We love Craigslist. When we moved from our apartment to the house, we listed many a thing on Craigslist and always sold whatever we posted within 1 day. In many cases (for us anyway) it is so much more convenient than having a big yard sale (or “tag sale” as we call them). We’ve also made a few purchases from Craigslist over the years including this mid-century side table, and our most recent purchase, a bass guitar (a red Fender Deluxe Active Jazz V for any fellow musicians out there).
A while back, Ashley’s dad had a big pile of left over bricks stacked up along side the back of their house, and he mentioned he was going to take them to the dump later that day. I asked him why in the world he would go through all that trouble to throw something away that would be relatively valuable to someone else, and suggested that he might want to list them on Craigslist. He’d be able to avoid the hassle of moving the bricks himself, and he might even make a few dollars from the sale. He didn’t believe us, so Ash said, “Give me 24 hours.” She took one quick iPhone photo and five minutes to list it. Within one hour, he had four emails asking when they could come pick them up. Two hours later, he was $20 richer.
That scenario has gotten around to the family, and Ash and I are now the family’s designated Craigslisters. We’ve listed everything from antique spoons to office buildings and burial plots for them. Yeah, we’re a couple of Craigslisting fiends.
ONE // Always post large and clear photos. This is without a doubt the most important tip on the list. Your photos can make or break your sale. You don’t have to have a fancy photo shoot or anything – a simple iPhone photo will do the trick. However, if your phone doesn’t take decent photos, take the time to use a point and shoot and upload them to your computer. Make sure the background isn’t cluttered, the item(s) are clean, and you have good lighting (natural sunlight is best). Also, a few detail shots can go a long way and maybe even answer some questions for potential buyers before they ask.
TWO // Write your description in an easy-to-read list form. It’s a lot easier for someone to quickly scan down a list of facts about what you’re selling than read through a long paragraph. After all, it’s the internet; people want instant gratification. Also, especially when listing furniture, include the item dimensions and material (wood vs. vinyl).
THREE // Include your phone number in the listing. Including a contact number will put the potential buyer in contact with you faster – especially if you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t email very often. If you don’t want to give out your personal phone number and have a Google account, you can easily set up a Google Voice number (learn more about that here). This is something we use for all of our Craigslist transactions and it’s worked out perfectly.
FOUR // Add some personality to your writing. Just like in advertising, you want to come across as a likable person to the potential buyer. Instead of starting out your listing with, “I have a mid-century modern chair for sale” try “I have a mid-century modern chair for sale that Lucy Ricardo herself would fawn over.” It makes your listing a more interesting. It’ll stand out among the crowd.
FIVE // Check out the competition. Chances are, if you’re listing something like a computer or lawn mower, there are going to be a lot of similar items listed as well. Be sure to check out your competition and see what comparable items are selling for in your area. Listing your item just $5 below the “other guy” may make all the difference.
SIX // Double- and triple-check your spelling. I definitely let a typo slip here and there – even on the blog. However, when we list anything on Craigslist, we make sure everything is spelled correctly – especially brand names – so our listing will show up when someone searches for something specific. Making sure your spelling and grammar are in line also increases your credibility as an intelligent person who knows what they’re doing, and it just makes for a better presentation overall.
SEVEN // Delete and re-post your listing after 48 hours. Especially in relatively large cities like Richmond, new listings are added on a regular basis, so it’s easy for your listing to get lost in the piles and piles of other listings. By re-posting your item, it will put you back at the top of the list. Make sure you delete your old item before reposting or it may get marked as spam.
If you have any Craigslisting tricks up your sleeve or any fun stories (ever see a crazy listing?), be sure to share in the comments.
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