell a 12 year old Ab-Roller for $5 less than it sells for new. I did that on Craigslist.

    Always price compare on Craigslist as well as search “Completed Listings” on eBay to see what the market will bear, before posting.

    We basically had an Estate Sale on Craigslist. If you have many items of value, I suggest posting them individually on Craigslist, then copying and pasting all of those URLs and their titles into one new post. Call that new post “Estate Sale”, “Yard Sale” or “Cyber-Garage Sale” and put $1 on the price. People understand that it is not a buck, but appreciate seeing all the linlks to items they may like.

    - Chip

  7. skylog says:

    it is a great service that i has always had success with. i have only sold some smaller items, but it was great to clear out some stuff for some cash.

    how does everyone deal with selling and the thought of strangers coming to a spot you designate? i hate the idea of random people knowing where i live.

  8. Beverly says:

    skylog makes a great point – always consider personal safety when making a transaction. My husband recently purchased a new cell phone from a Craigslist ad and met the individual in a public place (in front of an elementary school). We are sell our lawnmower this weekend and I intend to have my husband open the garage and complete the purchase from there – I would NEVER let anyone in my home and would always tell someone who/where/when you are meeting….just in case.

  9. Rayhaana says:

    i am really sick of these scammers on craigslist. get a life. and when i write, serious buyers only. and someone offers me way less than my listed price and i then ask if they know what those words mean and they then call me a foul name. just sick of it. i need to make money this isn’t a gift giving service.

  10. jeff mclaughlin says:

    fire proof safe/file cabinet made by “fire king” purchase at norvac loc. new at$3,500 great for pistals,inportant papers etc… selling for $800 or best offer call after 5:oopm 540)877-165


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