By Kim Lemmon
Most of us have accumulated a few items through the years that we no longer need. Garage and yard sales are still a great way to clean out and clean up your home or barn but craigslist can often be an even better place to buy and sell items because the Internet reaches such a large audience.
Craigslist is a website that allows people to post online ads for free. Folks can look at posted ads of items for sale in their area by location and product type. My favorite section is the farm and garden section. I’ve bought and sold many items on craigslist. I’m sort of a junkie.
My friends and family have often asked me about my success at selling items on craigslist. I don’t have any special skills; I just put a lot of time and effort into selling my products.
Here are some of my top tips if you plan to sell items of your own on craigslist.
- Clean your item before you list it. Whether you are selling household or barn items or livestock make sure everything is clean. Everything collects at least dust even if it has been stored inside.
- Take photos of everything. Try to take nice photos that show the item from all angles. People often travel great distances and want to look at the item as closely as possible before they travel very far.
- Write an accurate ad with a fair price. Provide as many details about the item as possible. Make sure your price is reasonable and I advise against firm prices. Leave a little room in your price for negotiating as most craiglisters are looking for a deal. Be sure to post photos with your ad.
- Put your contact information in the ad. I always include my phone number and that it is OK to call or text. I don’t list my e-mail address but tell them to e-mail me through the automated craiglist system to help cut down on spam. If you don’t want to be contacted during certain hours of the day, put that in the ad. I have had texts at 3:30 a.m. but I did sell the item to that person a few days later.
- Be patient and be prepared to answer a lot of calls, texts and e-mails. Sometimes it takes several weeks before folks start to come buy items. Be sure to renew the ad every week or so and keep your ad up-to-date if items sell. Be polite and answer every question folks ask. Be prepared to give people your time. Most folks will ask questions and for some reason won’t ever come to look at the item but it only takes one person to come for a visit to get the item sold.
- Be safe. I always give a general location for my residence but I don’t give out my physical address until folks are ready to make the trip. Don’t tell folks when you will or won’t be home but give a few times that you will be available to see customers. Try not to be home alone when you have visitors but don’t be overly nervous or concerned. If you aren’t going to sleep at night because you are worried that the craigslist killer is going to come get you then craigslist is probably not for you.
- If something is too good to be true then it probably is. If you receive an e-mail asking if “the item” is still available it is probably spam. Unless a person asks specific questions about your item or names your item they are probably just going to try to get you to take an electronic payment that is above the sales price and then ask for you to send a partial refund. It is always a scam so don’t waste your time responding to those types of e-mails.
Craigslist is a great place to buy and sell items. Have fun and be safe but also be reasonable. You won’t make money as items are almost always worth less used then they were when you bought them new but you can clean out your house and barn and have a few dollars in your pocket to buy items you will actually use.