Craigslist is considered to be a virtual yard sale for anyone looking to buy, sell or seek opportunity. If you need something, there’s a pretty good chance it’s on Craigslist. Craigslist began its services back in 1995 as an email distribution list of friends in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to going web-based in 1996. Since, Craigslist has grown to be a central network of communities that features classified ads for jobs and housing, including resumes, gigs, and for sale!

Today, I will discuss buying and selling on Craigslist the right way! If you have yet to buy or sell an item or even visit the site, here’s the link and welcome aboard! I tend to search Craigslist for items such as used games, computer hardware and even car accessories in addition to selling my old computer hardware. You can follow these steps for any item you wish to buy or sell. As always, you should always beware. Conducting business over CL is at your discretion; therefore they’re not responsible for negative outcome.

Note: Depending on your search engine, the site should automatically direct you to your location via your IP location. If not, simply locate your State and City to search your nearby ads.

First and foremost, know what you are looking to buy or sell.  A little research on your item will help when buying or selling a used item to a seeker.  Putting more information your ad means you will attract serious seekers. Next step here will be to post (or search) the ad in the appropriate category within the FOR SALE category. For example, if you are searching for a used computer you will go to For Sale category then click the Computer subcategory before searching for your new “slightly used” iPad2 .

Step two is to browse around to see other similar posts and compare with other asking prices to make sure your pricing is competitive.  To give your ad that special something, try to be a bit creative on your subject heading.  Instead of typing “iPad 2 for sale” on the header, try to be more specific like “32GB iPad 2 3G with case”. This will ensure you will be seen when anyone searches for this item. By the same token, you should be just as specific when searching for an item on CL.

Next, make sure you have some decent yet real pictures to add to the post, not factory photos. Buyers like to see pictures to get an idea if the price is worth it and or if there are any blemishes.  This also makes it clear your post is not a scam.  As far as your description goes, make it detailed but be concise. No one wants to read a book about the item up for sale.

Be aware there are many scammers that wish to pay with checks and/or PayPal. This type of consumer-consumer business should be cash only, so avoid these requests whenever you receive them; unless you and the other party agree on alternative options such as a trade.

Now let’s move along. Posting isn’t as straight forward as it seems so I’ll quickly recap how to post:

  • Find the nearest city to you
  • Under FOR SALE, find the appropriate category for what you’re selling (as fore-mentioned, we select Computer or any other sub-category)
  • In the top left corner (within that category) click “Post.” This’ll bring up the form for you to use. It’s very straight-forward (posting title, price, location). Enter a short description of your item and terms (i.e., OBO, able to deliver, etc).
  • At the bottom of the page, you MUST enter you email address (it’ll send a verification email to your account). You have the choice of using an anonymous CL address (all responses will be sent through CL to you in order to keep your email private) or you can include your phone number within the post.
  • Upload pictures
  • Click “Continue,” which will take you through some further instructions before sending a verification email to your account.

Keep in mind you will not see you post right away.  Your posting will not be published until you go into your email account and accept it. Once you confirm the address, it’ll show up on CL within 15 minutes.

Once you’ve posted, don’t forget about it.  Be sure to regularly check your email – buyers frequently have questions about the goods they’re interested in buying.  Be sure to respond in a timely manner with any information the buyer is asking for.  If you are daring, you can include your phone number in the post so anyone interested in buying can reach you.

Haggling is expected but acceptable on CL as long as you haven’t said your price is firm. If you did, just ignore hagglers. If not, don’t be offended–that’s just how things work.

Some people might ask you to hold items for them. This is up to you. If you need it gone immediately, feel free to decline. But if you’re flexible, give them a time-frame (usually about 24-48 hours) before you move on to the next buyer.

Again, DO NOT accept any payment other than cash. Be suspicious of out-of-state (or foreign) buyers, as these are often scams.

Thanks for reading and feel free to add to this list!