The Essential Guide to Selling on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace
There are plenty of reasons you might want to sell a few of your home items. Maybe you bought a piece of furniture online that doesn’t quite fit the style of your living room. Or perhaps you’re looking to upgrade your entertainment system. Or it could be that you’re in the midst of downsizing, decluttering your house or spring cleaning and wondering how to clear up extra space. Regardless of your reasons, the things you want out of your home don’t have to end up in storage or on the curb. If they’re in good condition, you can actually make a bit of cash selling them on a trusted third-party platform. Read on to learn our top tips for selling on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, including suggestions on how to post eye-catching listings and safely make a sale.
Collect the Items That You’re Selling
First thing’s first: open up the Notes app on your phone and start jotting down the items you’re keen on decluttering from your home. You may already have a few you’d like to part with, but while you’re at it, comb through the rest of your belongings, too. You don’t have to become a complete minimalist or “Marie Kondo” your entire place, but the longer you let excess junk and unused items pile up, the less likely you are to clear them out. After you’ve written everything down, break them up into three categories: what you want to sell (i.e., what’s in good-to-perfect condition), what you want to put in storage (any seasonal or less-used essentials) and what you want to recycle or throw away.
Tips for Selling on Facebook Marketplace and Selling on Craigslist
Selling on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace isn’t as easy as posting a picture and closing a sale — there’s a strategy behind the top listings that help them gain traction and visibility. If you’re just learning how to sell on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, remember these three principles: price your items correctly, take well-lit and clear photos and include as many relevant details in your description as possible.
1. Research and Price Your Items
Whether it’s an expensive mid-century modern couch or a cheap table lamp, it’s crucial to do your research and price your items correctly. In addition to looking up the original price from the manufacturer’s site (regardless of whether or not you originally purchased the item at full value), make sure you check out the prices of similar listings on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay and other major reseller platforms. This will allow you to price your item in a lucrative, competitive way. Create a spreadsheet and jot down: (1) the lowest price you see online, (2) the highest, and (3) the going retail price of a brand-new product.
Afterward, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- How new is my item? (When was it manufactured, and has it declined in value or increased in value since?)
- Is there any damage to my item? If so, are the damages small, medium, or severe? Is the function and/or aesthetics impacted, and how greatly? Are any pieces/extras (such as cords) missing?
Depending on your answers to the questions above, you’ll want to set your asking price closer to the “low” range or “high” range you noted in your spreadsheet. In general, price slightly higher than you expect to sell it for — on Facebook Marketplace, there’s a “make offer” button that allows buyers to negotiate. If you’re okay with delivering the item yourself, consider adding a delivery fee and setting a maximum distance you’re willing to drive.
|Pro Tip: Add an extra fee for shipping and/or delivery. You can learn more about general pricing tips at ShipBob. Depending on the size of the item, you may be able to use flat-rate boxes, media mail or other budget-friendly shipping options!|
2. Choose the Right Platform
Not every platform is well-suited to every type of product. If you’re selling larger items — such as furniture — you may have better luck selling on Craigslist. Smaller items such as clothing, jewelry and collectibles, on the other hand, tend to fare better on Facebook Marketplace and eBay. It never hurts to list your item on multiple platforms if you’re not seeing much engagement on one.
3. Take Clear, Eye-Catching Photos
When it comes to attracting buyers, the biggest Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace tips we can offer boil down to the quality of your photos. Both platforms are a photo-stream of items for sale, meaning your pictures are the buyer’s first impression and need to grab attention from the get-go. You don’t need to have a professional photoshoot or bust out your DSLR, but make sure that your images are clear, well-lit and in-focus. If your smartphone pictures come out grainy or pixelated, ask a friend to help you take some shots.
Here are some tips for taking eye-catching photos:
- Use natural lighting where possible
- Place your items in front of a blank background like a wall, or an area with minimal clutter (you want the object for sale to be the center of attention)
- Clean your product as best you can beforehand (wiping away any dust and fingerprints, giving any wood items a quick polish)
- Take photos from multiple angles, and at different ranges (several close-ups and several full-body shots)
Remember that Facebook Marketplace allows you to have up to 10 photos per listing, and Craigslist allows up to four, so be sure to have at least three different angles. If there are any imperfections, be honest and take close-up shots. If you want to go the extra mile, use the “mark-up” feature on your phone to add a text overlay describing the imperfections, or simply add a note in the description that states that “the last (three) photos show minor imperfections/blemishes.”
4. Write a Compelling Headline and Description
To prevent unnecessary back-and-forth between you and a potential buyer — and make your listing sound legitimate — invest some time into writing a compelling headline and description. Think about how buyers would search for the item (and anticipate a few things they might want to know) before you craft your headline. Don’t worry if you’re not a copy whiz; it doesn’t need to be catchy, just clear and informative. For instance, instead of “Kardiel Nordic Couch,” consider saying, “Comfortable Black & Gray Kardiel Nordic Fusion Sofa, 83”, LIKE NEW.”
Then, in the description, include as many relevant details about the product in your post, including the condition of the item, item description and specs, and your contact information where a prospective buyer can best reach you. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive list — anywhere from two to six sentences should do the trick, and often short and sweet is better.
5. Add Search Tags
On Facebook Marketplace, you can add your products to a general “category” that helps buyers find the items they want more easily, but don’t overlook the “search tags” option. When you label your listings with relevant search tags, you’ll increase the chances of your post showing up for the right buyers. For instance, if you’re selling an antique credenza, consider adding tags such as “antique,” “credenza,” “wood,” “vintage,” etc.
Other Tips to Successfully Sell Your Items
With a few time-tested marketing tricks, you can sell your items more quickly — or more of them in a single transaction. Create a sense of urgency and scarcity by adding a deadline to your post, such as, “Must go by Monday.” The trick is not to set a deadline too close to the date the ad goes live, which might give buyers a sense that you’re in a rush to get rid of the item and more willing to accept a lowball offer. Additionally, try offering a small discount (say, 5-15 percent or free shipping) if buyers purchase a certain number of items in a single transaction.
Making the Sale Safely
Selling on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace involves a bit of fielding — many potential buyers may end up ghosting you or refusing to negotiate. But once you’ve locked down a prospect, be sure to get their full name and number to arrange pick-up or drop-off details. (You can use a free Google Voice number and a proxy email address if you don’t want to share your personal information.)
You have a few options when it comes to coordinating a safe meetup. Consider bringing a friend along to deliver the item yourself or make the exchange in a public space, like a park. If it’s more convenient for the buyer to come to you, have the item ready in your driveway or garage before they arrive and have a friend with you to help inspect the item or purchase. Always meet during the day for your own safety, and only accept cash payments. If you feel comfortable, PayPal or Venmo is acceptable, but only if they send you the money beforehand or on the spot.
After the Sale
Congratulations — you’ve sold an item on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace! Now that you’ve rehomed your item, don’t forget to remove the listing from the platform(s) it was posted on. If your buyer ended up flaking out on you for whatever reason and the item is still in your possession, simply “refresh” your listing to give it added visibility — no need to remove and repost your listing. You may already have a queue of eager buyers waiting in your DMs.