Part 2 - Your Online Yard Sale: Craiglist.org

Craigslist logoLast week, I introduced you to the wonders of buying items off of Craigslist. This week, I'll go over some tips for selling items on Craigslist.org. Craigslist is a great online resource to unload items you no longer use and score some cold hard cash in return.

First, you may wonder why you would want to use Craigslist to sell something instead of eBay or the local newspaper. Well, with eBay or the local newspaper, you'll wind up paying for that listing. Craigslist is FREE, unless you are posting jobs or properties in certain cities or posting certain services (http://www.craigslist.org/about/help/posting_fees). Craigslist is also LOCAL, so unlike eBay, you won't have to find a box to ship your rare Star Wars Lego 8010 Darth Vader set to someone in Minneapolis. Instead, you can arrange a time and place to meet and take care of your transaction.
 
For a great how-to on creating your listing, check out these links:
 Some tips from the trenches:
  • Don’t put your contact information in the posting -  you can have Craigslist anonymize your email address and potential buyers can email you through Craigslist without knowing your email address or phone number. I also put this note at the bottom of my listing: “If you are interested in this item, please provide your phone number so that I can contact you.” Internet spammers often turn to Craigslist to harvest email addresses for spamming. I only respond to people by phone now.
  • Do your research and get a realistic idea of how much your item is worth. Yes, you may have paid $300 for that vacuum cleaner when it was new, but you’ve used it now. People are on Craigslist looking for bargains and if most other vacuum cleaners are listed at $25, your listing likely won’t generate much interest if you price it at $100.
  • When providing location information, remember that not everyone in Houston knows where your neighborhood is. So provide some information that will be recognizable to most Houstonians or anyone who can look at a map: “Heights area,” “Pearland,” “I-10/Dairy Ashford.”
  • Take a good picture of the item and attach it to the posting. Yes, you could give a detailed explanation of the item or you could swipe a picture of the item from Amazon.com. BUT…a wary buyer will want to see a picture of the item YOU are selling. If you don’t provide it up front, some buyers will ask you to send a picture. A picture of your own item will not only confirm that you really own it (and aren’t a scammer) and will also verify condition.
  • Keep a list of your backup responses to your item – very often interested buyers will never show up to pick up the item. With your backup, you can move on to the next person who responded.
  • Accept payment only in CASH! ‘nuff said.
  • You may choose to meet at a location other than your home, depending on the item you are selling. If you’re selling your dining table, you’re likely stuck letting people into your home. If you’re selling a bicycle, you can arrange to meet at the back of the Wal-Mart parking lot or some other location acceptable to you and the buyer. It all depends on how comfortable you are with providing your home address to complete strangers.
Any more suggestions? Share them with us by putting them in the comments below.
 
Happy Craigslisting!