How to Sell on Craigslist Successfully in 2017

Here are a few quick and basic tips to remember when selling on Craigslist, even for beginners.

I’ve had a lot of experience selling.

And I think you’ll agree with me, it’s not always easy.

It can be incredibly hard to have successful Craigslist sales, however, this guide will give you a few detailed pointers to help put some cash in your pockets.

And let’s be honest, it feels good selling things for cash.

10 second summary:

How to sell stuff on Craigslist

  1. Go to
  2. Take clear photos of your product
  3. Write easy-to-read descriptions
  4. Use keywords relevant to your item in the description
  5. Include a phone number for faster sales
  6. Be clear that you only accept cash for a payment
  7. Be nice to each other! Click the guide for more info.
  8. Remove your craigslist ad after you sell it.

My Top 11 Selling on Craigslist Tips

1. Take Clear Photos of Your Product

Think about it:

Would you buy something online if it looked like crap?

Probably not.

So, before you list an item, you will obviously need a camera. Your smart phone’s camera would do the trick, too.

It is always best to include at least one picture of the actual item you are selling.

Make sure it is clean, and take a picture of the product by itself (not surrounded by clutter) from a few different angles.

  • Protip: Take pictures of any accessories that may be included. Also, take pictures of any obvious flaws or scratches, too. Doing so will help minimize questions from people asking about those details.

2. Select Your Best Product Photos

You can use up to eight photos in your listing, so you should select the best, most attractive photos.

You should at least use one photo in your ad, but more is always better since it gives buyers a clearer idea of what they will be getting.

The more photos you include in your ad, the more potential buyers you might receive.

3. Be Honest in Your Ad

Here’s why:

Online buyers appreciate honesty because there are a lot of misleading and dishonest people out there.

If you are honest in your ad with your Craigslist listings and pictures, you will have happier buyers and sell more successfully.

I suggest that you don’t use stock photos in your ads. If you use a stock photo in your ad, then potential buyers might think you are trying to hide something.

  • Protip: When I include a stock photo in an ad, I usually use it as the last photo so the buyer sees the real product first.

4. Write Easy-to-Read Descriptions


This tip seems pretty obvious, but many people write descriptions with misspellings or they write descriptions for their stuff in ALL CAPS.

cl-bad-descriptionTitles and descriptions with a lot of misspelled words can make the person seem unintelligent, sloppy, or seem like they don’t care about their listing.

  • Protip: If a listing looks unprofessional, guess who won’t be contacting you? (Hint: A buyer!)

And titles & descriptions in all caps is a turn off to buyers because they are hard to read.

Many people might not even click an ad that has a title in all caps when they do a Craigslist search.

So, if you write a title and description in all caps and you don’t include a picture of the stuff you are trying to sell, you will have a very difficult time trying to find a buyer for it.

5. How to Use Keywords Relevant to Your Item

Here’s why:

The search box returns listings based on the exact words typed into the search box. Craigslist’s search bar doesn’t work like other search engines.

For example, if you type and search “cars”, you will get different results if you only type “car”. If you search “ipod” vs. “ipods”, you will get different results.

  • Protip: In your description, you will want to use as many words as you can to help describe the item you are listing. The more you talk about the product, the more you will naturally include relevant keywords in the description such as a color, manufacture date, etc.

6. Use Brand Names and Model Numbers

The product’s brand name and exact model numbers are excellent things to include in your ad.

People might already have a lawn mower, for example. They might need a replacement part, which would only fit their specific lawn mower.

That person might search Craigslist for their lawn mower model to see if anything is available.

7. Details, Details, Details

Keep in mind, however, that you never know what or how people are searching, so the more details you include, the better chance you will have to find a buyer.spam craigslist keywords

However, don’t just put a bunch of popular keywords and random model numbers in your description if they don’t relate to your stuff.

Ads with a list of unnecessary keywords (like the example here) will usually get flagged and deleted.

In my experience:

Don’t try to influence the search results. Flaggers will notice and delete your ad.

And there are plenty of people (especially in the forums) that treat the website as if they own it.

Follow the rules, and you will keep those people happy.

8. Include a Phone Number for Faster Sales

It’s true:

A lot of people are skeptical about putting their phone number on Craigslist.

However, I would guess 9 out of 10 (or probably closer to 10 out of 10) of my sales come from people calling me.

  • Protip: Most people that call are ready to buy. They don’t want to wait around for a day or more for a possible email response from you.

include phone number craigslistIt is also assuring to them to know there is a real person behind the product listed.

They can ask questions and you can easily make arrangements to meet for the sale in real time.

Buyers that email rarely follow through for me.

I think the emailers are usually just people that think they want something, but really aren’t serious about buying.

9. Email Isn’t Always the Best Communication


A possible buyer sending an email to an ad is usually very informal, so they don’t feel bad if they never follow through.

It’s always best to use your phone number in an ad for quicker and better results.

10. Should I Use My Real Phone Number?

If you are skeptical about using your real phone number and taking phone calls when selling, you could maybe use your work phone number (if it’s Ok with your employer) or use a secondary phone number such as a disposable cell phone.

You could also try using Google voice.

11. Remove Your Craigslist Ad After You Sell It

It is always good to remove your ad after someone buys the posted item.

It can be frustrating for buyers that see your ad, then call you (or email) only to find out it has already been sold.

But keep in mind:

You are not expected to take down the ad the moment you part ways with your buyer, especially since you will probably be out in a public place.craigslist top left section

You might not have access to the internet to take down the ad that quickly.

But try to take it down as soon as you get back home to your computer / laptop or remove it if you’re using the CL app on your phone.

When The Item is Sold

After you meet the buyer and someone buys your item, don’t go back to the ad and update it with “SOLD”.

That can be just as annoying for buyers to see as it is to call and find out the product is gone.

It’s true:

It is actually faster to just click and delete the ad than it is to update it letting people know it has been sold.

Taking down the ad after a sale will also be good for you since you won’t be receiving unnecessary calls and emails.

Put These Tactics & Techniques Into Action

Those are just a few quick tips and a few things to think about if you are going to sell on Craigslist without getting scammed.

If you check out the other pages on this website or check out my blog, I provide more helpful free information.

And remember, always sell on craigs list safely.

10 second summary:


Why to Consider Batching Your Items.

If someone is looking for one item, many times they’re looking for similar products. I put the Bumbo, Jenny Jump Up, infant bath tub, and play mat in one batch. My buyer bought three of the four items.

  • Best for child items.
  • Each should have its own price.
  • Be willing to sell them separately.

Sell Your Items in Lots While Staying Safe

Selling items in a lot is different from batching. A lot is a cluster of items for one price. You buy the whole bundle, not pieces.

  • Best for selling clothing.
  • The whole bundle is one price.
  • You do not sell separately.
  • Better for items that individually don’t have much value, but are valuable as a bundle.

FYI, This is a completely free website to use.

Many other tutorials and tips are incomplete and most of them only document one sale.

In this guide, I give you a full, in-depth look based on my experience staying safe with hundreds of successful transactions.

craigs list post page

You will learn how to properly fill out the form pictured above to sell your stuff.

Why Cash is King When Dealing with Prospective Buyers

And always remember, cash is king. It is always best to accept cash for a transaction.

Some people may offer to pay for things with a check or use Paypal. Also, I don’t recommend dealing with a buyer offering to pay with a credit card. They might just waste your time.

Continue reading here: Respecting Craigslist Etiquette

And be sure to check out my blog for even more info and tips to successfully sell items online.

My blog has a lot of extra and detailed info about scammers and spam that you will receive.

Why Craigslist Scams Are Easy to Detect: Spammers and Scammers

If you are worried about scams, you will notice that most of the scams are very easy to detect and it is very easy to just delete them and move on to a real buyer. Here is some info about avoiding scams. Contact me if you have any questions.


What is Craigslist?

how to reply on craigslist

Company information

name | craigslist, Inc.
location | San Francisco, California, United States
coordinates | 37° 45′ 36″N, 122° 26′ 15″W
daily page views | ≈ 240 million hits/day (hits per day) (based on Alexa estimates, as of January 18, 2017)
daily visitors | ≈ 19 million visits/day (visits per day) (based on Alexa estimates, as of January 18, 2017)
views per visitor | 12.6
site rank | ≈ 128th
domain online | September 11, 1997 (≈19 years ago)
traffic fraction | 1 in 18000 of all web traffic
(based on Alexa estimates, as of January 18, 2017, and assuming 3.577 billion global internet users)

Here is my email address:

How to sell on craigslist ebook | Sell safely and successfully

Did This Guide Help You Sell Items on Craigslist?

If my tips helped you turn your stuff into cash, be sure to send me an email. I would like to hear about a successful transaction. My contact information can be found on the About Me page. And please share on social media.

Selling the Item

Please browse the rest of this guide to learn more about:

  • Post to classifieds
  • Selling an item
  • How to price items
  • Describes your item
  • Pricing your item correctly
  • Find the right item to sell
  • Avoid getting scammed

10 thoughts on “How to Sell on Craigslist Successfully in 2017

  1. @Avery… haha, thanks. I was testing different title tags since one of my biggest competitor’s titles from the Huffington Post is, “How to Sell Things on Craigslist and Not Get Murdered”.

  2. Awesome ideas. I was able to list and sell my old car pretty fast on craigslist a few weeks ago. The key was that I priced it about $200 lower than some other sellers and I got a serious offer quickly.

  3. I saw another similar post about CL that said…

    As of today, I have sold almost all of my large furniture (and some small furniture) using Craigslist — and I wasn’t murdered! Ok, ok, I know not everyone is afraid of being murdered while selling things on Craigslist. But I was — at least, I wasn’t too keen on meeting strangers at my home over and over just to make a few bucks. But when I started to realize how much furniture we just couldn’t take with us, I decided to do some research and safely make some decent cash.

    Is that true?

  4. Is PayPal safe? can someone rip me off if I accept money through PayPal? Are Certified checks safe or can they be fraudulent . Can a get screwed by excepting a certified check?

  5. Excellent article — good tips well expressed. The blog is good too. I’ve had some success on CL but it seems to take forever to sell things. Early on I decided not to use my phone number. Now I’m reconsidering that based on your advice. One thing: the link to your page says “11 Insanely Easy Tips…” Bad choice of words. Far from Insane, the advice is thoughtful and well reasoned. “Insanely easy” sounds like a spam message that’ll tell me how to lose belly fat or mortgage my dysfunction or something. Good luck and thanks again.

  6. Who generally pays for shipping? Buyer or seller? Or do you just avoid long distance sales so you can stick with cash?

  7. I agree Jack, Put your phone number in the ad. Another reason they want your email, is when they run a small business,and want customers, they get people to give them their email and they keep it so they can send a bunch of info to your email about their business, instead of having to purchase emails through a company. This way their getting them free.

  8. I hate when people don’t respond to their ads. Why post something for sale if you aren’t gonna respond to them? It gets very frustrating as a buyer sometimes.

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