How to Safely Sell Your High Dollar Items on Craigslist

Finance Self Sustainability

(Originally posted in 2016)

As I recently sold my tiny house, I realized how difficult the process of selling a (relatively) expensive item on Craigslist can be. What I expected to take a couple of weeks, lasted almost two months! Here are some pointers I learned the hard way.

Use the right sections of Craigslist (and cross post!)

One of the perks of selling something high dollar, is the fact that people will be more willing to drive further distances for the product. When you post to Craigslist, don’t just use the nearest city, post it to 5 or 6 major cities. Even if this puts some of these cities at 400 miles, that’s okay! You’ll more than likely get hits, and, if people are willing to drive that distance, they’re going to be serious about buying.

Where to post the Ad: 

If you’re really serious about selling your item, consider going beyond Craigslist. Look for specific listing websites (“” for example). Also, depending on what time of item you’re trying to sell, use Facebook Buy, Sell Trade pages. Use caution when using these however, if you’re selling an “interesting” item, you’ll get lots of attention, but it may not be the right kind of attention. In my case, I had a large number of people who wanted to come *look* at the tiny house, but had absolutely no intentions of actually buying it. This also means you’ll run into people who set up times to come look at the item, but then may not even show up, or worse yet, show up, waste about 3 hours of your time, and then never call again.

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How to price your item:

Always post your item for its worth, and then add a minimum of 10% to that. You can make a profit, or at least get your money back out of this way. People will haggle for a lower price, so let them talk you down to the original price you wanted anyways! It lets them feel like they saved themselves some cash, and it lets you sell your item for what it should sell for. Not only this, but potential buyers may be afraid of really cheap prices out of fear of getting stuck with an inferior item. Do not tell your buyer what you actually paid for the item! Even if you are selling it for less than you paid, they may feel like something is wrong with it for you to drop the price like that.

How to post the ad:

If you’re like me, you’ll be wanting to post every last detail about it you can- don’t! Post the bare minimum, this draws in attention, and usually, people only want to read about a paragraph or so. Keep it to 7 sentences or less. Then, do yourself the favor of typing out all the details & keeping them in the ‘notes’ in your phone. Any new question you get, type the answer in your notes as well. You’ll thank yourself later when you get the same question over & over, because now, you just copy & paste it.

What’s the bare minimum of details to post in your ad?

It depends on your item, but generally you should post no more than 7-8 sentences and 7-8 pictures as the maximum. In your description, post the price, the size, brand/make/model, the year, and its very basic/main functions. You might want to add the reason why you’re selling it. That’s it. Especially if you’re selling something that has lots of details (like a tiny house), don’t list how many windows it has, what brand your shingles are, if the doors are locking, etc.. Let them come to you about it, and make them do some of the work.

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How do I meet an interested person?

If it’s something like a vehicle you’re trying to sell, I’d meet them in a public place such as a large, but busy parking lot, such as a local Walmart. If it’s not (like a large piece of furniture, equipment, a camper, a tiny house, etc..) then meet them in a public place, and have them follow you to your location. Always tell a friend or family member when you’ll be meeting, so that they can check on you! If you’re uncomfortable still, bring along a friend. If you typically carry a weapon for protection, it’s okay to bring it, just make sure you conceal it. You don’t want to make your buyer feel unsafe or threatened- this is nerve wracking for them too!
Don’t get discouraged when your item doesn’t sell immediately! 

How to deal with your potential buyer:

Let him or her inspect the product without saying much. This lets them explore it without feeling pressured or like you’re trying to hide something. Answer their questions, but don’t talk too much. Give them the bare minimum. Pretend you don’t care if the item sells or not. If a buyer senses you need the money, they’ll try to get you to drop your price, or they won’t take you seriously.

The Transaction:

Make sure you do your transaction in a public place or with a neutral 3rd person to watch. Have a bill of sale and the title ready, and exchange it as soon as you get your cash. You can do checks, but that can be extremely risky if they bounce. Cashier’s checks are your best route. If you have to have a contract, contact me for a copy of mine I used & I’ll email it to you.
Good luck selling! What have you learned when selling high dollar & large items on Craigslist or online? Comment below! As always, thanks for reading!

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