6/7/12

How to sell furniture on Craigslist safely, quickly and effectively

In the past few years, I have sold and purchased a number of items from Craigslist, and I've certainly learned a thing or two. When used appropriately, Craigslist (or any other online marketplace for that matter) can be a wonderful source for unloading unused items OR finding items at a great discount. At it's worst, it's a breeding ground for scam artists.

Over the past 2 weekends, we have sold 5 large, unused furniture items. 4 out 5 of the items were sold less than 24 hours from being posted.

Here are some helpful hints on using Craigslist safely, effectively and unloading goods quickly.

1. Figure out what you are going to sell. If multiple items, that are not being sold together (like a bed and a sofa), create two separate listings. Clean items of dust and debris if needed. Do not make one posting for multiple items. People do not want to skim a lengthy post and photos of items they are not looking for.

2. Create a detailed description and include clear photos of the items in your listing.
If you don't have access to a decent digital camera, borrow one. Make sure that there are no items obstructing the view of the item in your photos. If you're selling a dining table for example, remove any boxes or items that may be sitting on top of it. If the item is currently sitting in your garage, clear the area in front of the item before you take pictures. Take plenty of pictures. Craigslist typically only allows 1-4 photos for each listing (depending on their size). You may be asked for additional photos, so have those ready to send.

If you are serious about selling, save yourself from replying to numerous emails about the condition, size etc. Include ALL important details in your listing. I ALWAYS include that the item comes from a non-smoking home, so if this applies to your item I would say so. Before I started doing this, I got this question a lot.

This was the listing I used for the sofa and loveseat we sold  after it was listed for 1 day.

Dark Gray Sofa & Loveseat in Great Condition $400

Charcoal gray, contemporary sofa and loveseat for sale in great condition. There are no noticeable stains, tears or areas of heavy wear and comes from a clean, non-smoking home. The 2 back cushions and 2 seat cushions on each piece are removable and have zippered covers for easy cleaning. Cash only.

Sofa measures  84'' long, 30'' deep and the top of the seat cushion measures 17'' from the floor.
Loveseat measures 72'' long, 30'' deep and 17'' high.

Please let me know if you have further questions or would like to see additional pictures.

*I included a few other sofa pics on the listing

3. Set a reasonable price. No one is going to buy a 30 year old, dated, nameless china cabinet for $1000.
I have always had the mentality that Craigslist is used to get rid of my unwanted junk. I've never thought of it as a way to make lots of money. Although the extra cash is nice, the primary goal for me when I sell an item to get it out of my home. If you think that you are going to make hundreds or even thousands from selling old crap in your basement, you will be disappointed. If you are looking to sell high-end furniture, I would suggest contacting a local furniture re-sale store or antique dealer. You will get more for your money that way.
This is an example of what NOT to do-
Skirted Table for $125 firm. *original post HERE
I would list this for $25, not $125. I would recommend they remove the faded floral fabric as well.

'Book Case that holds a lot' via
If you are selling a bookcase, hutch or cabinet, either empty the piece entirely or artfully stage it. This cluttered bookcase picture does absolutely nothing except make you think the owner is a lazy slob.

Okay, so your listing is up and running. Now what?

1. Screen responses. As a general rule, if I receive an email 30 seconds after I have posted an item asking if it's still available, I usually don't respond. Unfortunately, scammers are constantly patrolling Craigslist. If anyone responds asking to wire you money for the item, pay you more that the listed price or if their email address is gibberish like xkhilkems @gmail... do NOT respond. Do not even respond with, "I know this is a scam", because then they will have already won. They then have your personal email address and most likely your full name. I also don't bother responding if the email is filled with misspelled basic words, usually a red flag that you are dealing with someone not local and not a serious potential buyer.

2. Safety First! I always recommend meeting people at a public place, such as a grocery store parking lot or even near a police station. Have someone with you if possible. Do not get into anyone's car. If the item is too big or you are not able to meet at a public spot and they have to come to your house, move the item out to your garage. Do not allow strangers into your home. Always have someone else there with you. A big dog barking inside is also helpful:) Also, I do not include my name or phone number the listing. Craigslist offers an option to hide your personal email address, which I highly recommend doing. Because Craigslist is a public forum, anyone can see your listing.


3. Accept cash only.
 
Again, you want to protect yourself from being scammed. Also, you should have your bottom-dollar price in mind before you list an item. I have only had a few people negotiate the price surprisingly, but avoid dozens of emails back and forth by sticking to a firm price you are comfortable with.

4. List your items on Saturday morning and again Sunday morning. Weekends are usually the most flexible for people to look at furniture and to borrow/rent a truck if necessary and more people seem to browse Craigslist early on Saturday morning to plan out their weekend. If your item did not sell on the first day you posted,  select the option to refresh the listing to put it back on top of the list the next day. Because the newest listing is posted on top, a listing that is a few days old can already be far down the list and won't be as easily noticed.

5. Be flexible. If your item has been posted for a week+ and no one has contacted you about it, I would consider lowering the price and re-listing. Also, post items during the appropriate season. You will have much better luck selling unused Christmas decor in November than you will in March. This goes for patio furniture, garden tools, sporting equipment etc. Also, if you are going to be very busy one weekend and unable to meet with potential buyers, than wait to list the item until you are more available.

Coming Soon: How to Buy Furniture on Craigslist

best, S

24 comments:

  1. Anonymous6/14/2012

    Thanks so much for posting this. I've been researching how to sell furniture online and this is by far the most helpful thing I have found. It's very clear and well put together. I will definitely use your suggestions. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear! Good luck with selling:)

      Delete
    2. I have great furniture and very beautiful. Finishing and Refinishing . Hand polish , metal painting, high polish sale furniture , crackles , gold leaf , sliver leaf , gesso , stains , patio furniture . pick up & delivery.
      website: www.lalosfinshingwork.com
      Name: Lalo
      Number; (323) 422-2992
      email; lalosfinshingwork@hotmail.com

      Delete
  2. Anonymous7/26/2012

    This is great advice - I've been selling items on craigslist for 9 months so can back up what you suggest. However, I am now selling a piano and there is no way to avoid allowing strangers inside my house to test it out. It is too hot & humid here to keep a musical instrument in the garage, but I plan to move it as close to the front door as possible and notify neighbors whenever a potential buyer plans to come by. I'll also remove all computers and anything else of value from view. Another thing I do after accepting a large amount of cash is to quickly & discreetly use a counterfeit pen to test large bills. Fortunately, I've never had a buyer give me counterfeit money, but it has occurred at fundraisers where I've volunteered. Thanks for taking the time to create a helpful guide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bring up some great points. Sometime, you have to let someone inside to view an item. Making sure all valuables are tucked away and having a trusted friend/neighbor around is very smart. I will deifnitely pick up a counterfeit pen, what a great suggestion! You can never be too careful these days. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Anonymous8/31/2012

    Thanks! Helpful, clear, & concise. Ready to list some items!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post! I am planning to sell some furniture but I am a little afraid about safety issues. Hopefully it goes all well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey, thanks for the advice. I have some furniture for sale.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I sale please help .

    I have great furniture and very beautiful. Finishing and Refinishing . Hand polish , metal painting, high polish sale furniture , crackles , gold leaf , sliver leaf , gesso , stains , patio furniture . pick up & delivery.
    website: www.lalosfinshingwork.com
    Name: Lalo
    Number; (323) 422-2992
    email; lalosfinishingwork@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. What do you do if you already gave the person your name and address and later on realize its a scam, after reading this post? I'm afraid.. Please response

    ReplyDelete
  8. What do you do if you already gave the person your name and address and later on realize its a scam, after reading this post? I'm afraid.. Please response

    ReplyDelete
  9. To explore real estate business the truth with honesty are key factors and another point I want to add is use of business directories to take business man contacts and delivering a unique content in messages without disturbing the businessman.
    real estate in Charlotte North Carolina

    ReplyDelete
  10. Awesome post. Thank you for writing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm selling my queen size bed for$400 , please call now 407 2181712

      Delete
  11. Furniture is really a important element of an office and home which add style and beauty.Thanks for sharing this beautiful Furniture.

    Buy office furniture & Executive office desks

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would say the best and probably only place to sell furniture online is at Shippi.com. They take care of all of the furniture shipping so you don't have to deal with it..

    ReplyDelete
  13. I salute to the admin of this blog. I really like and I will surely recommend this blog to my friends.

    Investment Property Tips

    ReplyDelete
  14. WOW!! Very informative blog and useful article. Thanks for share this nice blog
    Real Estate Investment

    ReplyDelete
  15. how do I go about listing my items?

    ReplyDelete
  16. how do I list my items on craigs list

    ReplyDelete
  17. how do I list my items on craigs list

    ReplyDelete
  18. I noticed some usefull tips from this blog about office furniture.This is a best option for furniture at affordable price.




    Caster Wheels & Heavy Duty Swivel Casters

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you for the great post,It is really a big help.thanks for sharing nice blog best small business internet phone service

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Comments from my sweet readers make my day! You can always email me at scsa25@gmail.com if you prefer as well. love, S