A Step-by-Step Guide to Craigslist Selling Success

A Step-by-Step Guide to Craigslist Selling Success

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Jennifer Hunter
Aug 10, 2015

So you have some furniture or home decor that's just not your style, but you think it could be worth some bucks to someone else? Get thee over to Craigslist, the mecca of online buying and selling. But first, set yourself up for success and educate yourself with this guide.

Photos

A great photo is your biggest opportunity to get buyers interested. Your photos need to be clear and well-lit (if you can, try taking photos outside but not in direct sunlight). Make sure to dust or clean your item beforehand (duh) and once you've taken your pics, crop out any unnecessary information (ie. your messy apartment in the background) to let your object take center stage. Include multiple angles and close-ups of any damage.

Title

The most important function of your title is to be accurate and clear. Here's an example: "Black Vitamix 5200 Blender, New in Box." All the most important information is there and there isn't anything extra. Remember, you don't need to include your location, the price or any other information that's been addressed in other areas of your post. There's also no need to capitalize random words or add lots of extra punctuation because you think it will draw attention. Those ploys will only annoy your potential buyer before he has a chance to click on your listing.

Description

You might want to spice up your copy a little to grab your reader and that's fine, but don't forget to include these things:

  • Manufacturer/brand
  • Model name/number
  • Materials (ie. what kind of wood, etc)
  • Accurate dimensions
  • Full disclosure about the condition of your item (along with photos)
  • Your contact information if you want to have buyers contact your directly (rather than use the automated email). I never put my personal information online, but I know a lot of sellers find it speeds up the selling process if someone can simply call them.

Tags

Tags are key to make sure that people searching for an item like yours find your listing. They are usually included at the bottom of the description area and are phrases like mid-century modern, vintage and new. Remember, tag abuse is not cool. Only include accurate tags so you don't waste people's time leading them to your post when you're not selling what they are looking for.

Pricing

Pricing is a tricky area because everyone has their own strategy here. I don't like to waste time haggling back and forth so I usually price my item at the lowest number I would accept and call it a day. I know lots of sellers expect to haggle so they add 20% to their bottom line and include "Or best offer (OBO)" so buyers know they're flexible. Either way, people come to craigslist looking for deals, so don't try to gouge your buyer or you may not make a sale.

Communication

When you do get a response, you need to be available quickly. It's a fast world online and buyers know the best stuff goes quickly so they pounce right away. You need to reply to interested parties quickly and also be in town and ready to show your item should the interaction get to that next step.

Reposting

If you haven't sold your item in 48 hours, you can renew your listing which will bring it up to the top of the page. You can do this for 30 days, after which your listing will expire. Because of the volume on Craigslist, you should absolutely keep careful track of time and get your post back to the top as frequently as you can. It will help bring more eyes to your offering and help you make a sale that much faster.

Remember, even though Craigslist is an online community, selling there is still a very personal interaction. You will most likely meet your buyer so be professional and polite and set the tone for a great interaction.

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