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Craigslist Review: How to Sell Your Stuff Safely

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Craigslist Review

craigslist logo

Craigslist is a tried and tested way to sell your unwanted items. You can sell practically anything on the platform, but there is a downside. There are many tales about scams, so you need to be wary. Essentially, Craigslist is a classified site, so you will need to deal with all the potential buyers, which includes time wasters and those who want something for nothing. So, you may prefer to use a separate cell phone number rather than using your landline, so you can respond to messages at your own convenience. However, there are little to no seller fees. So, you can list your items with no financial risk.

Rating

4.1

Legit & Safe

Service Fees

Ease of Use

Payment Process

Pros

  • Posts are anonymous
  • Quick and easy listing in a matter of minutes
  • Little to no seller fees, most auctions are free
  • Sell within your local area

Cons

  • Limited ad customization as templates are fixed
  • No support to complete the transaction

Best Sites to Sell Stuff

Swappa

Swappa logo

No fees for sellers – get paid more compared to eBay

Buyers pay no fees up $50 items. $5+ thereafter

Pay shipping fee directly to carrier

Gazelle

Gazelle logo

Sell electronics directly to Gazelle and get an offer in a minute

Get paid by Amazon gift card, PayPal or check

Regardless of the item you want to sell, there is free shipping

Decluttr

Decluttr logo

171+ million active users – no need to worry about traffic

Seller protections in place from buyers scams

Great marketing tools – only pay if you sell your item

Is Craigslist Trustworthy?


One of the most common questions asked in any Craigslist review is “Is Craigslist safe?” which is hard to answer because the onus for safety is to a large extent placed on the buyer and seller. 

It’s a good idea to think of Craigslist as an online classified ad platform and no reasonable person would expect the newspaper to take full responsibility for the conduct of advertisers and buyers. To better understand Craigslist it’s a good idea to look at how the company started and how it’s grown over the years.

Craigslist was started back in 1995 by Craig Newmark and he designed the site to inform his friends about current events in San Francisco. The growth of Craigslist to other cities caught many people by surprise and it’s growth and success continue to this day. 

At the moment, Craigslist now has over 700 sites in 70 nations and these pages get more than 50 billion views each and every month. That’s a lot of traffic, the site is extremely busy and this makes it an ideal site to buy and sell items.

Craigslist has a classified listing for pretty much anything from smaller items to vehicles and furniture. You can find a place to rent, a new job, real estate opportunities, local services, and more. If you have a clear idea of what you want and you’re prepared to search for it you can find some great deals. 

websites to sell stuff locally

However, this popularity has made Craigslist a prime target for scammers that want to deceive you and trick you out of your cash. So, the real question should be “How do I know if a post is a scam?”.

Craigslist Safety Precautions

Craigslist reviews are likely to focus on the presence of scammers that can deter people from using this useful platform. But, if you take some simple precautions, you can avoid these problems and other potential issues when you want to sell on Craigslist. 

Here are four key pitfalls to avoid if you want to sell safely on Craigslist, they are:

  1. Keep it Local: Craigslist is designed to facilitate local selling and buying. So, you’re not going to get any support when it comes to shipping items. 
  2. Safety First: When you do sell locally, you need to take steps to make the process as safe as possible. Always take a friend with you and meet the buyer in a public place only. Remember, you don’t know this person and you need to be careful when you deal with them.
  3. Understand the Terms: When you sell and buy on Craigslist you need to fully understand the terms and conditions. This will help you to know where you stand if something goes wrong and you can avoid violating the terms for the site.
  4. Be Aware of Scammers: You’re not likely to meet a buyer before a sale is agreed and this opens you up to a risk of being scammed. This is especially true if you’re accepting some kind of electronic payment. 

Take extra care when selling on Craigslist, many scams are repeated and you can find plenty of information online. I will cover some ways you can avoid scams in the latter sections of this Craigslist review.

What Can You Sell on Craigslist?


There is an extensive list of items that you can sell on Craigslist. Some example categories include:

CategoryExample
AntiquesFurniture, lamps, and vases
AppliancesLarge appliances such as washing machines or small kitchen appliances like toaster ovens
AutoThere are separate sub categories for auto parts, wheels and tires, ATVs, and snowmobiles
BabyInfant clothing, nursery accessories, and toys
ClothingSub categories for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories
Photography Video recorders, digital cameras, and SLR cameras and accessories
Musical InstrumentsAcoustic and electronic instruments
Toys and GamesThere are sub categories for traditional toys and video gaming

How to Sell on Craigslist


There are key steps that you need to follow if you want to sell successfully on Craigslist. These include:

Visit Your Local Site:

Open the Craigslist site in your browser and you will be directed to your local site automatically. If the site makes a mistake or you want to sell in a different location, you can find a list of available Craigslist locations on the right side of the web page. Simply click on the city where you want to sell or browse the states and cities at the bottom of the list.

You can find a list of available Craigslist locations

Creating Your Listing:

  • When you’re ready to create your post click the “Create a Posting” button on the left side of the page.
  • You will be directed to a page where you may need to fine tune where you want to sell. These sub-boards for your chosen city can be clicked to get an even better local match.
  • You will then be prompted with “What type of posting is this?” and as a seller, you need to click “For sale by owner”.
  • Next, choose the category you want to sell in, if you’re not sure, click to see which items are prohibited for sale on Craigslist, including firearms, tobacco, alcohol, and more. Click on the category that best suits your item.
  • You should now be on the form page where you can create your post. It’s advisable to add as many details as possible, the price you want and a full description of the time. You need to enter your email address in the “Contact info” section, but you don’t need to worry, this is not published with the posting. Your email address is only needed so that Craigslist can contact you when you’ve received a reply to your ad. You can fill in your phone number too, but this should be avoided to ensure that your security and privacy are maintained.
  • Once you’ve completed the form simply click the “Continue” button.

Optimize To Find Buyers:

Many people will see your ad, you can help them out by entering a nearby cross street to let them know if you’re in their area. Fine-tuning your location on the map is a great way to get a quick sale. When you’re done click “Continue” again.

Add Photos:

It’s far easier to sell an item if you have some great photos to entice buyers. Take some photos from different angles with good lighting and click the “Add images” buttons to add them to your post. Once the photos are added to the post you can arrange them as you wish by dragging them into position. When you’re satisfied, simply click the “Done with images” button to continue.

Complete Your Listing:

At this stage, your ad is complete. If you’re happy and you want to go ahead click the “Publish” button.

You’re not quite done yet, you will see a message that says “Important – Further action is required to complete your request!” 

Don’t worry. All this means is that you will get an email from Craigslist in 1-2 minutes that will ask you to confirm that you want your posting to be published. Simply click on the confirmation link and your Craigslist ad should appear on the site in around 15 minutes. Keep the email safe, you may need it to find your ad again or if you want to delete or refresh the post later.

Craigslist Fees


Generally, independent sellers don’t need to pay a fee to list their items. However, there are exceptions for high ticket items.

Type of ListingFee Per Listing
Most listings $0
Dealer listings for commercial, heavy equipment and most vehicles$3 to $5
Listings for trucks and cars$5
Service ads$5
Real estate listings$5

How to Avoid Scams on Craigslist?


The most common Craigslist complaints concern scams, but they can be avoided if you follow these eight simple tips.

Email Addresses: 

Don’t use your private email address when you deal with Craigslist. When you list an item for sale on the site, the platform will give you the option to use an email address that they provide for you. If you take this option and avoid using your personal email address you can insulate yourself from many potential scams.

Public Meetings: 

I’ve covered this briefly earlier, but it’s incredibly important to avoid meeting a buyer at your home, their home, a private place, and other risky locations. If you’re renting a property or selling a service, always meet the buyer in a public location first before you go on to a final destination.

Always Bring a Friend: 

To make the interaction even safer, bring a friend with you and you know someone has your back if something goes wrong.

Use Safe Payment Options: 

When it comes to getting paid, you can accept cash in person. But, don’t disclose your bank details or accept a personal check that can bounce later. If you want to accept money electronically, go with a secure transfer service, such as PayPal, Venmo, and others.

Geotags: 

Always remove the geotags from the photos of your items. If you take a picture with a smartphone with GPS, it will embed the location where the image was taken in the EXIF metadata.

Avoid Third Party Requests: 

Some buyers may want to transfer cash using a third party or escrow service. This is where the money would be held until both parties are satisfied with the transaction. This should be avoided. These types of services are often run by the scammers themselves and they cannot be trusted.

Local Deals: 

Craigslist is designed to be a local site, so it makes sense to concentrate on local deals. But, you need to have some street smarts and if you have concerns about a potential buyer, don’t go ahead with the deal. The old adage “Better safe than sorry” should be your credo if you want to avoid scams on Craigslist.

There’s Always a Catch: 

Sometimes you will see listings or get inquiries from people with deals that seem too good to be true. Trust your gut, there’s always a catch and you need to avoid turning your brain off when you think there’s easy money to be made.

how to safely sell a car on craigslist

Craigslist Pros & Cons


Crasigslist Pros

  • Your identity is protected because the posts are anonymous.
  • The posting process is quick and easy.
  • Many postings can be made with no listing or selling fees.
  • Craigslist is a great way to sell larger or higher value items locally.

Crasigslist Cons

  • There is no enforcement for a buyer to pay.
  • A local buyer base will be smaller.
  • You can’t customize your ads much.
  • If you create too many listings you can get your account blocked for “spamming”.
  • The buyers are typically less reliable and they often want far below market value.

Craigslist Review Verdict: Is Craigslist Worth it?


Craigslist is a tried and tested way to sell your unwanted items. As this Craigslist review has shown, you can sell practically anything on the platform, but there is a downside. There are many tales about scams, so you need to be wary. 

Essentially, Craigslist is a classified site, so you will need to deal with all the potential buyers, which includes time wasters and those who want something for nothing. So, you may prefer to use a separate cell phone number rather than using your landline, so you can respond to messages at your own convenience. 

However, there are little to no seller fees. So, you can list your items with no financial risk. 

Alternatives to Selling on Craigslist


Crasigslist vs. OfferUp

OfferUp Summary

  • It’s free to list and sell your items
  • You can see buyer ratings on the platform so you can easily identify if they are safe to deal with
  • The app is easy to use
  • There’s an in-app messaging system to ease the communication between buyers and seller

If you’ve ever asked yourself “Is Craigslist dodgy?” or if you don’t want to use the site, there are alternatives. 

There are many app based selling platforms such as LetGo, but one of the best ones is OfferUp

One of the best things about OfferUp is that both the buyers and the sellers get ratings which is similar to how eBay works. The lack of accountability on Craigslist can lead to bad experiences which make some users ask “Is Craigslist good for buying and selling?

When you arrange to sell on Craigslist, you will get plenty of no-shows which is extremely frustrating. Most people don’t want to deal with those kinds of hassles and some of the scams on the site.

OfferUp works in a very different way to Craigslist, it’s free to download and use and it’s well worth giving it a try. You can set up your ads quickly and it’s easy to update your listing and contact any potential buyers. A buyer can make an offer on your item and you can decide to accept, decline or counter with a simple click of a button. Meetings can be arranged with the built-in messaging and you won’t need to disclose any personal contact information. If you sell your item locally, you meet up in the same way as you would with Craigslist and you need to take the same precautions. 

Despite the few negative aspects of OfferUp it is a solid alternative to Craigslist for new and experienced sellers and buyers.

Craigslist vs. eBay


eBay is well known for the online auction system it pioneered and it’s still a relevant platform when you want to sell your item(s). As a seller, you will post:

  • A starting price for your item
  • The due date 
  • An item description
  • Appropriate photos

While on the surface, it may appear very similar to Craiglist, there are some key differences. Most sellers use the auction feature, so you can set your listing and wait for the auction time to elapse.

The number of bids is clearly displayed. The bids can drive the price higher than you might have expected, but the risk is that you could sell it for less. To mitigate the risk, you can add a “Buy it Now” price where a buyer can end the auction immediately and pay your reserve price.

eBay separates the private occasional sellers from the professional high-volume sellers in a similar way to Amazon. But, even as a private seller, you have global attention for your item and it’s free to set up your account. 

eBay also has a money-back guarantee that protects sellers if their items don’t match the listing, will not work, or doesn’t arrive. All transactions are conducted via PayPal which adds an extra layer of protection for the buyer. Some items that sell very well on eBay, include books, shoes, clothes, and more.

eBay Costst

As a private eBay seller, you can get 50 free listings each month. It will cost $0.35 to create a listing and sellers pay a final value fee when their item sells. For the majority of items, this fee is around 10% of the final selling price. But, the seller needs to factor shipping and handling costs into their profit margin calculations when they set their prices. 

Bear in mind that like Craigslist, you will need to answer any queries or questions from potential buyers, but eBay will notify you when you have a question about your item.

eBay Summary

  • 171+ million active users – no need to worry about traffic
  • Seller protections in place from buyers scams
  • Great marketing tools – only pay if you sell your item
  • Global brand – instant trust from buyers
Craigslist Review

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