Spell things correctly! One person locally keeps trying to sell “big block Chevy disturburaters”. What? Big block disturbu-WHAT?? I guess he really isn’t interested in selling his distributors, as he has had them listed as disturburaters for over a year now… or the person who recently has been trying to sell a “full sized box and Matrix”. Does Keanu Reeves come with that Matrix? I think they meant mattress. This is also important because if someone is genuinely searching for a mattress, and they do a general search, that ad will not come up, thus risking potential lost sales.
Be honest! It is just a big waste of everyone’s time if you are misleading in your ad, because if someone actually does meet you to see it, they will see its condition and walk away empty handed, wasting both of your time.
Pet peeve: When someone lists something as “antique”, and it isn’t…. or when someone lists something as “vintage”, and it isn’t. In my opinion any furniture from the 1970s or 80s is most certainly not antique. In purist terms, and according to the U.S. Customs Service, an antique is an item with at least 100 years of age under its belt. That means that genuine Victorian pieces are now true antiques. I would say anything prior to the 1920s would be considered antique. Anything between the 1920s and the 70s would be considered vintage. Anything from the 80s to the early 2000s could be considered collectible, depending on what it is.
I read once that anything made between 1963 and 1980 is considered “collectible”. Anything between 1980 and the present is “desirable”. And anything antique, collectible, or desirable whose primary value is reuse is considered “reusable”. Within reason, these categories can be slid from one to the next. Within reason! I answered an ad today for an “antique” coffee table. Not only was it NOT antique, but it was more of a side table than an end table. If you can live with that, then…
Be Flexible! I made an offer for less than the buyer’s asking price, citing that it is smaller than I had expected. I didn’t mention the fact that it is most certainly an antique because for my purposes, it really doesn’t matter. As a seller, again depending on your motive, be flexible with a buyer. If you just want to get rid of a piece, let it go. The seller accepted my offer, and I bought it!
Don’t put a long all one paragraph description! If you are listing a yard sale, or multiple items, or whatever…. Break it up! Paragraphs are good. Even single sentences spaced out so your ad isn’t one long chunk. It gets tedious to read. Keep it short and simple.
If something doesn’t sell, don’t give up! Your Craigslist ad, unless in a major city, will expire in 45 days. If it is a bigger ticket item, I will usually repost once a week. Other ads I will relist within 30 days. You can do so by going into your account, and either clicking the “renew” tab to the left of your ad, or you may have to click “delete”, when it asks you if you are sure you want to delete the ad, click “delete” again. Then click “Repost this Posting”. You will have to go through the steps of editing your text if you want (including price if you are willing to lower it), and editing pictures if you want, but otherwise just repeat steps as above, and your ad will be bumped up to the current day.
DON’T POST YOUR LISTING IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! No reason. I just find it annoying. It’s like you are yelling at me…
Delete your ad when your item has been sold! Easy enough to do, log into Craigslist and your account. On the main page, you will see a category that reads simply: “My account”. Click this and it will show you all of your listings. Find the one you sold, and merely click “Delete” to the left of the ad header. It will bring you to your listing, and at the top, it will read: “Are you sure? Be sure you mean to delete this post.” Click “delete”, and it will be done!
Don’t hold items for anyone! I have had so many people that were interested but couldn’t pick an item up until next week. Let them know that you will not hold items for anyone, and if it sells before next week, you will email them and let them know. This is entirely up to you, faithful readers, but you might risk potential sales by holding an item for someone who may or may not follow through.
Pick-up Location: If you are not comfortable meeting someone at your home to make a sale, you can agree to meet in a public place with lots of people (provided the item is transportable). I would advise against a big open empty parking lot… the more people the better.
Delivery: I have offered to deliver items to people and sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn’t. I have had the instance of when I get the item to them it wasn’t what they expected, in which case, don’t hesitate to ask for gas money! It is whatever you are comfortable with.
Caveat: I have never had anything bad happen as a result of a Craigslist ad, but I have definitely had some seriously odd and creepy things happen. I can most definitely handle myself, but you never know. Not trying to put the fear in you, faithful readers, but there are some bizarre ducks out there, and if you are not comfortable inviting them into your home, follow your instincts.
I take a few steps of caution: I do not give out my specific address to anyone unless I know they are on their way (too many no call no shows got creepy after a while). I keep a baseball bat by the front door (no, I have never had to use it). I have met some wonderful people and repeat customers on Craigs. Sometimes it takes a thick skin to weed through junk mails and people who have nothing better to do with their time than comment on your ad, even when they aren’t even interested! If you aren’t prepared for all that, call me. I will sell your stuff for you.
Craigslist is definitely a good venue with which to show your wares -- follow some simple and easy steps and turn that unwanted clutter into cash! Have fun, meet new people, and make some money in the meantime!
Next week: How to Buy an Item On Craigslist!