Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Craigslist Tips

**Beware** This post is Text Happy & lacking photos! :)

My friends have recently starting referring to me as the Queen of Craigslist. I’d like to think it’s done out of love and it’s a compliment. :) But, really I have had a slight addiction to finding and selling things on this favorite site. Before our move I sold quite a bit of our furniture and made some decent cash. Recently a reader asked me if I had any tips for Craigslist and today I’m sharing several tips for both buyers and sellers that will hopefully make your Craigslist experience better.

When Buying:
1. Browse frequently. This way you’ll know the ‘normal’ price for certain items and will be more aware if something is a deal or overpriced.
Use Smart phone Apps so that you can browse while killing time in the carpool line or doctor’s office waiting room. I use Craigslist Mobile for iPhone and it's a free app. I've used Craigsphone in the past and Craigslist Mobile for iPhone is quite a bit better!
2. View other nearby cities. Depending on what item you’re searching for it may be worth driving an hour or more if you find the “right” price for the right item. I had a lady drive almost 2 hours to purchase something I was selling just because it was the perfect fit for her room.
3. Use the search feature. If browsing through the category is too cumbersome for you, type in the search field specifics and let Craigslist narrow your options.
4. Negotiate. You never know how low someone is willing to go on their price. If you’ve been browsing frequently you’ll recognize an item that has been reposted multiple times and chances are the seller is more willing to negotiate. My standard line is “Would you take any less than ___?” Often they will ask me “What were you thinking about?” I dread this question because the ball is in my court. They may be willing to take $50 but I just offered $75…URGH! But, throw something out there and see where it takes you. But, be careful. Don’t lowball to offend. If you know the item is worth $200 don’t offer $75!
5. Go with someone to pick up your item. I have to admit, I don’t do this every time. But I do always let my husband know where I’m going. Or you can arrange to meet at a public place if the item is portable.

When Selling:
1. Create an account to keep track of your listings. This helps when you need to edit, repost or change your listing. If you plan on selling multiple items you can keep track of what you have going at a time and you can see what you’ve listed previously. If you decided 3 months ago to remove a listing because you weren’t sure you wanted to sell it and now you’re SURE, it’s still there to repost. Saves time having to retype your listing.
2. REMOVE your posting when your item sells – This is HUGE… don’t edit your listing to read “SOLD Queen mattress”. It just clutters up the listings and you’ll still have people call you even if it says “SOLD”. You just will… :)
3. Price your item a little more than you’re willing to take to allow room for negotiation. Remember how I talked about this on the Buyer’s end. Well, you need to be prepared for an offer less than your listing. So, be prepared and price accordingly. You may get lucky and get your full price. Along this line, don’t say “Asking $100 but will take $75”… NOBODY will pay you $100 if you already told them you’ll take $75. But I see this all the time.
4. Upload pictures. Craigslist gives you four uploads. Try to use all 4 and make them matter. Remember you’re trying to sell your item so we don’t need to see the clutter that’s on it now, or the pet who likes to cuddle on it. There’s nothing more unappealing than seeing someone trying to sell their sofa & their picture shows a dog/cat (no matter how cute) curled up on it. All that says to me is “EEEWWWW”.
Also, I know a bunch of people don’t really use real cameras anymore and use their cell phones. When listing an item it’s in your best interest to use a real camera – the quality is just better.
5. Give dimensions of the item – people need to know. Take the extra time and measure something before you post the item. You will get asked anyway, so you might as well do it. I’ve passed on several items just because the measurements are listed and I have known that it won’t work. Giving the dimensions saves you and your potential buyer time.
6. Allow people to call/text you – email is less personal and not as timely. This also limits the amount of spam you’ll get. You will probably get spam email and their inquiry will be vague and will probably not mention your item by name. That’s how I know it is spam. I put my cell number and say call/text and 99% of the time I receive text messages. It’s quick and easy!
7. Spell check – if you are trying to sell a “puton couch” nobody will find it when they search for a “futon”.

Hopefully this helps the few of you who have asked me for tips on Craigslist. Have any other tips you want to share? Let me know!


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