How to Sell on Craigslist Fast & Safely

Craigslist is a great way to find, trade, or sell services, items, and more online. In this article, I will share my best tips and tricks to sell things on Craigslist.

As someone who has been an online seller for quite some time on various platforms, I understand the challenges and the importance of following certain guidelines to ensure successful and safe transactions.

I have sold items on Craigslist anywhere from electronics like speakers and laptops to tools like wire cutters and lawn mowers. I’ve also sold a lot of old baby toys that my kids no longer play with.

Let me share some of my favorite tips that will help you learn how to sell on Craigslist safely, effectively and securely.

10 second Craigslist seller summary:

How to Sell Stuff on Craigslist

Take Clear Photos of Your Product

Think about it:

Would you buy something online if it looked like crap?

Probably not. I wouldn’t.

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.

TIP: When listing an item on Craigslist, high-quality photos are essential to attract potential buyers. Personally, I’ve found that using a smartphone camera works well for this purpose. It’s crucial to include at least one picture of the actual item you are selling. Clean the item before taking photos and capture it from different angles to provide a comprehensive view. Additionally, consider photographing any accessories or highlighting any flaws or scratches to minimize questions from interested buyers.

  • 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.
how to sell on craigslist

Select Your Best Product Photos

You can use a lot of photos in your listing, so you should select the best, most attractive photos that you take.

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.

Be Honest in Your Craigslist Listing

Here’s why:

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

If you are honest in your ad with your listings and especially with your item photos, 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 Craigslist 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. That’s how to sell on Craigslist.

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.

craigslist titles

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

  • Protip: If a Craigslist seller 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 items you are trying to sell, you will have a very difficult time trying to find a buyer for it.

How to Use Keywords Relevant to Your Craigslist 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. It doesn’t take the meaning of a search into context.

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

  • Protip: In your Craigslist seller 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.

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 for their lawn mower model to see if anything is available on Craigslist.

Include Lots of Details When Selling On Craigslist

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. That’s what I always do when selling things on Craigslist.

spam craigslist keywords

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

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 Craigslist forums) that treat the website as if they own it.

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

Include a Phone Number for Faster Craigslist Sales

It’s true:

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

However, I would guess 9 out of 10 (or probably closer to 10 out of 10) of my sales have 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.

It 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.

Using Email Only Is Too Slow for Selling Items on Craigslist


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.

Should I Use My Real Phone Number on Craigslist?

If you are skeptical about selling items using your real phone number and taking phone calls when selling in your city, 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. Your city and state will be there on the Craigslist seller listing, but you can remain anonymous.

Remove Your Post / Listing After You Sell the Item on Craigslist

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:

As a Craigslist seller, 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.

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 on your phone.

What to Do When Your Craigslist 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 from Craigslist than it is to update it letting people know it has been sold.

Taking down the ad is best for Craigslist, me, and you.

How to Put These Tactics & Techniques Into Action

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

Ready to Start Selling on Craigslist?

Selling on Craigslist can be a great way to get rid of unwanted items and make some extra cash. However, it’s important to be cautious and aware of the potential scams and fraud that can occur on the platform.

How Do I Safely Sell on Craigslist?

Don’t post any personal information in your Craigslist listing. Be sure to safely meet buyers in a public place, take clear and detailed photos of the items you’re selling, and consider using a third-party payment service to protect yourself if possible (like Venmo, Zelle, or Paypal).

Overall, Craigslist can be a great free tool and site for selling your stuff, just be sure to use it safely and responsibly.

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

Once again, always sell on Craigslist safely. Meet in a public place in your city or town. Don’t let strangers in your home or apartment.

Should You Give Your Address on Craigslist?

Don’t post your actual address in your public Craigslist listing. Instead, you can include an area, like a park, or intersection of where you are willing to meet. This will give the potential buyer an idea of how long it will take for them to drive or travel to the spot to buy the item. So for safety reasons, don’t put your real location or address in the Craigslist post.


Why to Consider Batching Your Items.

When learning how to sell on Craigslist, if someone is looking for one item, many times they’re looking for similar products.

  • Best for child and kid items like toys or clothes.
  • Each thing should have its own price.
  • Be willing to sell them separately.

How to Sell Your Items in Lots While Staying Safe

Selling stuff 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.

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

craigs list selling post page

You will learn how to properly fill out the form pictured above to sell your stuff while also learning the safest way to sell on craigslist.

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.

(Editor’s note: Please see my buying & selling online during and after covid response and ideas about using cash.)

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.

If there is not a cash option, Venmo or a quick-pay option like Chase Quickpay or Zelle are good options, too.

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.

Then when you are more comfortable with how to sell on Craigslist, here is some info about avoiding Craigslist scammers. Contact me if you have any questions about how to sell your stuff online.

Continue reading here: Respecting Craigslist Etiquette

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

Did My 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 Craigslist selling transactions.

Review and Conclusion About Selling on Craigslist

Selling on Craigslist can be a great way to get rid of items you no longer need or to make some extra money. The key to success on Craigslist is to be clear and concise in your posting, to use good quality pictures, and to be responsive to potential buyers.

One of the benefits of selling on Craigslist is that it is a local marketplace, so you can easily arrange for people to come and pick up the item(s) you are selling. This can be convenient for both the buyer and the seller, as it eliminates the need to package and ship items.

Paid Craigslist Benefits

Another benefit of Craigslist is that it is free to use. While there are some paid options for promoting your listings, you can get started without spending any money. This can be especially useful if you are just trying to get rid of a few items and don’t want to spend money on listing fees.

It is important to be aware of the potential risks of selling on Craigslist. You should be cautious when meeting with potential buyers, as there have been cases of robberies and scams on the platform. To minimize these risks, it is a good idea to meet in a public place and to bring a friend or family member with you. Bring your wife or husband. Bring your kids.

Quick and Easy Selling on Craigslist, Even for Beginners

Overall, selling on Craigslist can be a quick and easy way to get rid of items you no longer need or to make some extra money. By following some basic safety precautions and being clear and concise in your postings, you can successfully sell on the platform.

Article Summary
How to Sell on Craigslist Safely & Fast
Article Name
How to Sell on Craigslist Safely & Fast
Learn how to sell on Craigslist safely and fast, even for beginners. If you are a beginner to selling on Craigslist or are a pro, here are some awesome tips to help you get some extra cash fast. Learn how to sell on Craigslist today.

18 thoughts on “How to Sell on Craigslist Fast & Safely”

  1. if you’re looking to unload some stuff and old items, Craigslist is the way to go to sell online. Super easy to use and you’ll reach a ton of people. Just be safe when meeting up with buyers and watch out for scammers.

  2. I have SOOO much stuff to sell on craigs list this year! I need to clear out my basement! Thanks for the tips for beginners like me!

  3. Yes, posting clear photos of the items helps so much. And details help a lot. It minimizes questions from annoying buyers. But overall, great ways to help sell stuff on craigs.

  4. Do people sell stolen stuff on craigslist? I wouldn’t want to accidentally buy something that was stolen. Is there a way to tell?

  5. Make sure you take very clear pictures of the furniture that you post on Craigslist and be clear about its condition in the description so the buyer should have very few questions in person when picking up. If possible, make sure the furniture is close to a front or back door so they can easily take it away. I recently did this when selling a desk where I didn’t want strangers coming into my home and going upstairs near my child’s room. I moved the desk by my front door. The buyer simply looked at the desk, paid, then took it out and loaded it into his car. It took less than 3 minutes. If you are concerned about being female with a male picking up, ask a neighbor or have a couple friends or family over at your place when you schedule the transaction.

  6. I live a female living alone and I have large furniture to sell. I am leery of having strangers come into my house to view and or pick up furniture. Any suggestions?

  7. It’s my first time selling on Craig’s List, thanks for the tips,i will use them and probably be successful.

  8. my friend tried to show me how to put something on craigslist but this guide was easier to follow than my idiot friend.

  9. Every time I post something on craigslist I always post it like $10 or $20 cheaper than other people are listing a similar item. I get contacted and sell it.

  10. I’ve always wondered “how does craigslist work?” Because it has had the same design since like 1999. I guess it’s easy to use to sell stuff, but why don’t they ever update the design?

  11. My friend told me how to sale on craigslist bit his advice did not work out and I still have my car. I will try some of these tips and ideas to get rid of my car. I might be asked too much money to get a response.

  12. 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.

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