I will soon list my house for sale and I’m in the seemingly never-ending phase of clutter-reduction.
Why do I have so much stuff? It’s not entirely my fault. My soon-to-be-ex had a penchant for “collecting” and I have an problem with purging. Truthfully, I should have begun this process years ago, but here we are.
I had heard all kinds of horror stories about Craigslist: getting ripped off or robbed or – even worse – killed! So, I’ve been reluctant to sell off my unwanted items.
But here in the age of shiny, new apps I’ve stumbled upon what looked like a kinder, cleaned-up version of Craigslist. These apps go by clever names like OfferUp, Close5, LetGo, and Wallapop (whatever that means). Some of these apps are downright adorable. Also, helpful! They provide tips and tricks for selling your goods. However, be wary of cuteness. What you’re seeing is really Craigslist Lite. If you want to make some money selling your stuff, here’s what you need to know:
- Items for sale are shown based on proximity to your current location, and that’s quite handy if you are a buyer and don’t want to drive an hour to pick up somebody’s old lamp for $20. But if you thought you’d be selling to your neighbors – people you know and trust – you’d be sorely mistaken. The same people who shop on Craigslist are shopping on these apps.
- You won’t be able to reach as many people as you can on Craigslist, and that hurts you as a seller when you’re trying to unload your goods. OfferUp has been around the longest and longevity seems to be directly correlated with number of users. If you are a buyer, you’ll be disappointed to see that some of the newer apps haven’t yet caught up with the sellers in your community. If you want that decorative ceramic owl, you may have to travel further than you think to get it.
- Just like on Craigslist, prospective buyers are going to low-ball you. I was surprised to learn that people have no shame in offering half the price of what you’ve listed. My advice is to list high, which seems counterintuitive when you’re looking to liquidate. Don’t feel funny about pricing something for more than you think it’s worth; if somebody wants what you own he or she will throw their own number at you based on your posted price. They won’t judge you for price inflation, and who cares if they do?
- Be prepared for buyers who just don’t show up. I lost track of how often this happened to me. We had conversations, and set dates, and yet I still waited at home for people who apparently had no qualms about wasting my time. A related tip: don’t mark an item as sold until you have cash in hand.
- Now for something positive: It’s nice to be able to get notifications on your phone when someone makes an offer. Also, it’s very easy to sign up, take photos and list. Despite my grumblings, I have sold a handful of items, and I’m relieved to be rid of some of the clutter. And the people who have shown up and paid have been nice and courteous and darn-good customers. You can rate your buyers on the app, and they’ll typically return the favor when you hand out a lot of stars. I don’t know if it matters whether or not you have a high seller-rating, but I’m sure it doesn’t hurt.
So, go forth and sell! Just know that you’ll probably reach more eyeballs on Craigslist, and you need eyeballs to make money. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. I suppose the apps are likely more useful if you’re a buyer. I’ll remember that when I move into my new home and realize I need to replace all of the stuff I’ve sold.