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The Fundamentals of Buying and Selling on Craigslist

Posted in: I'm Moving, Money Saving

Craigslist. We used to hear that word and automatically think of seedy transactions and random items. But we’ve since come around and now use it on a regular basis to sell stuff we no longer want, as well as to find items that are one-of-a-kind for our homes!

If you’re moving soon, Craigslist is an amazing site when it comes to paring down your stuff and getting some extra cash. Or if you’re furnishing a new place, then you can find some amazing steals and deals on there too. Basically, it should be your go-to site during any part of the moving process (along with HireAHelper of course!)

Here are some tips we’ve learned when it comes to buying and selling on Craigslist.

Tips for Buying on Craigslist

We’ve both found some amazing pieces on Craigslist for our homes. From vintage nightstands to antique sideboards, there are so many cool items we’ve added to our spaces because of this site. And all for a great deal!

Get Search Word Happy

When you’re looking for items on Craigslist, try to search for items in every which way. That means if you’re looking for a nightstand, you’ll want to check out other search terms, such as “small table”, “side table”, or “dresser.” Typing in only the literal item is certainly going to mean you’re going to miss out on more listings. And that means way less amazing finds. Also, if you’re willing to drive a little bit farther out, don’t forget to search Craigslist listings from neighboring cities. Expand your search and really dive deep into what’s available.

Cash is King

When you find an item you love, it’s totally okay to negotiate with the seller via email to decide on a fair price. Once you come up with a price that works for both parties though, we urge you to bring exact cash when you go to pick up your new prize!

Chances are the seller might not have change for you and you don’t want to end up overpaying because you didn’t think ahead to bring the exact amount. We’ve been on a lot of these expeditions and trust us: always bring exact amounts in cash.

Bring the Extra Muscle

If you’re picking up a large piece of furniture, don’t assume that the seller is going to help you load up your vehicle. Instead, plan ahead and bring some extra muscle! If you can’t get a friend to help out, you can always HireAHelper to help you load up your new piece and get it to your home safely!

Also, don’t forget about transportation. Consider booking an UberXL if your car isn’t large enough or check out the company Dolly – people lend out their trucks to help you get the item home. They’ll even give you 15% off the first time you use the app!

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

We know you’re probably super stoked to pick up your new item and bring it on home. But sometimes you can arrive at pickup and you realize that the item isn’t as amazing as you thought it might be. It’s a-okay to walk away. The seller may not be happy, but if they weren’t transparent in their listing about the condition of the piece then it’s totally okay to say “no thanks” and walk away from the sale. It’s your money, and it’s somewhat of a learned skill to be confident. We suggest always agreeing to “check out” the item, as opposed to flat out agreeing to buy the item.

Tips for Selling on Craigslist

While buying is fun, selling is even better! Who doesn’t want some extra cash in their pocket for items they no longer want? We’ve had great luck getting rid of furniture pieces on Craigslist and have made quite a bit of cash from getting rid of these unwanted goods. Want to make the most of your old stuff? Read on.

Take Very Good Photographs

Good photography is the most important part of your Craigslist post. Take the time to take multiple photos of your items (from various angles) to go on your listing. For example, if you’re selling a dresser, show some close-up shots of the drawers open, along with any details on the dresser itself. The more detailed photos the better!

If you have a DSLR camera… use it! If not, your iPhone will work just fine. Just be sure to shoot during the daytime (no night-time pics please!), so the lighting is just right. This is literally the most important part of selling, so don’t skimp out on the pictures.

Type out Detailed Descriptions

After the photos comes the descriptions. Be as detailed as possible; Include measurements, colors, retailer information, age, etc. The more information you can provide, the better. Also, don’t lie about the condition of the item. Instead, be upfront if an item has some scratches or dents, and adjust the price accordingly. The buyer will obviously find out eventually, so just be honest.

While you will want to include lots of details about the item itself, don’t include your phone number, address, or personal email in the listing. Once you’ve established communication with a potential buyer, you can then chat over the phone and start to give more of your personal information.

Manage your Inbox Like a Pro

Once you post your item up on Craigslist, get ready for a flooded inbox! The worst thing you can do is ignore your email for the 24-48 hours after posting. This is typically the time when the most action occurs. Be prompt so you don’t lose any customers and respond as soon as you can!

We hope these tips help as you move from your old place into your new! Take advantage of Craigslist to make some extra cash, and then find items that you truly love.


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