My Money Story: Part V – How to Sell Your Things

My Money Story: Part V – How to Sell Your Things

June 17, 2018

Remember when I threw out the idea of getting a storage unit so that I didn’t have to deal with my emotional inability to get rid of my mattress and sofa?

It’s NOT happening.

Why? 

Because assuming I was to stay at my aunt and uncle’s for 6 months (wishful thinking) the storage unit would cost me $1,200 (the cheapest one I found was $200/month). I could buy a brand NEW sofa and mattress for that amount.

Plus, I found out that there’s a whole lot more to consider than just getting someone to help me move those items to the storage unit. If they aren’t wrapped correctly, I could end up spending $1,200 to store them only to find that they’re unusable after.

Considering that I got into this situation because I wasn’t being financially responsible, this would just exacerbate the issue.

Which brings me to my next big task for the move: selling all my stuff.

In Part 4, I mentioned my plan to sell most things online, either through traditional sites like eBay and Craigslist or through apps like OfferUp and Letgo.

But, with so many options for online listings, how do you decide which is best for any particular item? Or do you just list them on every site?

Here are a few guidelines I’ve used when selling things in the past:

eBay

Best for:

  • Things that are easily shipped. Nothing fragile or too large – unless you are listing for pickup only.
  • Brand names – especially for clothing. There isn’t much of a market for a generic t-shirt on eBay.
  • New items with tags – although, this isn’t ALWAYS the case. Depending on the quality of the used item, if it’s a brand name and you list it for a third of the price you may be able to sell it.
  • Limited edition items.

Keep in mind:

  • Both eBay & PayPal (how you get paid for the items you sell) will charge fees for selling – usually a set percentage of the sale.
  • You’ll have to estimate how much you think it will cost to ship and put that amount in the listing when you post it. If you underestimate it you will be responsible for the difference, but if you overestimate it some buyers may be turned off by the high cost to ship. It’s a delicate balance.

Craigslist

Best for:

  • Furniture
  • Fragile items
  • Used items that a buyer would want to verify the quality before purchasing.
  • Things you don’t want to pay a fee to sell (as you would have to if you sold on eBay).

Warning:

  • Stranger danger: be smart about when and where you meet someone. While I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the people I’ve sold to, I know that isn’t the case for everyone. Just be aware.
  • See more safety tips below.

Apps (i.e. OfferUp & Letgo)

Typically, anything I list on Craigslist I will also list on apps like OfferUp and Letgo. The difference between these apps and Craigslist is that most of these apps make users verify their accounts through Facebook to ensure they are who they say they are. They also include reviews so you can get a sense of the person before you meet with them. While this doesn’t guarantee your safety, it does make me more comfortable.

Safety Tips

*Note: This is NOT an exhaustive list – only recommendations from my own personal experience.

  • If possible, meet in a well lit, populated area. Some of my favorite places to meet are grocery store parking lots (during regular business hours) or Starbucks. However, meeting in public does not guarantee your safety, so please stay alert.
  • In some cities, police departments have designated areas for online sales called SafeTrade Stations. There is a list of participating stations on their website.  
  • If it is absolutely necessary for the potential buyer to come INTO your home (for example, if you’re selling furniture or something heavy), make sure there’s someone else with you. Or, at the very least, tell a friend or neighbor that someone is coming over and make sure to check in with them after so they can make sure you’re okay.
  • When in doubt, listen to your gut. If you get a bad vibe about a person, don’t meet with them. I promise there will be another buyer interested in your item eventually. Making the sale does NOT outweigh your safety.
  • Download a texting app so you can text back and forth with potential buyers without giving out your personal number. I use textPlus. The app is free and gives you a U.S. based phone number (this won’t change the number of your actual phone – the number textPlus gives you is for the app only. Everything else on your phone stays as is). 
  • Most importantly, with the exception of eBay (where everything is sold through PayPal), ONLY accept cash for payment. Do not fall prey to the scammer who messages you offering more than (or exactly) what you’re asking and makes up some excuse that they can’t meet in person and have to send you a check. 99 times out of 100 this is BS and you will never see your money.

That’s just a crash course on how to sell things online. Wish me luck in actually selling them. Please let me know if you have any selling questions in the comments below.


Want to know how this whole thing started?

Go to My Money Story: Can I Have a Do-Over to start from the beginning.



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