1. List your item in the most appropriate category. I originally posted these FLOR carpet tiles in the household items section but wasn't getting much response. When I moved the listing to the furniture section of Craigslist, the response was much greater.
2. Keep your guard up. After many years of buying and selling on Craigslist I can say that I have not been scammed once. Now, that's not to say there haven't been attempts. I've gotten the emails offering to buy items sight unseen if they send me a money order for more than the sales amount and I refund the difference. Yeah, right. I may be a fool but I wasn't born yesterday! In other words, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
3. Be as precise as possible in your title and location. List the quantity of what you're selling, the brand of the item, color, or anything else that may make your listing stand out from the others. Also, accurately list your location. This may seem unnecessary but in the face of $4 per gallon gasoline, listing an accurate location gives the potential buyer an indication of how far they'll need to travel.
4. Provide as many details as possible in the description. When I list furniture on Craigslist, I always list the measurements, color, materials, and, if I can remember, where I bought it and what I paid for it. If the item you're selling is heavy and your bad back prevents you from helping move it down three flights of stairs, it wouldn't hurt to mention that the buyer will be responsible for moving it.
5. Good photos go a long way. It perplexes me that some people still list things for sell on Craigslist without posting photos. In this age of cheap and easy digital cameras, there's no excuse for not having a photo of the item you're selling. Go one step further by trying to stage the photo. I try to photograph furniture as it was set up in my apartment when I list it. These FLOR tiles actually lived in my basement storage room for a couple of months but I brought them back up and photographed them set up as a rug. Show potential buyers how fabulous the item could be in their home. If had photographed a stack of FLOR tiles instead of laid out as a rug, it would have been a harder sell.
In addition to these five tips, you should also consider your safety. If you live alone, consider having a friend come over when a potential buyer is dropping by. If you keep your unwanted items in a dark basement, consider pulling them outside before the potential buyer arrives. The world is certainly full of nice, friendly people but there are also a few lunatics out there so be careful.
Images: Jason Loper