Tips for selling on Craigslist

By Stew

Last week, we gave some tips for shopping on Craigslist. Today, I would like to talk about the other side of the bargain – selling.

On the whole, I think that Craigslist transactions tend to benefit the buyer to a greater degree than the seller. It just seems like if you are looking to purchase an item that you need, you are more likely to find exactly what you need for a low price on Craigslist than on Ebay or even at a rummage sale. When selling on Craigslist, there is no way to “bid up” the price, at least without taking a huge chance. The seller can turn down a buyers offer when they are standing in front of you with cash, but there is no guarantee that a larger offer is around the corner. Tough to do, the advantage is on the side of the buyer.  I used to sell quite a bit on Ebay, but I do not use it much anymore, Ebay transactions do not benefit the buyer or the seller – just Ebay.

Craigslist is a nice way to make a little extra cash and I find it to be far more convenient and effective than holding a rummage. Here are some ways to get the most out of your Craigslist sale:


Pricing is the single most critical aspect of selling on Craigslist. It takes a little bit of practice to get it just right. Too high and you run the risk that no buyers will contact you, too low and when the buyer offers 25% less, you have a tough decision to make. Furthermore, you cannot just say “list the item at 25% over value” because the demand for various items is so varied.

Post a picture

Be sure to post and accurate picture. People shop by sight and even the most detailed verbal description will not do your item justice, especially since most people will not even take the time to read the description of an item that has no picture. A picture is worth a 1,000 words . . . and maybe $50 or $100 on Craigslist.

Protect your identity

I have never had trouble interacting through the Craigslist site with potential buyers and sellers, but you should be careful about how much you reveal in the ad itself. An email address in the ad is not necessary, and if you post your phone number, you are going to get calls non-stop at the least.


If you have never spent any time on Craigslist, do not post your item until you do. There is an ebb and flow to the site. Some days are busier than others. You also want go get an idea of how similar items to yours are being listed and priced. One weakness of Craigslist is the fact that you do not know the final price of an item. You can see that most couches are listed at $500, but you have no way of knowing the final price on those items. It could be $400, it could be $150.

List similar items together

Many times the point of listing an item on Craigslist is simply to get rid of it and make a little cash. It is often smart to list similar items together. Mrs. Stew recently sold a crib and a toddler bed which she listed together and ended up selling both to the same buyer. More stuff gone with less hassle is a good thing. I am currently shopping for a computer desk and chair on Craigslist, if I find them together at the same place, I will be more likely to purchase both from that seller.

Respond to inquiries quickly

One of the nice things about Craigslist is that people can look at your items for sale while you are otherwise occupied. However, you need to make sure that you respond to buyer messages quickly. If you hesitate, you can lose a sale. Do not post an ad and then leave for a week’s vacation without a computer. If you have an item for sale, make sure you are around to show it if anyone is interested. On a related note, it does not take a long time to sell something on Craigslist. If your item has been listed for more than two days, it probably is not going to sell. You might need to re-list it in order to get the ad back to the top of the list.

Take down your listing

After the item sells. For two reasons: one, because buyers like me really hate to leave a message about an item that is already out the door and secondly, because it will keep you from having a full email inbox or voice mail box.

Happy selling!

Article by Stew

Photo by epp

9 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Tips for selling on Craigslist”

  1. barefootandmarried Says:

    Good tips! I definitely agree with the pictures! We use Craigslist all the time – I’m selling our old coffee table table on there, and we’re looking for a storage unit there.

    Definitely true that it’s best for the buyer. I can even make an offer over email, and if they turn it down, oh well, and then sometimes I’ll get an email back a little later after they haven’t been able to sell it :)

  2. twink Says:

    you might need to re-list it in order to get the ad back to the top of the list.

  3. dramon Says:

    Include measurements where it makes sense, it can save you both a lot of time. If brand and model numbers are available, include them. If the age is recent, include that as well. Include the name of the color as pictures don’t always convey color correctly. Try to anticipate questions the buyer will have and answer them.

    Include a lot of variations on words that describe your items so that more searches apply. Like fridge refrigerator, SS and Stainless steel.

    List in multiple categories that are applicable, like household, general and materials.

    Take down and repost if needed

  4. freedom journey Says:

    I have several items I’ve been thinking of posting on Craigslist and hadn’t thought of all these things. One items I have thought of before that wasn’t on the list was safety. During the day my husband is at work and I don’t feel comfortable giving out our address for people to come when he’s not home. Also, if I’m meeting someone in a public place to sell something and am by myself I make sure someone else knows where I am, and I text them as soon as the transaction is done. I do this for friends too. Better to be safe than sorry! :)

  5. Tanya Says:

    “There is an ebb and flow to the site. Some days are busier than others.”

    Could you give more information on this? What should we look for? I’ve shopped on craigslist and never noticed the ebb and flow, so help me out, please.

  6. Judy Says:

    1. Ensure you register and post ads from your registered account. Registered listings get 40% more views then anonymous postings. If you have a product that would work in multiple markets, register for each of those markets

    NOTE: How to search Craigslist multiple cities and categories:
    Use Google’s advanced search feature.
    a. To Search the whole craigslist for a specific keyword: keyword
    b. To search some specific cities: keyword

    2. Start your Craig’s List classified posting at Register for an account at Zeringo and click on Classifieds. Write your ad and use the copy feature to post it to your Craig’s List Accounts

    3. Different Ad Descriptions: You need to change the ad description each time to avoid “similar posting” error and staff deletion (popularly known as “ghosting”). Use image in the description or upload image during ad posting. Using an image increases response. With Zeringo, this is much easier as you can just copy your ad and post the new URL

    4. In order to be easily found, ensure you choose the most obvious category. Being clever or creative when choosing the category will just make the post harder to find.

    5. Pictures add a lot of value. Zeringo allows you to easily add multiple images to your posting

    6. When your product sells you will really be thankful that you used Zeringo for the posting. No longer will you continue to receive calls and inquiries after the sale. Zeringo will automatically mark the product sold so anyone who comes across your posting will quickly and easily see you accomplished your goal of selling your product

    Happy Selling and Best of Luck. Don’t forget to share your story with we like to share the good news

  7. Kristen Says:

    Another website that can help in finding a place to meet once you secure a buyer or seller is You can enter both locations and a point of interest, like a coffee shop, and find an exact halfway point to meet halfway for your Craigslist transaction.

  8. Katheleen Cianciulli Says:

    Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your website is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and simply could not come across. What a perfect site.

  9. Nicholas Says:

    I think it is important to include a phone number in your ad. Most of my Craigslist sales have come from phone calls. It is rare that I make a sale through email.