Craigslist Tips

Gone are the days of brick-and-mortar store fronts being the sole source of consumer goods. eBay, Amazon and Craigslist are popular options but it amazes me how some of my friends don’t consider Craigslist. It potentially gives you the best value if you’re willing. Here are some tips after years of it being my number one shopping/selling option.

Buying Tips:

1. Create a separate email just for Craigslist. Though it’s usually easy to discern a real seller from a fake one (if it’s too good to be true, it is) play it safe and save yourself the hassle from having your email compromised. My email was and my contact list was spammed. Embarrassing.

2. Stand out. When I sell, I constantly get emails asking “is it still available” or ” would you take ____?” Either I think it’s spam, a paypal scam, or not worth it to negotiate with a low baller. A simple “I’m ready to buy and work in [insert City], Thank You,” usually elicits the most responses.

3. Do your research. Know what the products flaws or failures are so you know what to look for and how to grade condition. Buying a DSLR?….ask for shutter actuations and see how worn out the camera strap is. Buying a lens?…look for scratches, fungus or mold and check the electronic connectors. Buying a Macbook?…check the battery cycle count, question the source of all blemishes, bring a usb drive to make sure all the ports work, test all keys, use the Apple Hardware Diagnostic, run iStat, and ask what services its had. If it’s a good product they should have no problem allowing this to happen.

4. Negotiate in person. It’s easier and more convenient to say no over email or phone. If I reach out to someone via Craigslist, it’s probably a good deal already, I’ll make it a great deal when I meet with them.

5. Don’t lowball. Yes negotiate in person, but let’s not waste anyones time. What goes around comes around. I’ll usually ask if they can do roughly 10% lower than they are asking and in the long run that adds up. I don’t lie, I don’t give a reason, I just ask and wait for their response. I will have the cash -10% conveniently bundled together should they accept when I ask. If they insist on a reason then you’ve done your research and there are plenty of legitimate reasons to ask for a lower price. I’ve even asked for sellers to cover the gas or bridge toll it cost to meet. 7 out of 10 times they’ll accept my original offer no questions asked.

6. Don’t buy anything else. Resist the temptation to buy anything else they offer. Unlike Amazon, you can’t turn buyer’s remorse into a return.

Selling Tips:

1. If you haven’t done so, create an email just for Craigslist.

2. Save yourself some trouble and make it clear in your ad that you will not respond to PayPal request or generic “is it still available?” questions. They are scams 95% of the time. These obnoxious email were drastically cut when I stated it in my ad.

3. Be honest and point out all your items flaws up front.

4. Provide as much information as possible in short lists that will drive the reader towards the bottom of the page where the pictures are. There are plenty of impulse buyers out there just need a reason to pull the trigger. Give them that reason.

5. Hi def pictures are nice but don’t make them look like stock photos. The photo should clearly show your a real person that owns the item. I wanted to sell my iPod Touch. I created two ads. One I took with a DSLR, setup the shoot with a couple flashes and a white box, even took it into CS5. The second I snapped with my iPhone with the iPod on my bed. Guess which one garnered more inquiries? Yup, the bed photo.

6. Create multiple ads. If it’s important to me to sell something, I’ll create ads with different photos, titles and keywords and I’ll post them in neighboring cities. The more eyeballs, the greater the chances I have of selling.

7. Create package deals. I find more success when I add other items to create value. I had trouble selling a Sony DSLR for $300. Old Minolta Lenses are compatible. I found someone selling an old film Minolta with 2 lenses and a travel bag for $40. I bought it, packaged it with my compatible Sony DSLR and sold it for $340 a couple weeks later.

8. Refresh your ad as often as allowed.

9. Be flexible with your price. I’d rather sell now than hold onto something hoping to squeeze an extra $10 tomorrow.

10. Always meet at a public place. I’ve walked into shady places and had shady people come into my home. Unless your selling a TV meet at a Starbucks and at the very least have a friend over.

You’ll win some and lose some. I once sold a tripod for $20 not knowing this brand of fluid head was highly sought after and carried a value of $70. I turned 3 old laptops into a MacBook. The both of us didn’t know it had an internal 512gb solid state drive which was an additional $1000 from Apple. I sold that a year later and was able to get the new Macbook Pro Retina.

Good Luck!

 

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