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I once prepared a point list for a client that was thinking of selling a couple of matching chairs on Craigslist (or elsewhere).  Most of the points are still valid, so I repeat them below:

1.  Think about getting a special additional e-mail address from Comcast/Verizon or gmail which can be closed after the sale.

2.  Register on Craigslist.

3.  Post Photos: Up to 4, may be “staged”.  Staged photos, aside from making it look more attractive, also show “scale”.  This avoids wasting time with people who see it and think it’s “too large”  or “too small” for them.

4.  Create a good Description

     Get ‘em with a good title:  Not just “chair” but “Tommy Bahama Recliner”

     Category:  Select the right one, e.g. “furniture” over “antiques” may be a more appropriate sales category. 

    See how and where on the site others list similar stuff.

Example Listing:  “Dark Gray Sofa & Loveseat in Great Condition - $400. Cotton/microfiber weave.  Selling it because we need something that seats more people, as children are visiting.  There are no noticeable stains, tears or areas of heavy wear and it comes from a clean, non-smoking home. The 2 back cushions and 2 seat cushions on each piece are removable and have zippered covers for easy cleaning.  Sofa measures  84'' long, 30'' deep and the top of the seat cushion measures 17'' from the floor.  Loveseat measures 72'' long, 30'' deep and 17'' high.”  Purchased new in 2005, only one owner. Cash only.

Don’t underestimate the importance of “non-smoker” and “purchased new, single owner”.  Also, no kids, no pets may be a plus, if it’s true.

Also add:  Please let me know if you have further questions or would like to see additional pictures.

Payment: Cash only, usually.  You don’t know your buyer.

About setting a price:  Be reasonable.  After all, it’s used.  You really just want it out of your house.  If you don’t want to haggle, say so (“this price is firm”), otherwise you’ll be negotiating.

5.  Showing and Pick Up:  Stress that THEY are responsible for moving the furniture.  If it’s too large or heavy for one person to move, say so. (“may require two strong persons to move”).  If it is too large to show in a public place (e.g. Starbucks), and you must show it at home, put it in the garage.  Don’t let anyone case your house, even in a gated community.  Always have someone else with you.  Also, always show as “first come first served, no promises”.  And state that both you and your husband/wife/friend will be available at a  certain time, so an unscrupulous purchaser won’t think you’re alone and that they may be able to take advantage of you.

No-shows:  To be expected sometimes.  Don’t despair.  You could ask for a cell number for the final purchaser, if that’s it.  You can then call them to confirm they are on the way (or not).

6.  Contact:  Use separate e-mail address (above) if you’re concerned, never include your name or phone number in the listing.  Use the Craigslist option to hide your personal e-mail address if you want to keep your own e-mail address.

7.  Some people that have had problems also say you might want to add:

-You must haul and pick-up.
-No SPAM. Spammers will be reported and blocked. No E-mail's.
-Call only if you are seriously interested. You must provide pick-up day and give your location. I will find out if you are an out-of-state person. So don't think I won't take action if you are a  scammer.

8.  Date of Listing:  Sat, then on Sun (mornings), as these are days most people can see furniture.  I think it stays on for 45 days.

9.  Relisting:  You can’t duplicate the original post, but you can change some words around, particularly in the title, and you’ll be o.k.

10.  Usually, it’s not best to combine multiple items.  Sell two chairs separately, unless they’re exactly the same, like dining room chairs, or sofa/loveseat (like above example description).

11.  Skip Certain Responses:  Responses immediately after posting, especially asking if the item is still available, misspelled words, gibberish addresses, people asking you if they can wire to pay, or pay more than the asking price are probably scammers.  Hard luck stories:  Don’t even reply, then they’ll know who you are. Also, people who go back and forth with a dialogue are either screwing with you or getting enough information to scam you.  [I know of some people who like to mess with these people, going back and forth with negotiations, changes in terms, etc.  just to drag things out and take up their time, but that’s only for your self-satisfaction.]  Beware those buyers who are eager to pay full price plus shiping, no one overpays for a product.  Don’t reply to someone who uses a non-Craigslist e-mail address, they’re probably trying to get off the site before anyone notices their fraud.  Scammers also seem to have instant knowledge about money sources when negotiating with you.  If they know the closest Western Union office, beware, no one knows this stuff that fast.  And if they direct you to a WalMart or other alternate money source, don’t fall for their choice.  And don’t use their suggested shippers, escrow agents and the like unless they are well known and take PayPal. (On a separate subject, if you reply to a high paying job that allows you to work from home with little experience requirements, the scammer is likely in the identity theft business.  These jobs usually don’t exist.  Pass on them, or your life will get worse quickly.]

12.  Remove the add after selling, otherwise you’ll continue to get annoying responses.  You can always say at the end of the ad that “this ad will be removed when the item is sold”.  And close the e-mail account if you got a special one for the sale.



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