How to Sell Your Stuff Fast on Craigslist!

I've had a lot of people ask me about my used furniture buying and selling lately - especially in regards to craigslist - and I thought that today I would share some thoughts on selling things that oh-so-handy site.  I know a lot of people out there are moving right now, and no one wants to fill the dumps with perfectly good stuff!  How do we pass along these treasures and get it done fast?  Here are my two cents... or six cents...

1. Have Pictures:  You are significantly less likely to sell anything if you don't post a picture.  Take 5min and take a nice picture.  Choose a couple of different angles that will be helpful to the buyer, use nice lighting, clean the piece, and stage the area a little.  Make the buyer feel the piece is beautiful, in good condition, and well cared for.  No one wants to buy a piece of furniture covered in garbage or barely visible.  If you're thinking, "Wait, what? Nice lighting? Staging?" you should check out the (too much) I had to say about taking pictures for online selling.

2. Be Found: This has to do with being one step ahead of your buyers.  Do you call it a couch or sofa?  Side table or end table or nightstand?  Midcentury, mid-century, or mid century?  Chair or chairS?  I would highly recommend putting a list of searchable words at the end of each Craig's List advert that you post.  List ANYTHING you can think of that would be relevant.  Remember, you don't need to re-list words you've already used in the body of your post.  Here's an example:
If I were selling this...
I would list this....
bookcase, book, case, shelf, shelving, books, shelves, white, Ikea, expedit, storage (and maybe more if I could think of things)

3. Be Specific: Being one step ahead of your potential buyers' questions will save you a lot of time in emails back and forth to find your buyer.  What you don't want: "Does it disassemble into smaller parts?"  What you want: "I'll pick it up today!"  List anything you can think people might want to know: dimensions, links to original sale price or vendor (Ikea?), disassembly options, suggestions for moving (will they need a truck?  a friend for carrying?), etc.

4. Be Honest: Glossing over imperfections may seem like the best way to find a buyer, but you're just finding the wrong buyer.  If the piece has damage you don't mention or doesn't look like the pictures you've posted, you're very likely to set up a buyer visit only to have them walk away.  If buyers know exactly what they're getting, you'll get the cash and your item sold quickly.  Build up good craigslist karma; be honest.

5. Price It Right: We all know that we should price things right if they're going to sell, but I want to give my two cents on the situation.
  • Half the original price.  You might think your item is as good as new, but it's still used (even if it's in the package).  Buyers on craigslist are not looking to pay full price.  If you're selling an unopened item, mark it down by 25-35%.  If you're selling a used item, mark it down by at least 50%.  If there is damage, mark it down even more.
  • Look at other postings.  What are other people asking for something similar?  If you want your item gone fast - price yours a little lower.
  • Ask yourself - what would I pay?  Do you think you would be getting a fair deal if you bought this? If you want to sell quick - do you think you would be getting a GREAT deal if you bought this?

6. Be Safe!!:  Don't forget everyone, even though these are awesome communities of people trying to find good homes for treasures, these are still strangers.  Don't post your address! Don't meet someone in a vulnerable area! If you get a creepy vibe - ditch them! Have a buddy know where you are and what you're doing!   Let's keep this the fun adventure that it is and all play it safe with a good dose of common sense.

Happy scavenging!!