Craigslist is an excellent site for buying & selling items locally. It’s free, it gives you plenty of control and there are no issues posting items or paying fees. However, not all Craigslist ads are created equal and how you list your item can make the difference between a quick, successful sale and your item languishing unsold for weeks. You do have to have an account but it doesn’t cost to sign-up and it actually makes it easier to post multiple items. So, once you have your account and are ready to list an item, how do you write a listing that buyers will love?
1 Include the correct location information
Craigslist is for predominately local buyers & sellers. When you start your listing be careful to choose the correct city for your post. This would be the location you are selling from. So if you are selling from home, choose your home city but if you are going to be arranging pick-up from your workplace or a friends house, make sure you use that location.
2 Choose the right category for your item
Next you will be asked to choose a category for your item & first you should choose “For sale by buyer’. Then you’ll see a list of sub-categories and this choice is very important. Many buyers only look at the category they are interested in so if you choose incorrectly you could miss the perfect buyer. So if you have an antique bookshelf decide if it would appeal most to people looking for furniture in general or for antique furniture.
3 Set the right price
The price you would like to get for your item may not be the price that people are willing to pay. Before you set your price take a look at similar items listed in your local area. Is the price you were thinking of in the same range as other items? Yes – then go ahead. If not you should consider how realistic your expectations are. Also consider the price of the same item new. Buyers will not be interested in purchasing your second hand item if they can go & buy a new one for a similar price.
4 Write a clear title
People want to see at a glance what you are selling and many buyers browse the posts as lists & do not see your ‘photo straight away. They don’t want to work to hard to check out your listing and titles such as “Fantastic Deal” or “Awesome Bike” are not descriptive enough and may be passed quickly over. Try to be clear & concise such as “Green child’s bike with 20 inch wheels Good Condition”. This clearly says what is for offer and will draw in more buyers.
5 Include plenty of quality ‘photos
I know it’s easy to just cut & paste a photo of your item from an Amazon ad, or similar, but it doesn’t let people see what your item is like. Many people will not even contact a seller if they do not have their own photos on the listing. Let your buyer see what they are getting before you waste your time & theirs setting up a fruitless purchase meeting. If your item has cosmetic faults take a photo so the potential buyer can see them and remember people don’t want to see your dirty washing all over your dresser or your sofa for sale covered in pizza boxes & beer bottles!
6 Write a thorough, honest description
OK, so you don’t have to write the listing equivalent of ‘War & Peace’ but you should give plenty of relevant information. Put yourself in the buyers shoes and think about what you would like to know about the item for sale. IS it still in the original packaging? Does it have instructions? Is it an unused gift, a mistaken purchase or a well loved, well used item that may need some work to bring it back to like new condition?
7 Carefully consider contact options
You may not want to give out your ‘phone number or email and to cover this Craigslist has a great system that allows you to be contacted via an anonymous craigslist generated email address. This lets you talk to buyers by email without having to worry about strangers having your email address or ending up on spam lists. Also, believe it or not, not everyone has a cell phone so if you choose to be contacted only by text you are shutting out buyers.
8 Include your postcode & a map
When you place an ad, you have the option including your postcode & a map. this gives buyers a rough idea of where you are located. Some people may not have reliable transport or they may not want to travel too far for an item so a map with a rough location is ideal. We usually use a nearby major intersection, that way you aren’t giving too much away about where you live.
9 Answer queries straight away
Nobody wants to be left wondering if you received their email or if you are still selling an item. If someone has a question answer them as soon as possible. Depending on the item buyers may ask about blemishes, where the item came from or how & when it has been used. If they are trying to negotiate the price don’t be afraid to say no, your price is firm. If they think you or your item are unavailable they may move quickly onto the next post.
10 Make pick-up & payment easy
When you have agreed to a view / pick-up don’t make it too difficult for your potential buyer. We all have time commitments and other things to do so try and be flexible on a pick-up time. Making yourself available only at 7:15 pm on a Tuesday may make it impossible for someone to pick an item up. Also very important is to consider your own safety & security, you may not want to meet someone when you are home alone. Likewise if a buyer would like to meet somewhere, make sure it is a safe, public location you are comfortable with, and if at all possible take someone with you.
I would also advise, very, very, strongly that you only deal in cash. Your buyer may seem o be the nicest person in the world but a money transfer, cheque or prepaid credit card are all easily cancelled ans can leave you without your item & without your money.