Whatcha Makin' Now?: How to Buy and Sell on CraigsList


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Buy and Sell on CraigsList

Craigslist is a very interesting place.  I, by no means, am a super seller or buyer on Craigslist but I have bought and sold a few things over the past few years.  I thought it would be fun to share some advice on How to Buy/Sell on Craigslist.

Assume.  Assume the item is available.  I’ve found that people prefer to cut the small talk and get down to business.  So get right to it and assume you will purchase the item when you contact the seller say - “When could I pick up this item?” or “When could I come look at this item?”.  A email/text with a lot of questions will most likely not get a response; they will just wait for someone else to respond. 

Read. Read the description and how to contact the seller.  If they ask for a text message they won’t be sitting by their email waiting for a message. 

Be SMART and SAFE!  Never ever ever go meet a seller alone.  We live in a crazy world and you just don’t know.  Yes, they might be selling a really cute coffee table from IKEA but that doesn’t mean they aren’t crazy and off their meds. Always take someone with you.  If taking someone with you is not an option, meet in a public place…like a parking lot of a busy store.  Make sure someone else knows where you are and what you are doing. 

Negotiations.  I’m not a good negotiator, and Jacob would agree with me, if I plan to buy something I plan to pay the price listed.  But if they state OBO, then give those bargaining talents a whirl.  Or, if you notice that something isn’t as nice as it was said to be, ask for a lower price.  Don’t be afraid to walk away.  We all know the same item will probably be listed again.

Description.  Take time and type a nice description.  I like when sellers reference why they are selling too. 

Cash only, no trade.  Sounds silly, but before we moved to Kansas we listed TV, it seriously weighty 90 lbs and we refused to move it.  We had someone call and want to trade us the TV for a nice leather coat…..we passed on that offer.

Pictures.  It boggles my mind when I see postings without pictures, especially with all the smart phones. Craig’s List lets you post things right from their iPhone app making pictures even easier to post. 

Contact.  I think having someone call or text to inquire is the easiest way seal the deal.  But it you’re weirded out giving out your phone number stick to email.

Gut check.  Trust your gut and be SMART and SAFE.  During your correspondence with the buyer listen to your gut.  I think you can get a good feeling about someone as far as if they are serious buyer or something seems ‘off’.  If the buyer is coming to your home, make sure someone is home with you.  Or, like I said when buying, meet in a public place. 

Address.  Don’t provide your address too soon.  If the meeting isn’t going to happen for a few days down the road, I like to confirm they are still interested on the day of, and once I know, then text the address.  This will just give you another chance to check your gut before giving your information. 

Delete.  Once the item has been picked up and you have your cash money, delete the listing! 

Renew.  If your item doesn’t sell there is an option within your Craig’s List account to ‘renew’ the posting.  This will move it back to the top of the list.  Sadly, I’ve had to do that a few times.  Womp womp. 

No more scary talk - all of my Craigslist experiences have been positive!  I haven’t made any new life-long friends, but I’ve had some fun conversations. 
  • Old TV – Went to a guy for his garage.  Now he can watch spots while he’s working on his ol’ rig.
  • Another old TV that was in our house when we bought it – Went to a nice young couple, hubby in the service.  They had just moved to town and trying to save money. 
  • Decorative Trays (wedding present that we didn’t use) – Went to a sweet lady who had just discovered Craig’s List and it was the first item she purchased.  She was actually the one that prompted me to want to share some tips.  She had previously had a tray like the one I sold but had given it to her daughter.  She was delighted to find another! 
  • Dress Pants – Buyer and I texted back and forth and then figured out that we both worked for the same company…down the hall from eachother!  Kansas City is a pretty big town and that just shows how small of a world it really is.  Weird. 
  • Pier One Dishes – Buyer ended up being one of my husband’s patients.  She was like, “Hey, you’re my chiropractor!”  Again, small world. 

So to end this wordy post, Craig’s List can be a ton of fun!  Give it a try and see what awaits you.  Selling your old junk is fun!  And, after you sell something you just want to dig around and find something else.