Dear Craigslist Users,
As a veteran buyer and seller on this esteemed site, may I offer some suggestions to help you move your shit. I might even help you get more money for it. I once purchased a sectional on here that my family didn’t like because it “wouldn’t hide frozen blueberry stains” and I turned around and sold it for $100 more the next day. I recently sold my 5 year old IKEA dining table and chairs–purchased for $25 at a yard sale–for $200 more than I got it for, simply by pricing it out new and including that in the listing. I also purchased a different sectional and sold it 2 years later and made $100 profit. I should probably start a business. Anyway, my advice:
1. Your HEADING needs to entice people.
Desk and chair
Mattress and box spring
Large Solid Oak Desk with Keyboard Tray–Sturdy as the Gates of Hell
Super Awesome Ikea Queen Wood Bed…with best mattress ever
The funkiest little bookcase you ever did see
Better Than Pottery Barn–Check this white wood coffee table out
Ugliest Lamp Ever. It’s hipster! It’s “ironic”! It’s a metaphor!
See, when someone is looking for, say, a desk, they know, more or less, what they are looking for.
Imagine YOU are looking for a desk. Do you want a computer desk, an office desk, a kid-sized desk, a wood desk? A huge desk, a petite one? One with a hutch? A modern one? Want drawers?
Well, SO DO THE DAMN PEOPLE YOU’RE TRYING TO SELL TO.
So put some of the key attributes in the heading. After a while, people will just stop clicking on “desk”…and they will miss your listing because of it.
2. Don’t do crazy shit in the heading. Nobody can read the headings that start with @@@@@@@ and/or are in all caps. It’s too hard on the eyes. Plus online, all caps is shouting at people, which I am planning to do some in this message SO PEOPLE WILL LISTEN. Doesn’t feel good, does it? And it’s way harder to read.
3. Make your heading interesting: funny, clever, over the top. This will get people to click. Nobody will ever ever ever buy your stuff if they don’t click your link. Just be sure you’re also descriptive.
4. If it’s a brand name that people want (Pottery Barn, Ikea, West Elm, etc.), then PUT THAT IN THE HEADING. AT MINIMUM, put it in the body of the description. Otherwise when people search, they won’t find your listing.
In the past week alone, I have come across so many IKEA Expedit bookshelves that people just say “bookself” (yes, misspelled) or “room divider” and never mention IKEA or the style. Always put that in there. People are often searching for something specific. I know 3 people looking for Expedit right now. IKEA discontinued these and they’re actually decent quality so people want them.
I just scored a pristine white 4×4 Expedit on the cheap. Why? Because the seller had spelled the name wrong so it wasn’t popping up on specific searches. I found it by scrolling through literally every furniture listing in the bay area. So spelling counts.
There are a LOT of people who think “dining” is spelled “dinning.” That or there’s one guy who has a lot of fucking tables to sell.
5. Don’t fake people out (too much). If your item is *truly* like a more famous brand, then put that in the listing. Don’t piss people off with your piece of shit coffee table that looks like it was in grandpa’s barn for 50 years getting peed on by cats by putting “just like Pottery Barn” in your description.
However. If you can link to a really similar item to show just how much it does look just like that, then go for it. Based on PB selling some seriously ugly shit that kinda does look like it might have been in a barn getting pissed on by something, you might just make some bank.
That hideous coffee table above? Sells for a freaking $1099 on PB. Maybe go check out the barn after all… Why try to sell the one in the second pic (from a current, real CL ad) for $45? PLAY THAT LIKENESS UP. In fact, the third photo (off the PB site) is even better because it shows how super cute that ugly ass table would be in the right room. Set yours up like that and take a pic!
***The Perfect Coffee Table for Your Slipcovered Sectional!
Look just like a Pottery Barn ad with this freaking cool square leather “saddle stitched” coffee table/conversation piece. Nestle this authentically weathered table, “roughly crafted after the wood and leather benches of the early 1900s used by jockeys to change their riding boots,” next to your slipcovered sectional. Add a few accents (heck, just copy the decor in the PB photo!) and amaze your friends with your design style. They will be even more impressed when you tell them you scored the darn thing for a cool $90! [see how I just doubled your $]
Perfect as seating, footrest, or oversized coffee table, it features a leather top pieced together with saddle stitching.
Hate to sell it but we just moved and it won’t fit.
You could also go total modern hipster with this thing…the possibilities are endless.***
Dammit, now I even want the thing. And I don’t even like leather. Nor am I in the market for a coffee table. But I’m thinking about the possibilities now… I am not even kidding.
6. Post a picture. Or ten.
Nobody is going to contact you without a photo. What a waste of everyone’s time. It’s too much hassle to email someone to send you a photo, so most people will not bother. They assume if you cannot upload to Craigslist, you won’t be able to attach a photo either and they do not have the time to walk your ass through it. Also, as you can search for only listings with a picture, you’re being screened out by a ton of potential buyers. You’re only reaching the idiots who don’t know how to screen you out.
If you don’t know how to take and upload a picture, ask your neighbor’s teenager to take a non-selfie for fucking once. This is the modern-day version of the neighbor kid mowing your lawn or scooping your walks. Don’t let them miss this important opportunity to help the elderly out.
7. On that note, take a DECENT picture. A dark photo of a black sofa…really? Turn on the lights, shove the clutter into a bin, wipe that thing down and make it look better than it even is. Stage that puppy (a la the PB pic above).
Nobody is gonna drive 40 miles to check out your $150 sofa if they can’t tell what it looks like from the photo. They probably aren’t going to do that for your $20 one either.
Take more than one picture too! Different angles. The more photos the better!
On that note, while it’s fine to post one photo you took from a website (IKEA etc), people want to see your item, not what it looked like new. People will think you’re hiding a piece of crap and aren’t going to bother.
8. Tell us why you’re selling it. If it’s so fucking awesome, why are YOU not keeping it? Your new mattress can be too hard for you (great! I am looking for a very firm one), you are moving, you’re remodeling, you’re getting a divorce, it was just too big for your space. Give a compelling reason that this thing is so awesome you’re sad to have to part with it. But dagnabit you just don’t have a choice.
9. Be honest about flaws. Don’t make someone drive 30 miles to see your sofa at a great price only to discover your cats shredded one arm. They’re not gonna buy it.
10. There is a space to put the dimensions. Unless you want to answer 85 emails about the dimensions, just put them in the listing. I have actually quit emailing people about this…if they can’t figure out people will want to know how big it is, then I ain’t got the time.
11. Be sure to tell us what is awesome about this piece. Does it have clean lines? Good bones? A cool paint job? Comfy as all get out? The perfect place to nap? Just the right height for game night? Would it be awesome with a fresh paint job? So cheap you won’t mind if your asshole brother pukes on it? Find something awesome to entice folks.
12. Clean it the hell UP. Nobody wants your filthy stuff. Get out a vacuum, wipe it down, take the mail off it. Do this BEFORE you take a photo. For the love of all things holy, get your shit OFF it. You will never sell a desk with a photo that shows just how awful it will look with all the wires and things that actually make it a functioning desk. Really. Stage it.
13. Careful with the word “vintage,” dammit. Just cuz it was in your grandma’s house does not mean it’s what people think of as vintage. At least let it have some charm, fergoodnesssake. And for that matter, watch it with your “mid-century modern” bullshit too. Just because something was built in 1950 (you think) does not make it mid-century modern. I can hardly even talk about “shabby chic” but that thing better be painted to cuteness within an inch of its life and look like Rachel Ashwell just dropped her kitchy earrings on it. Otherwise, it’s just…shabby.
14. Price well, depending on how quickly you want to sell. If you really need it gone, don’t overprice. If you have time to sell, say “I just posted this and will lower the price if it doesn’t sell by Thursday.” Not in the listing but if someone emails asking. This keeps them interested and you still get a chance to sell it for a higher price.
15. WHY are you selling box springs? You really need to consider giving them away. Almost nobody needs one (new beds come with them) and many people just use platform beds. You want those things gone.
For that matter, why are you selling stuff on CL for $5??? Do you really want to deal with a bunch of people–who could be ax murderers–just to get rid of a “stack of lampshades”?? Are you that hard up? Have a yard sale! Donate them! Have a lemonade stand. It’s a well known fact that ax murderers hate lemonade, so your safety is assured. Or put them for free on Marketplace.
Finally, why do you insist on not splitting up two night stands or matching chairs? They aren’t orphaned siblings. If someone wants one, sell it!
15. Once you do sell it, find that handy email CL sent you to post in the first place and DELETE THAT MOTHERFUCKER. Why oh why do you want to answer emails saying “it’s sold”? Take it down.
16. Don’t use profanity in your listing.