Tips for Selling on Craigslist

So one of the main issues that the cop and I have had to address is the amount of furniture we own. Fitting all of our pieces into a 1 bedroom apartment simply was not an option. I’ve done a pretty good job of decluttering, but the big items are still taking up entirely too much space. So we started making a list of things we wanted to keep, things we wanted to store, and things we could toss. The first thing we did was begin to research storage closets. I didn’t have a lot of nice furniture, most of my items have come from garage sales and goodwill stores, but a few of my pieces were nice and I wanted to hold on to them. Specifically my living room furniture. Those items (couch, coffee table, pub table, etc.) would go into the storage closet along with my headboard and bed frame. The remaining items I knew I didn’t want to keep. I entertained the idea of having a garage sale, but honestly the whole thought of throwing a garage sale seemed a bit overwhelming. I get two days off a week, do I really want to spend them selling furniture and odds and ends for scrap cash?

The compromise to this was trying to sell a few big items on craigslist. The cop had some really nice furniture that was being stored in his friend’s garage. It had been there for over a year and it was really time to move it on out. It had over stayed its welcome there. The furniture there was really nice! A full light wood matching bedroom set, a microwave, a mahogany pub table, a computer chair. It pained me a little to get rid of it honestly. But at this point there is no way that we plan to buy a house here in the south, and the idea of paying to store all of that furniture and then pay to move it up north seemed silly. So between that furniture and my furniture we had a pretty long list of items to sell.

Selling items on craigslist can be a little time consuming and frustrating – there is a lot of back and forth with it. But through this experience and a little trial and error I’ve come up with a list of tips to help any future craigslist sellers out there. Little details that will hopefully make your life easier!

1) The Pictures Matter. It’s really all about presentation. Make your pictures clear and well lit. Provide a variety of angles. Make the item look good, but don’t try to hide flaws. You’ll end up wasting their time and yours if you misrepresent an item and they come to pick it up only to change their minds. Be sure to actually show the best parts of the item. For example the picture below was an ad for a futon. The picture is yellow and you can barely see the wood frame. To me this picture is really only helpful if it is selling the cover of the futon, not the frame itself (which is what everyone cares about).

White Futon
My picture in comparison is well lit, shows multiple angles and highlights the most important selling features of the piece. Fancy right?
Wooden Futon
2) Create a Non-name Email. Yes initially the requests from craiglist go to a ‘non name’ email. But any time you reply to a message you are giving away your personal email address and first and last name. Make your life easy, make a free gmail or yahoo account that does not have your name in it and use that to sell your craigslist items.
3) Be Realistic with Prices. It amazes me how overpriced some craiglist items are. No… your grimy used sofa is not worth $900. That bench, despite being old, is not an antique worth $225. Newsflash craigslist owner: No one will pay $250 for an old lazyboy recliner. (Yes these are real items and prices I found today on craigslist).
Overpriced Furniture
Let’s not forget about the green patio furniture priced at a whopping $695. Now there’s a steal.
patio furniture
I admit I completely understand the needs of these sellers – they have items and they want to get as much as they can for them. But pricing used items that high on a venue like craiglist is just ridiculous. I’m sorry but no one is looking at those items. Be realistic when pricing your items. You don’t want to give them away of course, but make it reasonable.
4) Everything is Negotiable. While I did try to keep the prices on my items low, I always priced them at least 30% to 40% higher than what I would take for them. I really want at least $30 for that wicker chair? I priced it at $45. The futon I wanted to sell that I’d take $80 for? I priced it at $125. (Let’s not mention that I bought said futon at an estate sale for $10). Even smaller items like side tables and a microwave cart – I’d take $15 or $20 for them just to get them out of the house but I listed them at $20 or $25. Every post description was finished with the following words “$___ or best offer”. I tell you – people love a bargain. They love to feel as though they got a steal on an item by talking you down. So fluff your prices, just a pinch, and let them know you are open to negotiation.
5) Refresh your Listings. Things tend to get buried on craigslist. Especially with the weird furniture dealing mavens posting about bedroom sets every 5 minutes. Be sure to refresh your post every few days to attract new eyes. If something hasn’t sold or received a comment in a week or so – reassess your listing photos and your asking price.

1 Comment

  1. […] Aunt’s garage). The list went on and on. When we first decluttered we sold a lot of the furniture on craigslist. Some of the items we simply ended up tossing (who wants 1 set of brown sheets let alone 5?) some […]

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