Whether you have a few things at home you’d like to get the best price for or you want to start selling products online for extra income, there are specific things you should do and things you should NOT do.
My sister is the expert at selling her stuff from home. She acquired furniture from our family home after our parents passed away. Some of it fit well with her style, others she kept because there were so many memories, but some of it was just too much and it had to go.
Over the past several years she’s sold many things, from furniture to ceramic figures, books to appliances. Between the two of us, we’ve discovered quite a bit about being sure our “stuff” sold and that we got the best fair price we could.
The first step is to figure out what it is you want to sell. Are you purging your home? Downsizing? Want to make room for something new?
Whatever your reason there are probably a few things in your home you could sell. There are different steps you’ll want to take if you want to begin selling products consistently, but we’ll cover that another time.
- Set aside between one and four things you want to sell. If this isn’t your first time you might want to set aside a few more. Don’t get overwhelmed if you have what feels like hundreds of things. Start with one to four and keep moving forward.
Consider all things fair game. If you bought it, then the likelihood is that someone would too. Children’s toys, clothing, furniture, electronics, books, video games, collectibles, appliances (large and small), crafts, information and art. I needed a new oven for a small space in my last home. New it would have been $2500.00 because of the unique size but I got one used for only two years off of Craigslist for $500.00. He got rid of an oven he thought he’d have to scrap (who had an oven that small anymore?) and I got a gem and a steal!
- Spend time researching what you’re selling . . . how much it’s selling for on several sites, and what the real value is (if there is one), what descriptions and what pictures appear to be getting the best prices. From this research, determine the price you will start with and what’s the lowest price you’ll accept.
- Take a GREAT picture of what you’re selling. Be sure that the lighting is right, the picture is clear and showcases the item in the best light. You don’t need a great camera – the one on your phone will do just fine. Do NOT make any artistic changes to the image or take it at an ‘artsy’ angle.
- Be sure the photo shows any damage or problems with the item. Your goal is to BOTH sell the item and get a great review on the sale. This encourages more buyers on your next items.
- Write a description that includes:
What the item is
How the new user might use it – great for a gift? Nice on the mantel? Speakers work well on the patio?
Any imperfections or problems with the item
- Choose the sites you want to use. Be sure that if you are posting on multiple sites it isn’t against the terms of service. There’s a list of sites below.
- Write the total ad including the description of the item. The ad and the picture are the two most important items to getting your item sold quickly and the best price possible. The best way to write the best ad is to read the ones for similar to same items that have sold for the best price. This is easily done on ebay but more difficult on other sites.
- If you can add something to the item to sweeten the deal or increase the perception that the individual is getting a better deal, you’ll find your item sells more quickly. If you’re selling a camera, maybe you have an extra case. If you’re selling a couch, you could include the pillows.
- On some sites you’ll set your price and on others, like eBay, you’ll list a starting price for an auction. However you list, leave room for negotiating. You’ll likely not get your top price, but when there’s room to negotiate, you’ll probably get a good price.
- Your ad may sit for a month or two, so don’t get discouraged. You’re waiting for the right person to see the right ad (yours!). Have patience.
Next Question is Where do You Sell?
You’ll choose sites to sell your stuff based on what you’re selling. Here are some of the top sites and what you can sell.
ExchangeMyPhone (http://www.exchangemyphone.com/): You can recycle your old phone and possibly get some money back in the process. Even if you think NO ONE would want your phone, try this site.
Swappa (https://swappa.com/): Great place to sell a used phone that is in good working order.
Gazelle (https://www.gazelle.com/): Another site to buy and sell used phones.
eBay (http://www.ebay.com/): The mother of all auction sites, you can sell just about anything on eBay, including large items for local pick up. Set up an account and use the advanced search function to see sold items for great descriptions (choose the items that sold well) and what pictures worked best.
Craigslist (https://craigslist.org/): This is a local site available across the world. You can sell just about anything and everything, but it’s all by pickup. Please read the precaution area below.
Facebook (http://facebook.com): More than just a social site, you can find pages for local “garage sales” where you can list your items. If there are more than one page in your area, you often have the ability to cross post.
Locanto (http://www.locanto.com/): Classified ad site, much like Craigslist.
Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/): Sell craft items or anything you’ve designed.
Amazon (http://amazon.com): You know Amazon for books or other household items that are sold in bulk. But, did you know you can list single items on Amazon? They must be in excellent or new condition. List them on the site and ship them from home.
Poshmark (https://poshmark.com/): Do you have brand name clothes you’d like to sell? This is the site to buy or sell from.
EcoATM (https://www.ecoatm.com/): This isn’t really a “site” but rather a group of kiosks around the world. You place your tablet, phone or MP3 player in the kiosk. Your device is evaluated and the computer determines if they can sell it. They quote you a price. If you like it then you get cash on the spot.
Selling your ‘stuff’ online can be one of the safest ways to get rid of your products, IF you’re mailing them. However, much of what you want to get rid of might be too big to mail and you’ll have to meet your buyers.
In all cases you have to take precautions to stay safe. Here are a few tips you should always follow . . .
- Never meet people at your home. Instead, arrange to meet in a public place.
- Of course, if you’re selling a couch it might not be possible to cart it to a meeting place! Instead, you’ll want to have someone else at your home when a stranger comes to pick up the furniture or appliance. You may feel funny or mistrusting, but it is the best thing to do to protect yourself and your children. There are too many people who prey on women selling from their home. You don’t want to expose your children to that danger and you don’t want to become a statistic!
- Don’t use your personal email or phone number when you’re communicating with buyers. Instead, set up a Google account without identifying information. You can forward a Google Voice number to your cell phone and the person you’re communicating with will never have your personal deets.
- Let someone know that you’re meeting to sell your stuff. Be sure they know when, where, with whom and when you’ll be done.
- ALWAYS meet during the day and at a public place.
- Get paid in cash or a money order.
Although you must take precautions, selling your stuff can be fun and provide you with a little extra money you didn’t anticipate. I recently found a home study course on my shelves that was unopened. I’d totally forgotten it was there. When I looked on eBay I found I can probably get $40.00. Nice little bit of cash for a short amount of ‘work.’