Tips for Selling on Craigslist: Complete Guide

Craigslist Tips

In today’s consumer-focused society, we tend to accumulate plenty of possessions over the years. It’s when we move house or decide to clean up the garage that we realize how much junk we have lying around that we never use.

Ok, well – junk might be the wrong choice of words. Some of the stuff you have laying around may still be in perfect working order, but you don’t have the time to use it, or you no longer find it of any value in your life.

We can all relate to this in some form or fashion. Maybe you don’t have stuff lying around that you never use, but you bought a new 96-inch LED UHDTV on the weekend, and you don’t have any room to store your old 55-inch model.

What do you do with all your unwanted possessions? Sure, you could have a yard sale, but who’s got the time to spend a whole Saturday coordinating the sale?

Maybe you don’t have any possessions to sell, but you think that the new product you imported from China last week might be a hot seller in the United States? Selling the product online seems like an excellent approach to earn a tidy profit, but how do you start?

Whatever you’re selling, whether its products, possessions, or junk you have lying around your home – Craigslist offers a world of possibilities to sell your stuff.

We decided to put together this brief guide on how to sell items on Craigslist. You’ll find strategies that help improve the visibility and effect of your advert. Follow this step-by-step guide to selling on Craigslist and make money using this online platform.

Garage Sale Tips

Read: Tips for Yard Sales

Research and Planning for Your Craigslist Ad

Before you decide to jump into the deep end and list your ad on Craigslist, it’s a prudent idea to do some research first. If you’re trying to sell items, such as the TV we described above, the only thing that should concern you is the fact that you want to turn it into dollars in your bank account.

Unfortunately, many people are in such a rush to sell their item and earn their financial reward, that they fail to do the necessary research to position themselves to make a sale. Don’t make this mistake. Take some time to research what you’re selling before you create your listing.

With the TV example, you’ll need to execute on the following steps to ensure you have a listing that catches people’s attention and sells your TV. Craigslist is a competitive marketplace with hundreds of thousands of active users. The chances are that someone out there is selling the same model of TV as you. There may even be several of the same TV on offer on the site.

Craigslist

Rushing into your listing may result in potential buyers choosing other peoples products over yours, even though yours is in a better condition.

The first thing you need to do in creating your advert on Craigslist – is product research.

Find your product on CNET and look at the pricing for a brand new product. Copy the specifications of the product to a notepad for use later in your advert.

Log onto Amazon and look at what the product currently retails for new.

Search Craigslist for similar products to what you’re selling, in this case, it’s the TV, and take note of the lowest, highest, and average selling price.

This information arms you with the knowledge you need to advertise your product, and a what price will draw the most inquiries from prospective buyers.

How to Price Your Items

Your research should take less than half an hour, and now you have a clear indication of the price points for new and second-hand models of the TV.

With this information, it’s time to take an objective look at the condition of your TV. Is there any damage to the unit? Do you still have the original packaging? Does the remote still work – or are some of the buttons broken?

Once you determine the condition of the TV, it’s time to set your asking price. It’s vital that you price your TV competitively. While you had to pay $500 for it when it was brand new, the chances are no one’s going to offer to buy it for you at that price.

Here’s an effective pricing strategy that will ensure you TV sells. Take the highest price on Craigslist and the lowest price on offer for your TV on the site. Work out the average selling price for the TV, and then offer it at a price that’s 15-percent lower than the average selling price.

Selling it at the lowest price on offer is a mistake. Many people will think there’s something wrong with your TV and you’re trying to offload it to them in a sucker deal.  Consumers are peculiar animals, and their psychology has been the subject of extensive study by sales psychologists around the world.

Once you have your selling price secured, it’s time to consider whether you want to be firm on your pricing or use the “best offer” function on Craigslist. Should you choose the “best offer” strategy, you may have to field calls from people who are taking a chance at offering you a low-ball deal. While this strategy will bring you more leads, it also has the potential to be a pain in the neck.

The Importance of Photos

The old saying, “a picture says a thousand words,” is relevant in posting your Craigslist advert. Statistics show that people who use photos in their listings receive more than 10-times the views of products that have no picture. Simply put, if you’re not using images, you’re leaving money on the table.

Craigslist allows you to upload photos for your listing, and we suggest using 4-photos for your TV. Take one photo of the TV in its entirety, then take another three pictures of close-ups, such as the screen, the remote, and any damage – leaving your buyer to discover it when they come to view the item may wind up with you losing the sale.

Make sure that you clean the TV thoroughly before taking the pictures. Use a whiter background to make your photo pop, and always take your photos in natural light. Try to keep other items out of the field of view, and only include extras such as the manual, remote, and aerial in a separate photo.

Product Photo

Take 10 or 15-shots in total, and choose the best four pictures to upload for your advert.

Once you have your selling price secured, it’s time to consider whether you want to be firm on your pricing or use the “best offer” function on Craigslist. Should you choose the “best offer” strategy, you may have to field calls from people who are taking a chance at offering you a low-ball deal. While this strategy will bring you more leads, it also has the potential to be a pain in the neck.

Create a Catchy Headline

Your headline is the first thing people see when they’re searching for an item on Craigslist. While the photo of the TV may close the deal, the headline is what catches people’s attention first.

It’s critical to use keywords in your title to help the search engine find your listing while crawling for results.

Start your listing mentioning the condition of the TV, as well as the model. Something like;

“Samsung Smart TV 55-inch with remote. Mint condition – like new! Enquire now – This will sell fast!”

This headline catches the attention of prospective buyers by informing them of the model, size, and condition of the TV – all in one caption. Think of your headline as a mini-description of the TV, with a call to action that makes buyers want to click on your listing.

How to Create an Outstanding Craigslist Advert Description

Writing a good description of the TV is the icing on the cake for your advert. Most people who click the advert will have a good understanding of what they are looking at – now it’s time for the description to seal the deal.

Start your description by mentioning the make and model of the TV.

“Samsung 55-inch Smart TV for sale by owner, only 1-year old.”

Mention the condition of the TV and any damage.

“Mint condition – the screen is in perfect condition, some minor scratches on the back from the mounting panel.”

Write a short line or two on the performance of the TV.

“TV works well, excellent for watching 4K Netflix movies and Blu-ray!”

End your advert description with the specs you copied from the OEM website or CNET.

Use the description to promote your deal, and avoid time wasters.

“TV valued at $500 new – asking $350, or better deal – NO CHANCERS. You won’t find a better price for this TV in this condition!”

Technical specs. If you’re selling any electronic gadget, include the technical specs from the manufacturer’s website.

Add your contact information to the description. Most people use an email address for their contact details, but we recommend you include your cellphone number and ask people to text you for availability.

Your advert is now ready to publish! Good luck!

Extra Tips for Advertising on Craigslist

After your advert is ready to publish, we recommend that you look into these additional tips to ensure your safety during the transaction.

Use an Anonymous Email

We all understand the importance of protecting our personal information online. With horror stories of scammers and hackers stealing personal data, it’s best if you take every precaution possible to ensure no one gets your data for use in an inappropriate manner.

Craigslist offers an anonymous email function that hides your real email address during contact with buyers. Alternatively, you can set up a separate Gmail account to handle your inquiries.

Don’t Get Scammed

The biggest downfall of using Craigslist is the number of scammers trying to con you out of your TV.

The moment you list your TV; alerts are sent out to frequent shoppers looking for a TV. As a result, you may find that you receive inquiries within the first hour of your listing. Unfortunately, the majority of these initial inquiries will be scammers.

One of the most popular scams is to email you a proof of payment saying the funds will clear in your account tomorrow. The buyer then picks up the TV, and you think you made a good deal. However, the proof of payment turns out to be a photoshopped document, and you never receive the money – while the buyer makes off with your TV.

Only accept cash for the deal, and never give your bank account details or credit card information to any prospective buyer. Always arrange to meet the buyer at a public place during working hours. Never go to another person’s home, or meet after dark.

Arrange Shipping

It’s vital that you note that Craigslist is not responsible for shipping your TV to the buyer. It’s up to you to make the delivery arrangements.

We recommend that you deliver the TV if the buyer is in your local area. However, you will have to make use of a shipping company if the buyer resides too far for you to travel to their location. Before you ship the TV, make sure that the funds are showing in your bank account first

Don’t Sell Valuables on Craigslist

Craigslist is probably not the right platform to sell your antique collectible coin collection that’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Selling high-ticket items on Craigslist make you a target for scammers and fraudsters.

While Craigslist is excellent for selling the TV, take your coins to a gold dealer or specialist for valuation and sale.

Wrapping Up – Don’t Forget to Remove Your Advert

After the transaction is complete and you successfully turn your TV into dollars – it’s time to remove your advert. If you choose not to remove the ad, you can expect to receive calls or emails about the listing for a few weeks afterward.

Deactivate the advert to save yourself the frustration of telling anxious buyers that you’ve already sold the item.

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Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business. He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased reporting.


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Content on Moneycheck.com is provided for general informational purposes, and shouldn't be seen as an offer to buy or sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security, product, service or investment. The opinions expressed on this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. All our articles fact-checked by a relevant professional with expertise in that area of finance and we regularly update guides as necessary.

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