How to Safely Sell on Craigslist

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

I think you’ll agree with me, it’s not always easy. It can be hard to have successful Craigslist sales, however, my guide will give you a few pointers to help put some cash in your pockets.

My Top 5 Craigslist Selling 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.

You can use up to eight photos, 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.

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 pictures, you will have happier buyers and sell more successfully.

I suggest that you don’t use stock photos in your ads when you sell on Craigslist. 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.

2. 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 don’t even click an ad that has a title in all caps.

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.

3. Use Keywords Relevant to Your Item in the Description

Here’s why:

The Craigslist search box returns listings based on the exact words typed into the search box. 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.

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

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 Craigslist’s search results. Flaggers will notice and delete your ad.

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

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

4. 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.

Email Isn’t the Best Communication


A possible buyer sending an email to an ad is 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.

Should I Use My Real Phone Number?

If you are skeptical about using your real phone number 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.

5. 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 Craigslist app.

This Item is Sold

After 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 Tips 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.

My Google+ Profile:

You can use the menu on the left to navigate the website or visit the Table of Contents page to begin reading the full guide.

FYI, This is a completely free website to use.

Many other guides 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 with hundreds of safe and successful transactions.

craigs list post page

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

Cash is King

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.

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.

Craigslist Scams Are Easy to Detect

If you are worried about Craigslist 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. Contact me if you have any questions.

Did This Help?

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 Craigslist transaction. My contact info can be found on the About Me page.

Here is my email address:

nicholas @

Please Share This Info if You Found it Helpful. Thanks for stopping by and learning how to sell on craigslist!

  1. Take Clear Photos of Your Product
  2. Write Easy-to-Read Descriptions
  3. Use Keywords Relevant to Your Item in the Description
  4. Include a Phone Number for Faster Sales
  5. Remove Your Craigslist Ad After You Sell It