Between selling our old house and moving into our new house, I’ve sold a lot of household items, furniture, kids clothing and other random paraphernalia through online marketplaces. At the highest point, I made over $1000 in 6 months. All without leaving my house!
These are my tried-and-true tips to selling online through Facebook Marketplace and local buy/sell groups.
Take Flattering Photos
Here is an example of a real-life picture I’ve seen on a local buy/sell group. This marble-topped side table was listed for $200. Would you spend $200 on something that someone left an empty soda can on? I sure hope not!
The picture isn’t even straight!
Just like you only want flattering images of yourself on social media, only post the most flattering images of the items you’re selling too! It’s all about marketing your items to potential buyers.
- Use natural daylight as much as possible
- Place small items on a clear section of floor or countertop near a window
- Declutter/clean up behind and around
Would you rather buy this dresser? Dark, messy and covered in unrelated stuff.
Or this dresser? Light, bright, and clean.
I know we don’t like to show our flaws. But in this case, you do want to show close-ups of scratches, stains, or irregularities so a buyer has full disclosure of what they’ll be getting. A lot of times people commit to buying without seeing an item in-person first. So you want to give them all of the information necessary to make a sound purchase.
Share All Available Information
To make your sale go smoothly and require less back and forth, it’s SO helpful to include all available information in your post.
- dimensions of furniture/household items or size of clothing
- how much you’re asking
- whether the item is pickup only (include general area of town) or requires a meetup (include your preferred locations) (more on this below)
I’ve seen some very nice items posted for sale that I KNOW people would buy quickly, yet they were still available 2-3 days after they were posted. Why? They didn’t include any information! It was only a picture and maybe a price.
That requires effort on the part of potential buyers. They have to reach out and ask the size of the table or where the item is located. And it also requires more effort on your part to respond to multiple people who may not even be interested after they learn of the requested information.
Here is an example of a listing I might post for the white wicker dresser shown above:
“GUC White Wicker Dresser with Brass Campaign-Style Hardware. Originally purchased for $300. Asking $75. Has minor wear and tear and missing wicker in one place on the side, see picture. Recently painted white. 30″ wide, 30″ tall and 17″ deep. Pickup only in Midtown. Cross-posted.”
Any buyer would have the necessary information to make the purchase. And only serious buyers would then contact you about any additional, specific questions.
Online Acronyms Dictionary
When I first started out buying and selling online, I had no idea what a FPPU was. So I had to look these up! Here is your cheat sheet so you can interpret listings or use them in your own!
These are some common acronyms used in selling online:
- FPPU=front porch pickup
- PPU=porch pickup
- XP=cross-posted, or listed on multiple selling sites
- EUC=excellent used condition
- GUC=good used condition
To explain a little further, pickup usually means you pay via an app (CashApp, Venmo or PayPal) and the seller leaves it on their front porch or mailbox and you pick it up at your convenience. Personally, I will accept cash under the welcome mat at pickup. It’s obviously based on the honor system which is why some people prefer to meet up in a public location instead.
Some meetup locations examples are grocery store parking lots, fast food restaurants or even some police precincts have designated parking spaces with cameras for this purpose. Once a sale is agreed upon, they can hash out the details of when and exactly where in a private message.
Decide on Price
Coming up with a price to ask for your item can sometimes be a challenge! Particularly with Facebook Marketplace or other buy/sell groups within Facebook, you have one chance to catch the eye of potential buyers!
Because I’m aware of my own shopping habits, i.e. a tad impulsive😬, I try to cater to other people’s impulses with low prices.
Consider what you would be willing to pay for an item. Are you willing to take less? If you’re in a hurry to get stuff out of your house, list it cheap! Trust me, people might not need what you’re selling but won’t be able to pass up a good deal!😉
If you are more interested in getting some money back from a previous purchase, price it what you need to get out of it and be willing to hold onto or store the item.
A general rule of thumb is to ask half of original retail price if it has been used but is still in good, great, or excellent condition.
Timing is Everything
What time of year you are posting an item for sale can be just as important as the photos that accompany it. This is definitely true for clothing but could be extended to other items as well.
Think like a retail store. When do they start selling Christmas sweaters and decor? In October. OK, some start way earlier than that.😏 But work with me here…And when do they start marking stuff down? In December. By then the market is saturated and people are done buying Christmas outfits and decor.
So consider the time of year when you are readying stuff to sell. I’m not saying it won’t sell if it’s not seasonally appropriate. I’m saying, it will sell faster and for your asking price if it’s posted during or just prior to the season it’s meant to be used.
If it doesn’t sell within 2-3 weeks, try again! Delete your listing and start over with a new listing. It will get seen by new people. If that doesn’t work, reduce the price by a few dollars and list it again. If it still hasn’t sold, consider whether it’s out of style, still overpriced or perhaps the title could be changed to something slightly broader to be seen by more people searching for similar items.
I recently shared all of these tips for an article picked up by the Associated Press! You can read it here, if you haven’t already read it in your local newspaper!😉
That’s a lot of information! I hope it helps you eliminate clutter of unwanted things around your house and put a little money in your pocket. Feel free to share any other tips in the comments!
Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea