For people too lazy to organize and man a garage sale, Craigslist is a great tool. Part of our Spring cleaning binge involves selling off furniture and basically anything that's not bolted down. It's been cathartic.
I was a bit leery of using the site at first... I kinda got the impression that it was dumping grounds for crap people didn't need anymore. But then I realized, "Hey, that's what it is - a virtual garage sale!" Extremely convenient and rather profitable, in just a few weeks we have more space in our house and over a $1000 burning in our pockets. And I've just gotten started.
So, you'd think this would be easy - post a picture, set a reasonable price, describe the item accurately and presto! But I was amazed at some of the ads I've encountered. Here's a few helpful hints:
1. Post a picture. Yeah, pretty straightforward.
2. Post a picture of the item that's not covered in crap like this desk. I was amazed at the sheer number of photos with piles of clothes, garbage, wires etc surrounding the object. Also, dusting/cleaning said object is a nice touch.
3. Do some research on comparable items currently being sold. I was surprised at how low some of the items sell for but this is a virtual garage sale. Getting top dollar shouldn't be your number one priority. I look at it as a garbage pickup service that pays me!
4. Include things like "FIRM or OBO" with your asking price. I'm pretty firm on the prices that I've posted but I forgot to include that in the ads. This apparently was an open door for hagglers worldwide. I had one such phone call last night:
"Yes, the desk is $15."
"Would you consider selling it for less?"
"It's $15!!!!! By less, do you mean, FREE?"
One time, someone came to pick up our old 4 poster bed and was $20 short because her ATM ran out of money. This is a common gambit - the last minute, forced-hand haggling. Now I know better. I'll just smile and shut the door next time. "Fine lady, you've probably spent $20 in gas just driving your Chevy Suburban over here from the other side of the river. Sorry it was for naught."
5. Spellcheck/proof your ad. I guess this is a personal pet peeve of mine. What the hell is a "non pet smoking home"?
6. Don't go into the whole personal history of why you are selling said item (put that in the rants/raves section). People have included entire stories of how their spouse cheated on them and they're selling this stuff for cheap to spite them or they're currently in a gambling or shopping support group and they need to pay their bills so that their orphaned children [ed. I thought that was an especially nice touch] can eat.
7. Arranging a time to view/pick up the item. Don't say things like "No, that won't work for me, I won't be home ..." I'm super paranoid so advertising to strangers when my house will or will not be vacant is a bad idea. And if they ask for directions - "GOOGLE IT". You're obviously aware of this thing called the internet. Google it.
8. Lastly, some stuff is just too ugly to sell. Give it up.