Money To Live

August 12, 2008

Selling on Craigslist

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am
Tags: ,

As a graduation present to myself, I bought a 17″ MacBook Pro on the condition that I get a 25% discount (thank you to my friend who works at Apple!) and that I sell the 2 computers I already own — a 3-year-old iBook and a 2-year-old PC.

I decided to sell the computers (and an old iPod I thought I had lost but then found) on Craigslist. Craigslist is a website that hosts free classified ads.

A bragging aside: My brother used to frequent the same coffee shop as Craig himself. Apparently Craig is a friendly guy who likes coffee.

My favorite Craigslist joke: Everyone thinks Craigslist is the “list of a guy named Craig,” but in fact Craig’s full name is “Craig Slist.”

My successful sales:

  • 2004 iBook – $450 (listed at $500)
  • 2nd generation iPod with case (but no usb cable) – $50

Still trying to sell:

  • HP Pavilion, 19″ LCD monitor, and a Hauppauge video thing (it lets you connect cable TV and record TV shows on the hard drive)
    • first listed at $600 OBO (OBO means “or best offer”)
    • lowered to $500 OBO
    • I might lower it again.

Tips for using Craigslist:

List ahead of time. Even if you are not moving for a few weeks, go ahead and list items. Buyers are frequently willing to wait if you need to keep a couch or bed for another week or two.

Don’t be intimidated. Twice, buyers have contacted me and said my price is ridiculously too high and out of line with what the item is selling for on eBay, at which point they offered less than half the asking price. In each case, I checked the going prices, and mine were reasonable. I respond politely by saying “Thank you for your interest, but I do not accept your offer.”

Watch out for scams and be careful. If anyone wants to wire you money, don’t accept it. I only accept payment in cash; twenties are preferable over hundreds. If I am home alone, I bring the item onto my porch and do not let the buyer into my home. By far, most of the people you meet will be nice and friendly, but there is no reason to risk it.

Be ready to negotiate. Plan what your absolute bottom limit is, and be flexible if you need the item to move quickly. If you are buying, always offer less than the listed price. As a rule of thumb, offer 10-20% less, but possibly more depending on the item. It annoys me when people say “Your price seems kinda high — what is the lowest you will accept?” Just make an offer.

Move on quickly. If someone says they will come at a certain time but does not show up, re-post or contact the next person who responds. When giving away a nearly-perfect spa (the motor needed a $100 repair, but an otherwise-equivalent new spa cost over $5,000), three successive people did not show up when they said they would. The fourth time was a charm.

If you are selling multiple items, open a Craigslist account. Each posting must be verified through your email account (Craigslist sends you an email, you click the link and verify the post). By opening an account, this step can be skipped.

Watch out for changing legislation. From a WSJ article Online Sellers Face New IRS Rules by Martin VAUGHAN

If you regularly sell items on online auction sites, you may find yourself on the Internal Revenue Service’s radar. Recent legislation aims to help the IRS collect more taxes from online enterprises, many of which either don’t know about their tax obligations or are ignoring them, according to the agency.

What is your favorite tip on buying or selling on Craigslist? What is the best deal you have found?

Any suggestions for me on selling the desktop?

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1 Comment »

  1. When looking for apartments or bikes or anything really, I always filter my search to only show items that include a picture.

    TIP: Take a nice, well lit picture.

    Comment by Amie — August 12, 2008 @ 3:16 pm |Reply


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