Have you ever bought or sold anything on Craigslist? If you've never visited this website you need to check it out today! WWW.Craigslist.com is a wonderful marketplace website and if you're redecorating, decluttering, or listing your house for sale (in that case you may NEED to be redecorating and you DEFINITELY need to be decluttering) this is the place for you. Of course I always head for the Furniture and Household listings first. I've had some success with selling furniture here so I thought I would share my tips with you.
It all began innocently enough when there were two red toile, slipcovered chairs in my loft that just didn't fit in. I decided to post them on Craigslist and they sold right away. I then took that money and found a used buffet that I wanted. It's the ultimate in recycling. Green decorating! Well, I was addicted at that point and have sold many other things on the list since then. Right now I'm in the process of liquidating a lot of lawn furniture because I found a new set that I want. It's the all weather wicker in dark brown with really pretty sage green, all-weather cushions and there's only one set left and it will look perfect on my deck and....Well, I'm motivated!
So before I ramble on any further, here are my tips.
1. Take pictures. You MUST have at least one good picture of the item for sale. So if you don't have a digital camera, borrow one! I usually post at least two pictures. Pay attention to your background. Don't have a lot of other stuff going on behind the item. If there is a pattern to the print or a fancy wood leg or something, take a close up of that also. The more you can show, the better. Make sure there is enough light on the piece. However, don't have your camera on the best setting or Craigslist won't be able to download it. Learned this the hard way and had to take all of my pictures over again.
2. Know your prices and price it right. I usually have a general idea of what something similar would cost new and then discount it depending on how much wear it has and on how badly I want to get rid of it. It's a lot like real estate. You are trying to appeal to the largest amount of buyers. It really doesn't matter that the table you're selling was on the Mayflower and has been passed down for generations. Personally, I think that Craigslist is the wrong forum for that kind of sale. Check out an Auction house or Antique dealer if you think that your piece is quite valuable. This is a very specific buyer that wants to purchase an Antique and I'm not sure they're going to be searching on Craigslist!
3. Post a great description. This area is crucial. For example, with the Toile chairs I made sure to describe them as slipcovered. I also mentioned that they were a smaller size perfect for a bedroom or a smaller living room. I don't usually include measurements but I have had interested buyers call me and ask for them. So give enough detail without getting to wordy. I have an ad right now for a Wrought Iron Patio Set and it goes like this;
Wrought Iron Patio Set $65.
Love seat and 2 chairs made of Wrought iron with a lot of scrolly detail. Comes with 1 cushion, need cushions for the other 2. Beautiful on a patio, deck, sunroom, or even indoors (would be really cute in a breakfast area!) Throw pillows shown aren't included but the 1 large cushion is. My phone number.
I usually include my phone number as well as my email address but this is your choice. Transactions tend to happen faster when someone can just pick up the phone and call you. That being said, I have two email inquiries right now about a couple of my items for sale! In my opinion, the more contact information the better. However, I would never include my address or other specifics in the ad.
You might be wondering, "Why do you have the throw pillows in the picture if you aren't including them in the sale?"
Great question! I ALWAYS stage my furniture for the pictures. I don't always include something that isn't for sale. As a matter of fact, I rarely do that because it could be frustrating to a buyer that also wants to purchase that awesome end table that you put next to the chairs for sale but you're not about to part with it because YOU just scored it on Craigslist two days ago! Well, you get the idea. My point is that I always put the piece of furniture in an optimum setting, with enough light on the subject. I see dark photos posted all of the time and who the heck can tell what it looks like from that? Anyway, I put the pillows on the patio furniture so the potential buyer could envision how pretty it would be once they put cushions on it. Just as in Home staging, you have to lead the buyer's imagination into the possibilities. If you are having a hard time with this, leave me a comment and maybe I can help you out!
So that is really it. 1,2,3 and it's sold! There have been items that I've posted that haven't sold. Usually it's been smaller things like a lamp or a plant stand or something. But that's ok, I usually just reserve those for my annual Garage sale, give them away to a friend, or donate them. In my experience on Craigslist, furniture seems to fly out the door if you follow my tips above. If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment. Happy selling and buying! Hope this helps.
Labels: How to sell furniture on Craigslist, Selling on Craigslist