Make Money While You Move: Selling Used Furniture on Craigslist
The best time to get rid of old stuff you don’t use any more is before you move: no point in paying to haul something you don’t want, right?
For a lot of items, it’s easier to give them away then sell them. Unless you’re planning a yard sale, you’re better off donating old books and clothes.
There’s one important exception: Furniture! A nice couch or dresser can be worth a few bucks. If you can make a sale, you’ll not only get a little extra cash, but you’ll also get somebody else to haul it away!
Craigslist is one of your best options for selling your used furniture, but it’s also a little intimidating if you haven’t used it before. College Muscle Movers have a few tips to help you find a buyer quickly and safely.
1. Presentation Matters
If you want to get plenty of responses and sell at a decent price, you need to spend a little time on your ad.
First off, write a detailed description. List the size of the piece, mention any flaws like stains (or say it’s in perfect condition if it is!), and mention any brands that buyers might recognize.
If you’re creative, think of a few other details you can explain to entice buyers and make you as a seller seem like an approachable person. For example, are you selling the comfiest couch you’ve ever sat on? Say so!
Then take a few pictures. Be sure to clean the furniture and choose flattering and useful angles first. You can only put a couple of pictures up with your ad, but you may find that buyers will ask for more, so go ahead and take a few extra to send them.
2. Price To Move
Pricing can be a challenge. It’s amazing what ten dollars more or less can mean for making that sale.
A good rule of thumb is to honestly assess what the LEAST you’re willing to accept would be, and then set the price just a bit higher—say, an extra 10% or so. This means you’ll get a price you’re comfortable with, and if you need to negotiate, you can easily drop the price to sweeten the deal.
If you’re not getting any e-mails, it’s probably because you need to adjust your listing to a lower price. But if you’re getting some bites, you can surprise an interested buyer on the spot if they’ve come to take a look and are still on the fence.
3. Staying Safe
The one major downside about using Craigslist is that you never know who’s going to answer. The sad fact is that creeps and scammers are out there. But the good news is they’re not that hard to avoid if you follow a few rules—and most of the folks you’ll talk to will be pleasant people just like you who want to make an honest deal.
Craigslist will encourage you to list your ad using your e-mail address, but it will be screened so that buyers can contact you without ever knowing your real address. Make use of this service, there’s no need to list your real e-mail or phone number for a crowd of strangers.
Don’t be afraid to screen your responses. Trust your instincts. If you feel like somebody is asking strange questions or anything they say makes you uncomfortable, don’t even respond—just wait for another buyer. Once you’ve find a buyer you think you can trust, that’s a good time to give them a phone number and have a quick conversation to make sure you both feel comfortable meeting each other.
You’re usually going to have to meet in person—it’s not a good idea to make an arrangement to ship items. That might worry you. You’ve got a few options if that’s the case: you can arrange to meet in public first, or you can arrange to have another friend present for the meetup. You can also bring your furniture out to your garage so that you don’t ever have to let the stranger in your house.
Finally, never accept anything except cash. No checks, no wire transfers, none of that. The only exception might be if you’ve agreed to trade items for some reason.
Good luck, and make some money out there! And for all that bulky furniture you still want to hold onto, just give the College Muscle Movers a call and we’ll take care of it!