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The Craigslist Lesson…


We’ve been trying to sell some of our older duplicative furniture on Craigslist after the big furniture tradeoff in December. Annoyed that the furniture was filling his garage, my husband asked me to price our old queen sized bed and nightstand at $50 to make room.

After a week on Craigslist at $50, we were contacted by precisely 1 interested person… who asked us to drop the price to $25 without even seeing the bed.

When my husband found out we had received an offer, he was angry I had turned it down. Confused, I went out to the garage and appraised the bed again. Was it really only worth $25?

Unwilling to admit defeat, I placed the set on Craigslist again with the exact same description and photos but priced it at $130.

2 hours and 11 offers later, a local college student bought the set for $130.

Lesson learned: Equally as important as not pricing yourself over the market is not pricing yourself UNDER the market.

Plus, it felt REALLY good to flash $130 cash to my husband.


  • Reply Money Beagle |

    Interesting. Apparently pricing below the market makes many think it’s junk and they skip over it. If the perceived value is higher than they are interested. Or you just caught the right person at the right time, which isn’t bad either.

  • Reply Bobbi |

    I have NEVER had any luck with CL. I have tried to sell a few things and everyone did what the guy did to you. Sight unseen trying to lower the price. The items I have wanted to buy, the person always seemed a little off, so I never did the transaction. I think I will stick with Ebay for now. Safer.

  • Reply jaye |

    What a great story. I’ve been selling my junk on Ebay lately and have noticed the same thing. In fact, I just sold some perfume I dislike on Ebay for $80, and the bidding isn’t even done yet! I think you’re right about not underpricing your items.

  • Reply Jen |

    @Money Beagle – I’ve heard that before, only wrt CDs. A musician found that he had to price his self-made CDs at $10-$15, which was waaay above what it cost to burn them. If he priced them at $2 people wouldn’t buy them.

  • Reply Joanna |

    I’ve been trying to sell jewelry on Craigslist and so far, it’s been a bust. I keep getting these emails asking me to send the jewelry somewhere and they’ll send a certified check…yeah, right. No thanks, scammer. But I’ve had pretty good luck selling furniture and appliances, both with hagglers and non-hagglers.
    PS: If anyone has any good ideas about where to sell jewelry, that would be very helpful! Thanks!

    • Reply Dina Herrington |

      Etsy.com is a great place to sell. You are allowed to sell craft/art supplies and vintage or handmade items. It is free to sign up, costs 20cents per item to list in your store. and approx 3% of the sale. Etsy has it;s own check out and processes payment info securely. I dont work for them, just like the way it works Good luck

  • Reply Determined |

    While the phrase, “you get what you pay for” is generally correct, we sometimes will pass on a good deal because it is too cheap and we are afraid of buying junk.

  • Reply Honey |

    It is illegal to sell used mattresses in most states, mattresses are on craigslist’s list of prohibited items.

  • Reply Adam D |

    we learned the same lesson last fall…here in austin it is amazing how much used furniture will go for. a big university and a huge vintage market.

  • Reply Lizzie |

    Illegal? That’s just plain silly. If someone wants to buy a used mattress that is their decision. We sold ours (for $10) at our garage sale to a family whose brother just moved in with them and was desperate for his own bed. Lysol anyone?

    • Reply Dina Herrington |

      it is due to bed bugs, they cannot be killed with regular fumigation and are hard to detect. They can infest entire neighborhoods and the problem is growing.

  • Reply Kimberly |

    @Joanna – Try Etsy! I buy lots of stuff there – wedding (a feathered hair clip, invitations), leather purse, jewelry, cute notebook covers. Love love love that place.

  • Reply emmi |

    re: Honey. Huh, I never heard that so I went to find more info.

    According to this page

    Laws regarding the resale of upholstered furniture such as mattresses and pillows are more strict than for other types of furniture, because fabric, filling and down can absorb body fluids and harbor mold, mites and diseases. One common method of transmission for spinal meningitis is through shared mattresses. Since the useful life of a mattress is about 10 years, it can be safer and more cost-effective to buy new.

    Most states allow the resale of used mattresses, and the laws vary some from state to state. In general, they usually require used mattresses for sale to be disinfected and permanently marked or tagged with the declaration that the item is used and has been sterilized according to the state requirement.

  • Reply Black Bellamy |

    “It is illegal to sell used mattresses in most states, mattresses are on craigslist’s list of prohibited items.”?????

    Good grief. There is no law that prohibits a private party from selling a used mattress. Craigslist does not prohibit mattress sales, new or used.

  • Reply Ele |

    I’m glad it worked out for you, but, frankly, most craigslist posters have insanely high prices.

    For example, someone here is selling a convection toaster oven for $75. It retails for $95. Even if it is new in box, it’s worth less.

    a. it’s more inconvenient to buy
    b. the seller won’t take credit
    c. the seller won’t take a return

    It’s not uncommon to see items priced at above-retail. In particular, technology.

  • Reply Moroni G |

    “check before you Talk


    Partial list of items for sale and services the advertisement of which is not permitted on craigslist:

    Used bedding and clothing, unless sanitized in accordance with law.”

    From Wikipedia, bedding: “Bedding refers to the materials laid above the mattress of a bed for warmth and decorative effect. Bedding does not include the mattress, box spring or bed frame.”

    Anyway, better than lysol, an impermeable mattress cover.

  • Reply Brigham B. |

    I think a lot of people search a category by price.

    They want to spend between $100 and $200 on a bed, so they enter their search criteria and find your bed.

  • Reply Webhosts |

    My husband always gives everything away or sells for nearly nothing, similar to yours, it must be in their genes. I sold our used but still in a good working order dishwasher and fridge recently, and I put the price much higher than he suggested. when people come they always want a discount, so then I can drop the price a little and still get good money. Of course the items need to be good, not junk, but surprisingly a lot of people give or throw out good stuff away because they couldn’t be bothered to spend time to sell. I have to admit that there is a little of inconvenience but why not if you get paid and you stay at home anyway.

  • Reply Financial Head Starter |

    Great advice! If you price it too low, they think it’s trash. My friend was trying to sell her dog for 100 dollars, and nobody wanted it. She increased the price to 300 dollars and she got offers.

  • Reply Carrie |

    This is a very funny “typical Craigslist” story! I have I’ve been selling online myself for a couple of years, and it has been somewhat of a “roller coaster”.

So, what do you think ?