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The Basics of Buying and Selling on Craigslist

Updated on September 30, 2012
Craigslist, the online classifieds that has nearly everything!
Craigslist, the online classifieds that has nearly everything! | Source

Craigslist is a fantastic platform for buying and selling virtually anything. This online classifieds site has been around nearly as long as the internet itself. But entering the world of the internet can be an intimidating endeavor. While Facebook allows us to know who we are talking with, Craigslist connects you with complete strangers - which can be very intimidating.

However, Craigslist is a valuable tool for anyone interested in buying or selling online. While Ebay is the more popular route, Craigslist is free. Every time that something is sold on Ebay, Ebay takes nearly 10% of the winning bid. Add the cost of shipping to this and both the buyer and the seller are losing out on this deal.

By posting and buying on Craigslist, the transaction fee and shipping charges can be eliminated. Not only that, but you can meet some amazing people from your very own community!

I first used Craigslist to sell a car that I had. Now, several years later, I have purchased a home and Craigslist has become invaluable once more (I did not purchase my house on Craigslist, though I may try to sell it that way). From tools, to a washer and dryer, to a bed, I have found items for free or far cheaper than I would have if I simply picked them up from the store.

I LOVE craigslist. You too can gain from the many benefits associated with this valuable website.

Follow these basic concepts and you will be well on your way to living the exciting and junk filled life of a Craigslist enthusiast!

Although the Craigslist World Headquarters doesn't look that impressive or safe, the website does everything it can to be both awesome and provide information to keep people safe. It's difficult to have a nice office for a free-to-use website.
Although the Craigslist World Headquarters doesn't look that impressive or safe, the website does everything it can to be both awesome and provide information to keep people safe. It's difficult to have a nice office for a free-to-use website. | Source

Safety First: Protecting Yourself on Craigslist

Before getting started on Craigslist it is important to remember that there are some bad people in the world. Although they are generally few and far between - it's often a good idea to take precautions if you feel unsure of how safe you will be in a particular situation.

To keep yourself safe, make sure that you follow some of these basic instructions when posting or purchasing on Craigslist.

  • Never post your address: You can send your address to the person who will be making the final purchase (if you feel okay with this), but do not place your address on the listing itself - this may attract too many people to your front yard.
  • Contact someone before meeting a stranger: If you are not able to have someone with you when making a purchase or sale on Craigslist, make sure that someone at least knows where you are. Keeping in contact will ensure your safety.
  • Be smart: If you are a beautiful woman who is alone at home in the woods, do not tell the guy that is purchasing your computer to come on over. Meet him at the Walmart parking lot or at the local park. Avoid placing yourself in a private location with a stranger. If a situation seems unsafe, remove yourself from it immediately.
  • To Learn more read Craigslist's Information:

In all reality, it is unlikely that you will ever run into a bad situation, but it is still a good idea to keep in mind that there are crazy people out there.

Have you ever used Craigslist?

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Benefits of Craigslist Over eBay

  • No waiting, the item can be picked up immediately.
  • No shipping charges.
  • No transaction fee.
  • Opportunity to meet the seller.

How to Buy on Craigslist

Purchasing an item on Craigslist is a lot like going to a thrift store, there is no guarantee that you will find what you are looking for, but if you do, it will be much cheaper than in other places. I have purchased furniture and tools on Craigslist. However, you can find virtually anything on there - including houses, businesses, and jobs.

If you are going to buy something on Craigslist, consider the following:

  • Items go fast: If you see something on Craigslist that is a great deal, it will likely be spoken for within a couple of hours. Contact the seller ASAP in order to ensure that you have the opportunity to get what you are looking for.
  • You will have to pick it up: It will be necessary for you to meet the seller somewhere in order to get the item. For most items you will simply go to the sellers house. Make sure that you have the transportation and the available time to make it to the seller's location.
  • Prices are flexible unless otherwise mentioned: While some people will state "firm" in the posting (meaning the price will not change), many prices are flexible. Consider offering a bit less to see if the seller will take you up on it or make a counter offer. You could save yourself a significant amount of money.
  • The seller will not always respond: Many times the seller will receive many texts, emails, or phone calls. Therefore, once the item is spoken for, she may stop responding. Do not keep hassling a seller - simply go on to the next item you are interested in.
  • Check back regularly: If there is a specific item that you are looking for, check Craigslist regularly. By checking back every several days, or even daily, you can be assured that you will not miss out on the deal that you are looking for.

It is truly incredible how many great deals can be found on Craigslist. Many people end up having extra stuff that they do not need, and simply post it on Craigslist. Consider checking this fine website the next time you need to make a purchase.

This beautiful, but well worn car, I sold on Craigslist for $2000 after realizing I would have to put about $3000 into it to make it run well. Not too bad!
This beautiful, but well worn car, I sold on Craigslist for $2000 after realizing I would have to put about $3000 into it to make it run well. Not too bad! | Source

How to Sell on Craigslist

I sold a car on Craigslist and that got me hooked. I had a beautiful BMW that, although I loved, was not running well at all. It had been a project car and I ended up spending many hours working on it. However, there were still many things wrong. I ended up posting it on Craigslist and having about 20 people contact me over just a couple of days! It was incredible. Ultimately, I ended up selling it for nearly the price that I had asked (and I was sure that I had posted it for more than it was worth).

You can make some good money selling things on Craigslist. It's amazing how badly someone may be interested in your old belongings. When selling on Craigslist keep the following in mind:

  • Ask for more than you expect to get: People love haggling on Craigslist. If someone offers to by it without haggling, than you've just made a lot more money than you anticipated! Many people will offer less than you have it posted for. Therefore, post high. If you think your car is worth $2,000. Ask $2,800. People will offer $2,000 and you can accept. Ultimately, the person making the purchase feels like they saved $800 when that was actually the price that you were wanting to get for the car.
  • Insert words in your phone number: It is possible to get your phone number picked up by some computer program. To avoid receiving spam phone calls, enter your number like: 555- five 5 five - 5555. This way only someone actually interested will be able to give you a call.
  • Take the listing down once the item is sold: No one wants to waste their time going after something that doesn't exist. If you have already sold your couch, save yourself and others time by taking the listing off of Craigslist.
  • Be honest: The people buying and selling on Craigslist are regular people, just like you. Don't try to cheat someone out of something by being dishonest. As I learned with my car, even when you are completely open about the problems with your item, people will still be interested.

Making the Most of Craigslist

Because of the great items that can be found on Craigslist, and the simple fact that the website is free, it is a website that I highly recommend that you visit. There are countless items that can be found - some junk, but some worth your time.

Get involved in your local community and start using Craigslist. Who knows what you will find or who you will meet!

Many people use Craigslist and have great, funny, or terrible stories from their experiences. If you are one of those people, share your Craigslist experience below along with any other great thoughts you have on the subject!


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    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      I am glad that it was helpful catgypsy! It is certainly a valuable tool! And I wish you the best as you continue your writing!

    • catgypsy profile image

      catgypsy 5 years ago from the South

      Thanks for a great guide on using Craigslist. I have been considering using it, but didn't quite know I do!

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      Very true Chrisin. It is sad how much it has changed. But it still has great opportunities! Wish you the best as you continue with your Craigslist endeavors!

    • profile image

      chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

      I love/hate Craigslist myself. I used to love it as a way to pick up side jobs and little gigs, but nowadays it seems like you have to have a pickup truck or be willing to pimp yourself out to make any money on Craigslist...aside from selling items, that is.

      Anyway, you gotta take the good with the bad, and there's something for everyone on Craigslist. Like you said, you just have to keep checking in on a regular basis to find what you want.

      Voted up and shared! Aloha, Robert

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      It is certainly an amazing place to make sales and purchases. I wish you the best as you keep buying and selling on this legendary platform.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 5 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      I love craigslist. There is so much on there and you will always find what you are looking for. I've got stuff on there to sell right now and I'm sure my husband will find something to buy :) Voted up and shared!