Craigslist can be a scary place, a waste of time and a headache. However, when you do score an awesome deal or make bank on a sale, you can’t help but brag to your friends and sing the praises of Craigslist. Cleaning out, downsizing and getting rid of any extras are common occurrences before moving. In a similar fashion, you may find the need for more furniture to fill-up a new, larger home or perhaps, you are ready to upgrade some of your appliances after moving. During a move Craigslist has the potential to be an incredibly useful too. For your edification, here is the Square Cow guide to Craigslist.
Always proceed with caution, Craigslist is rife with scammers, spammers, crooks, you-name-it, etc. One of the first steps would be setting up a separate email account. You will have the option to anonymize your email address on Craigslist, which we recommend doing anyway, but a separate email address will be a boon to you whether buying or selling. Anytime you post anything on Craigslist, you will probably receive a bunch of vague spam emails asking if “your item” is still available. You don’t want all of this junk filling up your regular email inbox. Additionally, when filling out your separate email address avoid using your full name, just your initials would be sufficient. You want to avoid giving out as much personal information as possible: full name, address, phone number, etc. At some point giving out your phone number may be necessary to facilitate a transaction. It is always good to be vague at first so as to make sure you are interacting with a real person and not a bot or spammer.
Try to include as much information as possible when listing something to sell on Craigslist. Photographs are a must! Be upfront about any scratches or defects, this will save both you and potential buyers time. We recommend asking for cash only, there are too many stories with bad endings involving checks. Any paying in advance or shipping of objects are usually scammers, run away if these are mentioned. State up front that the price is firm, cash only and that you will remove the posting once the item is sold. Even if you post these requirements, people will still probably send you tons of emails asking if the item is still available and trying to bargain with lower offers. Some people enjoy the practice of haggling, but it can be never-ending on Craigslist. At some point a person offering to pay $15 for your coffee table and asking “oh by-the-way can you meet in Buda” just isn’t worth it!
This brings us to our next point, price accordingly! Do some research check out Craigslist and see what comparable items are price at. You can’t expect to recoup 90% of what that camera cost you, even if it is a nice camera. A good rule of thumb is to price an item 50% or lower, if you want to sale something quickly. On the same note if you are looking to buy something for the right price, you have got to be quick about it! Check daily for that grill and if you find the perfect one, make time in your day to check it out. The good things and good deals on Craigslist go fast.
You may want to provide more specifics about what area of the city you are located in. Don’t give out your address, but a general area such as North or South Austin is appropriate. You or a potential buyer may be willing to drive further to check out a valuable item, but generally local is better. Remember the buyer asking to meet in Buda? Trust us, listing a slightly specific location is better for all parties involved.
The best possible solution would be meeting in a public place, such as a local shopping center. If you are buying or selling a smaller item, meeting in a public space is an appropriate and feasible strategy. Nevertheless, if you are buying or selling a piece of furniture or an appliance you may not be able to avoid going into someone’s home or having someone come to your home. Never go to someone’s house alone or have someone come to your house when you are alone, ALWAYS have someone with you when embarking on a Craigslist transaction!
For many people Craigslist isn’t worth the risk, uncertainties and time involved. Although if you want to put in some time there is money to be made and treasures to be found on the wonderful and crazy world that is Craigslist.