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5 Tips for Selling on Craigslist

I love selling things on Craigslist since it gets it out of my house but keeps it from just being tossed out with the garbage.  I have sold furniture, electronics, fish tanks, and even a few cars.

Here's how to make money selling things on Craigslist and not get scammed. Turning your old junk into cash is such an awesome way to pay for things like vacations. As they say, one person's trash is another's treasure. These tips help me make the most of my reselling.

Here are my top 5 tips for successfully selling on Craigslist:

1.  Determine Your Craigslist Price.

For anything but cars, I usually look at similar items selling in my city and price my stuff lower since it will sell faster and get it out of my home.  I sold a 10 gallon fish tank with all the extras in less than 24 hours for $125.  The buyer said that she liked my pictures and the fact my tank and setup was $25 cheaper than the others she saw.

For cars, I look up the Kelley Blue Book Value and list it at the “Excellent” price and let the buyers talk me down to the “Fair” price.  Just make sure to price it fairly by the end of negotiations so you don’t feel guilty and don’t let anyone talk you down to less than you are comfortable with taking.  No regrets.

2.  Clean the Item.

Nobody wants a dirty new thing for their home.  It doesn’t have to be sparkling new, but make sure it doesn’t look gross and too used.

For our car, we paid $14 to have it washed really well, used their free vacuum cleaners to take care of the carpets and seats, and spent $3 on some wipes for the dashboard and other surface areas.  It sold in 27 hours.  I cleaned the fish tank I mentioned above with the rest of the wipes and then rinsed it down.

3.  Write a Full Description and Include Pictures for Craigslist.

You don’t have to write out the life story of an object, but the better the details, the faster it sells.

I usually give a full run down of the condition (make sure to be honest), the specs, why we are selling it, what time the buyers can reach me on my cell phone, and I attach up to 4 pictures as allowed.  Craigslist also lets them email you to a temporary address that forwards their message to the one you type in.

4.  Post on Saturday and Tuesday Mornings.

You can only relist an item every 3 days and EARLY Saturday morning is the absolute best time, so I only post on Saturdays and Tuesdays to maximize the exposure.

5.  Have a Meeting Place in Mind.

I’m lazy and use our house but some people are more comfortable with meeting buyers somewhere else.  Make sure to list the meeting place you have in mind so buyers know where they have to drive to pick up whatever they buy.  Also look out for flaggers and spammers.

Have I forgotten any great tips?  What kind of things have you sold on Craigslist?

 



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you).  I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too!  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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30 thoughts on “5 Tips for Selling on Craigslist

  1. I love Craigslist! I live in South Florida and there is plenty of traffic checking out all the Craigslist deals, which makes it really simple to sell anything.

    In fact, we’ll be moving pretty soon, and there’s going to be plenty of items thrown up on Craigslist!

  2. Good pictures is a MUST when selling an item. I’ve seen plenty of postings that have horrible pictures, so you have no idea what you are really buying, and I’m sure a lot of people don’t want to take the time to look at someone’s old, used items when they can’t really tell what it looks like in the pictures.

  3. This is a timely article for me. I am trying to sell some big baby items, but I have never sold on Craigslist before. I listed one item a few weeks ago, and got one inquiry, then nothing. How long are the items listed? Do they automatically go down after a while? Thanks!

  4. We just sold some furniture on Craigslist…honestly, I love getting rid of that kind of stuff on CL not for the money, but for the free haul-away! 🙂

  5. Craigs list is one of the best sites to sale items you no longer need. Here in Portland craigs list is very active and lots of people list items and buy off the site. We have been selling some baby items we no longer need as our daughter is getting older. We always meet the buyer typically at a busy parking lot as we don’t want strangers coming over to our house since you have no idea who they are.

  6. While I haven’t sold on Craigslist, I have purchased a few things. So from that perspective, I can say that for me it was important to have the item clean and looking sharp. It could have made the difference between a sale and no sale, really because:

    1) It reinforces the idea that you’re buying something used
    2) It makes me wonder how well they took care of the item.

  7. Hello Crystal!

    I love to sell on Craigslist. We’ve sold my old car (for $400, not running–the buyer knew this) a projection t.v. that Paul bought for $400 (sold for $250 three years later), chocolate fondue fountain ($15), laptop case ($10), Guitar Hero guitar ($50). We are also about to sell a 2.5 ton brand new A/C/ compressor, capacitor, and fan blades (in an old rusted box) since we upgraded to a 3.5 ton AFTER the warranty company gave us the new parts (turned out that our house would never cool on a 2.5 ton system because of the square footage).

  8. @LifeAndMyFinances, we do an annual clean out of the house via Craigslist, lol.

    @Merceedes, good pictures really are so important!

    @Melissa, they stay listed for 30 days I believe but they get bumped down every time someone else lists something in that category. That is why I relist every 3 days. 🙂

    @Amanda, the easy factor of free haul away is awesome!

  9. I’ve got a bunch of baby stuff in my garage that I should probably throw on Craigslist, but we were thinking of having a yard sale in the spring to hopefully clean it out in one shot.

    That’s a good tip for pricing a car. I have a car that I’m planning to put on Craigslist if the snow would stay away long enough for me to take some nice pics! Wanna buy a 2003 Accord?? 🙂

  10. We got rid of a piano on Craigslist, and obviously had no choice but to have someone come to the home to pick it up. I just made sure my husband was home for pickup as I definitely did not want to be home alone.

    I haven’t really sold anything else on Craigslist as I have donated much of our stuff away already.

  11. I’ve sold my car and a few small things on Craigslist.

    I agree 100% to be honest up front. If something is wrong or missing, let everyone know. Also, pictures are very important. When I’m looking for something to buy, I usually skip over the posts that don’t even have pictures.

  12. Thank you for this! We have an electric oven in our shed that still works and is in great condition, just needs a cleaning. When we rented we had to provide our own, then we bought our house that came with one… so it’s just been sitting in there! I want to get it out of there this spring, so hopefully it sells quick. I don’t care what we get for it, I just want it gone!

  13. 4. Post on Saturday and Tuesday Mornings.

    Best advice right there! Tuesdays are the best day to get work traffic (everyone made it through Monday and hasn’t yet procrastinated enough). I imagine Saturdays are good too, but I’ve never posted on those days.

  14. @Mike, nah, I’m getting a Yaris or Prius when my Aveo finally dies, lol.

    @Everyday Tips, it sounds like you’d like Freecycle!

    @David, I’m glad you agree!

    @grace, good idea. I met one guy at Denny’s before. 🙂

    @Mandi, good luck on your first sale!

    @Nunzio, lol, a combo effort.

    @JT, I’m glad someone else backed me up on Tuesdays!

  15. I always post on Friday nights. I posted on other days before and got no hits. I’ve never had luck on other weekdays, even Tuesday.

    I guess the only other thing I do is I do a search for the item I’m selling on craiglist to see how much inventory is already out there and what prices things are going for. That helps me with pricing the item.

  16. Just wanted to add to be sure and add measurements, especially when you’re selling furniture. When I’m buying, I always look for those details, and it saves the trouble of having to go back and forth on email to get the information.

  17. I think pictures are possibly the most important part of the ad. It’s surprising how many people still don’t include them. I usually don’t even click on ads without pictures unless I’m really looking for something specific.

    The best way to ad them is to host them online so you can have more than four pictures and they can be as big as you want. It’s really easy to do. Check out the site mycraigslistadvisor.com to learn how. It’s also got a bunch more tips and stuff like this.

  18. Craigslist is great for selling products directly to consumers who are looking for you. This direct business model is preferred due to taking out all of the merchant fees.

  19. People need to know to spell check, write in complete sentences, capitalize, and use punctuation. Nothing is more annoying to me than opening a listing that looks like it took the poster 13 seconds from start to finish to post. Effort is everything. I mean really, are you going to spend $4,000 on a car where the poster didn’t take the time to do these things?

  20. Great article – never thought selling on Tuesday mattered! Anyone check out UseitSellit.com ? Also free but with some more reviews.

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