How to sell on Craigslist – Tutorial Guide and Tips

how-to-use-craigslistWith a few simple steps, you will be able to clear out your closets and storage thanks to Craigslist. Easy and simple is the key here. Trust me, if selling stuff on Craigslist was a lot of trouble, I would be suggesting this or even trying to convince you of how great it is. The fact is some of your stuff collecting dust may in fact be the treasure that somebody out there is looking for. The fact is, you just never know. Don’t ever second guess yourself whether you might be wasting your time listing a certain item. I’ve had a number of items I’ve listed of which I was very skeptical of selling. Guess what? They went FAST. You might think you know what people are looking for, but you don’t. You will never cease to be amazed! If you would need to throw away electronics, you would need to take it to a recycling depot somewhere. Wouldn’t somebody coming to you place to take it away be a time saver? Craigslist can be a great solution and time safer.

So why Craigslist and why now? To me the advancement of technology for starters. The key to selling something online is to have a photo of it. In fact multiple photos can go a long way. In the past getting photos onto a computer and online was a burden. Not like walking up 10 flights of stairs, but it was a burden none the less. Now if you’re like most, you have a smartphone or a phone with a decent quality camera. Getting photos onto you product listing really has never been easier. I will mention a few methods that I use later on in this article. If it’s a hassle to do, I wouldn’t be doing it so please trust me.

General Tips

Be honest. I think if you are upfront about what you’re selling, what you’ve done with it while you had it, then you should be good. An example of temptation might be when Buyer A contacts you and you arrange to sell it for less than your asking price. Shortly thereafter, before selling it to Buyer A, you get a better offer from Buyer B. Do you cancel your original agreement with Buyer A? I would suggest not to. What you should do however is let the original Buyer A know that there is another buyer who wants to buy it. If they cancel on your arranged meeting time and place, then you’ve done what you can and then sell to Buyer B. Keep all buyers in the loop as to what is going on. The key though is honesty because then you don’t need to worry about accusations and bad blood later.

One other big piece of advice I have is to keep the money from the sale in an envelope and keep it at your home. Don’t spend it, but rather keep it in a safe spot for a few days. The reason? It’s quite simply a matter of dealing with post sale issues with the buyer. If for some reason they contact you about something not working or some other issue, it allows you to give them their money back. If there is an issue after the fact, I personally like to deal with it immediately. It’s not worth the stress and bad blood by refusing to take the item back. I just take it back, no questions asked, and hand back the money. It’s clean, simple and will cut the tension between you and the buyer. If it’s a large amount of money, the stress and fallout gets more intense.

As part of preparing to sell a sealed unused item, there is something you need to consider. Some buyers will have no trust in Craigslist sellers and even though the item might be sealed, they will want to inspect it before paying for it. You need to decide for yourself what you want to do. It’s something that you may want to deal with in your initial discussions before you meet up with the buyer for the transaction. Again, you are meeting total strangers so can you trust that you’re going to get the cash after they open the box? It’s something you need to communicate about with the buyer. It’s much better to ask yourself what you’re comfortable with regarding breaking the seal before the cash is put in your hand.

Creating A Product Listing – Tips and Advice

The title is obviously everything. The most important words need to be listed near the front. If it’s new, almost new, or sealed, then certainly put those words first, then follow that with the detailed item information. If it’s electronics, then consider whether people will be seeking out your exact product, or will they be looking for something generic instead. If you know what people will be searching for, then you can target your ad better. If it’s a less well known brand for example, like a brand of gaming headphones, then it might be better to list “gaming headphones” first, and then follow that with the product name. People might be on craigslist searching out a category of product and not a specific model. You have to decide where your item falls. Is it popular enough that people will seek it out specifically or will most people find it by looking at what category the item is from?

Within the main body of text, I always will list my location along with the selling price. It may be a bit redundant because there are specific fields to enter price and location, but the more times you say it, the less people will ask you where you live. I don’t use the “show address on map” feature, but that’s a personal choice. If people want to buy, then I can give those details. If you’re not buying it why do you need to know where I’m located exactly?

Tips For Craigslist Photos

Some people like to grab a product image right off the internet somewhere. You know the ones. They are like the official press release photos or something similar. It might be a time saver, but to me that is not a great idea. Instead, take photos of your item and post it with the listing. I will say that the image size isn’t going to be big enough in the listing to show off great detail. To counter this limitation, I recommend that you take some close ups. That should include things like the product label if you are selling something that still has the original box. Get right into range of the label so all the specs and product info can be seen. I also suggest a photo that shows all that is included with what you’re selling. All cables, parts, owners manual, etc. Get a wide photo showing all that you are including. Of course get the main item with good lighting which is the photo you should first upload. The first photo will appear as the listings “featured image” and is a default image that people first see. The key tip is that photos won’t be super detailed on your product listing. Therefore take a few more photos just to make sure items that need more detail can be shown close up in one or two photos. If you are selling a sealed product, show the seal. Do what it takes to show that you’re a legitimate and honest seller.

You’ve Creating Your Listing – Now What?

Once you have setup your item(s) listing, wait for the buyers. If a period of time passes without selling your item, check back in your Craigslist account and look at your listings. If they have been up too long, you will see a “renew” link which you need to press. This will put your ad back up to the top of the listings. Over the course of time you may have to renew a listing many times if it’s not selling. One tip is to verify that in fact the system renewed your ad. If you try to renew multiple ads quickly, one after another, you may find that some of those renewals haven’t registered properly. My tip is to simply click “renew”, and then return to your account to verify that the “renew” link is no longer there. If it’s gone, then it’s renewed properly. I’ve had occasions when I’ve though the ad was renewed, but I did it too quickly and it never registered with the system database. Once you’ve sold an item, be sure to go into your account and delete the listing.

Sell On Craiglist – What You Need

You need an account, which is free and should take you only a few minutes to set up. Next, I hope that you have a cell phone or smartphone that has a reasonably good camera. I highly recommend that you utilize text messages for the final steps of meeting the buyer. A cell phone number isn’t traceable to your home, or at least as far as I know and where I live. Your results may vary on that, but using text messages is a more comfortable way of communicating with a complete stranger I find. Of course you need “stuff” to sell. Trust me when I say anything goes. A small investment of time might help you make a few bucks instead of throwing something into the trash or having to pack it up and dropping it off at a recycling center.

Time Equals Money

I’ve mentioned that this is going to be relatively hassle free. In that sense, the approach here is that time is money. If you’re the seller, do you want to spend you time going somewhere to meet a buyer? Some friends like to sell at public locations which is fine. For me? If you’re wanting the deal, then you are coming to my location to buy it. So if your home for whatever reason isn’t appropriate for you, then arrange a time at your place of work. You safety is of the utmost importance here and I understand that. I like to think that if a buyer comes to my location to buy something, if they grabbed it and ran, I wouldn’t chase them or care. Meeting total strangers, anything is possible. If you’re being honest about what you’re selling and you plan on returning money to the buyer is there is some post sale issue, then I can’t see the problem with doing transaction on your front door. It’s a personal decision obviously. I think a workplace is the second best place for transactions.

What Is The Best Stuff To Sell On Craigslist?

I would suggest anything goes. As previously mentioned, don’t try and guess what people might buy. You will be surprised, no question about it. I do have one point to make though. I would avoid high end items. As your selling price goes up, so does the stress and tension. There will be a time after sales where you might dread the buyer contacting you about some issue with what you just sold them. So to think that you sold something for over $200 and there was some issue, it’s not a stretch to consider that people might think you’re trying to pull a fast one. I have a story later on about a brand new, never been opened electronic product, that the buyer took home and accused me of selling him a dud. Fact: new and sealed electronics can in fact be defective. Since you’re dealing with strangers who likely have little trust in you as a person, what do you think they are going to assume?

When The Meet Up Happens – Seller Meets Buyer

One question that most buyers will hit you with at the moment before cash hits your hand is? Why are you selling it. I know that I initially talked about honesty, but in this instance, an honest answer may not be appropriate. At worst, you can always say because I need the money. If you happen upon a terrific deal and are selling that brand new item what do you say to the buyer as to why you’re selling it? Do you say it’s because you got a deal? Of course not. There may in fact be a guilty feeling when you’re selling something to a buyer for much more than you paid for it brand new. They don’t need to know how much you paid for it. You can tell them its store bought for that matter. You can stretch the truth, it’s totally up to you and your situation. I’m just strongly suggesting that you ponder how you will answer the “why are you selling it” question. Be prepared.

Things To Avoid When Selling On Craigslist

Everyone has a different opinion on this, but since I’m writing this guide, I’m going to give you my opinion. I would avoid selling expensive items. It’s too much pressure and stress. The fact is you’re dealing with complete strangers. People don’t know you and you don’t know them. Some people overreact to situations. Some people don’t trust. What you want is a hassle free way of selling your stuff.

I have a personal sale price limit of around $150. I will share a story of a sale that went south (bad) which may open your eyes about “worst case scenarios”. I bought an electronic device from Staples. It was an absolute bargain and it was too hard to resist. I put an ad up on Craigslist and within 2 hours I had arranged a buyer. The item was brand new and sealed. I was thinking to myself that I could make about $40 in about 30 minutes of my time. Not bad I thought. That was until I got a text from the buyer about 2 hours after completing the sale. His text read essentially like this: “you sold me a dud”. You want to talk about a gut wrenching feeling? For starters the guy was twitchy when the sale happened. It seemed he had little trust in Craigslist sellers. So imagine how he felt upon opening up a sealed product and finding out it didn’t work! I can tell you lot of questions went through my mind. Did he swap out a broken one that he owned and is going to bring that back to me? Is he going to get violent because he thinks I sold him a “dud” intentionally?

So my first reaction was to think that this buyer was not being truthful. I didn’t believe that a brand new device could somehow be broken. Sure it’s possible and does actually happen, but to me? I doubted it. So back to where I left off on the story. He sent me a text shortly after buying the item saying I sold him a dud. After taking a deep breath, I texted him back to say it was store bought. Without hesitation, I offered to give him his money back. On the surface that sounded great, but in the back of my mind I was questioning this buyers frame of mind. Did they actually think I tried to rip them off? Not a great feeling. So I quickly realized that it might take a day or two to arrange another meet time. I decided to tell the buyer that I wanted to get him his money back that same night. He said he was working so I asked him if I could meet him at his workplace and get this dealt with. Turns out that at around 10:30pm, I handed him back his money and he passed me back the item. He was extremely grateful to me. The point is I was just being honest and up front.

Trust me when I say this is just about a worst case scenario. The lesson I learned is that there is a dramatic stress level as the amount of money involved in a sale goes up. A buyer who thinks you might have been trying to rip them off could be a scary proposition. You simply don’t know what kind of wing nut you might be dealing with. This story is why I urge you to be careful with higher priced items, especially electronic devices.

I almost forgot to mention about this device that the buyer claimed was a “dud”. When I returned home I plugged it in. To my shock and surprise, the issue he described was in fact TRUE. The brand new device that I just bought in the store was in fact a dud. Let this be a lesson to you that it can and does happen.

Let’s Hear From You

Let’s make use of the comments section. I’m sure you have some good or bad experiences about selling on Craigslist that will help other people. If you have tips to add, please do it. I’m not a “know-it-all” and there is always somebody smarter out there.


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