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Selling Items on Craigslist – Definitive Guide

Have you ever wanted to sell items on Craigslist?

As someone who has been using Craigslist for numerous years and has easily completed over 200+ transactions, there are smart and effective ways to listing and selling items on Craigslist quickly and safely.

money photo, selling items on Craigslist, how to sell items on Craigslist

Why Are Selling Items on Craigslist?

Before we start our guide on HOW to sell on Craigslist, let’s ask why were thinking of selling your item on here in the first place.

There could be a number why you’re selling items on Craigslist:

  • You didn’t like the item after you bought it.
  • Maybe the item passed the return date at the store.
  • A newer version came out and you want to put the money towards this version.
  • Perhaps you just need some extra cash and have some items laying around.
  • None of your friends and family wanted to buy it.
  • You didn’t want to pay a listing price on Ebay or other websites.

Do any of these reasons sound familiar? I’m sure there are a billion others too.

Okay, let’s get started!

For the sake of simplicity, let’s pretend were going to sell an item.

Once upon a time, you decided to take up a new hobby and tried out how to learn guitar

But it just wasn’t your thing.

Now you have this awesome guitar, with a guitar case, some sweet pedals, a cool guitar amp with all the extras.

Unfortunately, you can’t seem to pawn these things off on your friends and family, and it’s just burning a hole in your heart knowing it’s worth a bunch of money.

It’s time to go on Craigslist and…


selling items on Craigslist, selling a guitar

1. Research a Comparable “New Item”

This first step to selling your item should be fairly simple for you to follow.

Take the item you’re selling (in this example a guitar) and find a comparable item that is new.

Research your local stores, online prices, Ebay, etc.

Using these resources will help determine what the going rate for your used item is, at a brand new price.

But why?

By finding this “new item” price, we can determine how we want to price our “used item”.

Price is everything when selling an item on Craigslist. If you price your item too high, no one will want to buy it. If you sell something too low, you’re screwing yourself out of potential extra money.

Don’t sell yourself short and take the time to do some research ahead of time.

2. Calculate Your Used Item Price

Once you’ve found your “new item price” from step 1, you’ll want to go by the general rule of thumb:

Listing your item at 50% off of the “new” sales price.

Don’t ask me why this method works, it just does. I’ve sold items with this method hundreds of times and it’s truly is the best way to sell your items fairly and quickly.

Let’s pretend you have a guitar that’s similar to this: Fender Mexican Stratocaster Electric Guitar with Maple Fretboard

As you can see via the link, the sale price of this new guitar is $599.00.


If you have this particular guitar (or a guitar comparable to it in specifications, model, type, etc), your base”used” price to list this guitar on Craigslist would be at or around $300.00.


Well, would you want to buy something USED for only 10% cheaper? 20%? Maybe 30%?

The answer is probably…NO. You’d spend the extra money and get that same item brand new.

So, we take that “new price” and we slash it in half automatically. Just trust me on this.


There are times or situations that make the call to adjust the “50% off the new price” rule.

3. Determine the Market Value

stock market photo, selling items on Craigslist

Let’s continue with our guitar example from Steps 1 and 2.

You own a Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar:

$600.00 New Price
$300.00 Base Used Price

Used Item Stores

Scout out a resell shop (such as Guitar Center for this example) in your local area. Consignment shops, flea markets and other retailers like these are a good place to start.

If you visit these types of stores and see that the market is over-saturated with Mexican Stratocaster guitars, you might need to go lower that your base price of 50% off to compete with those stores.

If those local stores aren’t selling that same item for a similar price, what makes you think you can?

Less demand = More guitars available = Less $$$

However, it’s not all bad news.

Maybe after visiting all of these local shops and doing more research online, you find that your item is harder to find.

That means the guitar may be selling better than others, or it just happens to have more of a demand.

More demand = Less guitars = MORE $$$

stock market photo

Item Condition

If the guitar you’re selling isn’t in mint condition, you need to consider going lower than the base price of 50% off.

Again, people generally will only buy something if it’s a “good deal”, so you need to entice them.

When you write up your listing in Craigslist, you can reference these numbers and sound even more reasonable.

worn out photo

Item Accessories

For instance, with our guitar example:

If you have a guitar case you’re selling to go with the guitar, you have the right to account for it in your pricing.

However, you still need to be reasonable when adding this additional cost.

50% of the sale price of the guitar case would be a reasonable addition to your selling price.

PRO TIP on Market Value

Even if the item you’re selling is a couple of days old, you selling this item used voids ANY manufacturing warranty that it may carry.

This is a huge expense you need to consider when selling your items online. People aren’t going to pay a fraction less based on trusting your word of when you bought it, how often it was played, how well it plays, and why you’re getting rid of it.

For the extra price that you tried to sell it for, that person will buy from a reputable place of business that:

  1. Offers a warranty
  2. Has a return policy
  3. Has the item BRAND NEW

Remember that. Put yourself in THEIR shoes and make sure the price you set on craigslist for your used item is reasonable and fair.

Selling Vintage and Rare Items on Craigslist
Many buyers that are interested in your Craigslist listing item will argue what qualifies as vintage or rare status.

Maybe you do own a super rare guitar that YOU know is special and rare.

But do they know that?

Will they believe you?

Do they even CARE?

To help with this issue, provide proof of what your items “rare” status is. Online guides, previous auctions or offers on the same or similar items will be your friend.


If you’ve proved to a potential buyer on Craigslist that your used item is rarer than a similar product, you can and may use this special status to bump the price up from what you’ve already calculated in your previous steps.

Again, it all comes down to being REASONABLE and taking everything into consideration.

When you’re selling items on Craigslist, you must put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask yourself “Would I really buy this item for THAT price?”.

If your item is super duper special and you feel like you’re being lowballed, maybe listing your item on Craigslist just isn’t the ideal option for you.

Other Tips for Selling Items on Craigslist

other photo

Okay, now we have the price of our item in mind. Fairly easy, right?

Now we need to actually post our item to Craigslist.

When you’re selling items on Craigslist, it’s actually pretty simple. You find your city. Find the appropriate section of Craigslist you want to post to.

BAM. Create your post. This article by Wikihow gives an easy step-by-step guide on how to actually create your post to Craigslist. (It’s pretty easy)

1. Well Written Description and Headline

Seriously, people, it can’t be that hard to write a decent headline.

Headline: Keywords are Important

It’s important to have a decent headline when selling items on Craigslist because it’s the FIRST thing they see about your post.

It’s also how buyers search the website to FIND your item.

Use keywords about your item.

Use  keywords about your item such as brand, model, condition, age

Description: Be Specific

If you’re selling items on Craigslist, you have to be specific!

No one is going to respond to this description: ” I have a guitar for sale, 50 bucks please.”


Tell them things about your item such as:

  • Make /Model
  • Age of the item
  • Brand names
  • Specifications
  • Items condition
  • Why you love it
  • Situation around why you’re selling the item
selling items on craigslist

Also, try to break up your description into smaller sentences and bullet points.

Nobody likes reading a wall of text. And this isn’t language arts class, and you’re not writing a book (that I know of).

Use this article as an example. I’m using very short sentences that are separated from each other.

Our brains is a funny thing sometimes.

2. Don’t Spam

spam photo
Photo by buggolo

selling items on Craigslist with 30 + postings of the same item will do nothing but piss people off. Stop this shit.
One post is enough.

Renew it when you can, that’s fine, but don’t make separate listings for the same item.

We get it. You think your item is awesome and you can’t wait to tell the world. But don’t be that “one guy”.

No one likes that guy.

3. Take Good AMAZING Photos

selling items on craigslist, photography, craigslist photos

Pictures are proof of your item.
Posting a picture build trust in your item.
A picture will get your Craigslist buyer asking questions.

Proof + Trust + Questions = $$$

If you can’t include a picture of your item (really, you don’t even have a smartphone?), include a google image or stock photo of your item.

At least give the buyer an idea of what they can expect. The easier you make it on the buyer, the easier it will be to sell your item.

Photo Tips

  • Use a simple background
    • Don’t junk up your pictures with your messy house. Put your item against a clean wall or backdrop and it’ll make it look somewhat more presentable.
  • Clean it up
    • Would you buy an item that was dirty? No, you wouldn’t. Clean it up for the photo to give it the best possible presentation.
  • Angles
    • Since you’re already taking a photo of your item, why not take a few different shots? Open it up, turn it around, etc.
  • Accessorize
    • If the item you’re selling has “extras” or other items to be included, make sure to include those as well.

Conclusion for selling items on Craigslist

craigslist photo, selling things on craigslist
Photo by Chika

This isn’t rocket science people. It’s not fantasy world and money talks above all else.

If you have a lot of items and want to sell them quickly, be smart about it. Best of all, be reasonable when setting your prices.

If you don’t care about the speed of sale, then feel free to adjust your price accordingly, but don’t be unrealistic.

60-70% of sale price (of a new related item) might, in fact, be reasonable, but it may take longer to sell.

man fixing tie