How To Sell Things On Craigslist

Not to brag, but I have a remarkably good track record for selling things on Craigslist. I often sell things for the price I originally paid for them. For example, I paid $400 for my last couch, used it for 7 years, and sold it for the same amount on Craigslist.
And that’s just the beginning. I have sold tables, lamps, parts of doors, a toilet, a sink, the straps that go around a water heater, a car that was never going to run again (I had a bidding war on that one), and many other things. What I can’t sell, I give away. You will be amazed what people will take for free. I have given away rusty dollies, pine cones, a giant plastic mirror, and even this door:
savvyhousekeeping how to sell on craigslist
Yes, someone came and took away that door. I am wondering if I can go my whole life without ever going to the dump, thanks to Craigslist’s free section.
Here are my tips for selling on Craigslist:
1. Post on a Week Day. I notice that I get a better response if I post on a week day than a weekend. The posts I put up on the weekend tend to get buried. I guess a lot of people are looking at Craigslist while at work.
2. Don’t Get Overly Descriptive. Unlike eBay, you don’t want to convince the buyer how great your product is. Saying something like: “This vintage round side table with cherry stain and a post-World-War-II history will look fabulous in any living room!” will not get you half the responses as, “Round side table with cherry stain for sale.” People are scanning these ads and they don’t want to read a novel. Keep it simple.
3. Mention the Condition. I always say whether the item is in good condition or not. I am honest about any problems, but also positive. For example, with the beat-up door above (which also had a picture so people could see how bad it was), I said, “While it is not in the greatest shape, it is remarkably heavy/solid and could be fixed up.” True, and it worked.

4. Include Dimensions.
ALWAY measure furniture or household items and include it in the ad. People want to know how big things are. I put:
X” tall
X” wide
X” long

5. Say Why You Are Getting Rid of the Item.
People seem to wonder, “Well, if this is in such great shape, why is she getting rid of it?” So I usually say something like, “I am remodeling and no longer need this item.” That way people know I have a good reason for selling whatever it is. It seems to increase their trust.
6. Include Pictures. Pictures are essential. Get out a digital camera and take a picture for everything you put up on Craigslist. I do it even if I am giving something away. It makes a huge difference in whether you get a response.
7. Include a Phone Number. At the end of the ad, I always tell people to feel free to call or e-mail me. Some people like to deal through e-mail and others like to talk to you, so I give them the option. I realize not everyone would be comfortable putting their phone number on Craigslist. While I feel that way about my e-mail address–I always use the anonymize option–I don’t worry about people having my phone number. I don’t think that many telemarketers are trolling Craigslist. (Yet?)
8. Re-Post. If you don’t sell something, wait the week that Craigslist requires, and then re-post. Most likely the ad just got buried. I often sell things the second time through that were ignored the first time. You know what they say: if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

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3 thoughts on “How To Sell Things On Craigslist”

  1. The only thing I would disagree with is putting my phone number on the ad. (I sound like my mom) Instead I’ll give out my phone number over email to people I feel are serious about the item, and need to coordinate pickup.
    That said, and it might be a total coincidence, but since I started selling stuff about a month ago, I’ve gotten three spam text messages saying “my Wachovia card has been limited…” Of course I don’t have a Wachovia account, but I’m probably going to be a little more hesitant even giving phone number out over email from now on.

  2. Well I don’t put my cell phone number up there–I wouldn’t advise that–but I don’t see how putting up a phone number hurts anything. As for spam: I know! I get 3 or 4 spams/scams every time I post on Craigslist these days. They need to crack down on that.

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