How to Sell Your Old Stuff on Facebook
We all have things we don’t need or want. The traditional avenues of selling your stuff — such as Craigslist or eBay — seem to be overly competitive, or worse, a little unsafe. I’ve recently taken to Facebook to get rid of unwanted items and even pick up a few things that would have been cumbersome to buy through those other online channels. Here is how you can use the popular social networking tool to earn cash and clear your home of unwanted clutter! (See also: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff)
Find a Group
Most Facebook selling and buying groups are local, or at least limited to a state. This is because people within a certain geographical proximity feel more comfortable dealing with folks that are near them, and the more geographically targeted a group is, the more likely it is that you may actually know the person you are dealing with.
To find a group, use the Facebook search field to enter your geographic local and “buy” or “sell.” If you live in a very populated area, you may also want to narrow your search by the type of item you are looking to sell (used baby items or farming tools, for example.)
Note: There are several third-party apps run through Facebook that have a similar buy/sell listing feature. These are more like classified ads and are not considered Facebook groups. As a result, they are not subject to the rules and terms of Facebook, and I don’t recommend them as an alternative to buying or selling.
Join the Group
Many groups aren’t open to everyone, meaning you’ll have to ask permission to join. Some of the most guarded groups — those that deal in high-end goods, like jewelry, vehicles, or firearms — may even require that you are friends with someone in the group and be invited personally.
Read the Rules
All Facebook groups should have a set of rules displayed in the “Notes” tab of the group, viewable once you’ve been accepted. The rules will include details on how to post items for sale, how to deal with potential buyers, and what to do when your item has been sold.
Other rules will include:
- The number of items per day you can list
- The number of photos that can accompany each listing
- Types of items that can be sold
- How to contact a buyer to coordinate the sale
List Your First Item
Decide what item you’d like to sell first, and use it as a test to make sure you understand the rules.
If done correctly, your listing will remain up and you should get comments from those interested in buying. Be sure that you are prompt about answering questions or arranging the details of the sale. If you don’t feel comfortable selling to a particular person, for whatever reason, don’t feel compelled to sell to them.
Once there is a verbal agreement to buy or sell, make sure you stick with it.
Unlike eBay, there is no accountability system, and it is possible for deals to go wrong. Pick a public place to make the exchange, deal with cash or money order, and set expectations of what you expect as a seller. Use the same safety rules you would with a Craigslist deal, but understand that you can mitigate quite a few safety issues by taking time to get to know the person on Facebook (friending them first, for example), or by dealing only with those you know, or who are acquaintances of those you know. (Facebook makes it easy to see who knows who; use that feature to qualify buying candidates of large or expensive items.)
We have purchased several items in our local community, and even statewide, that we couldn’t have gotten without the unique buying/selling forum Facebook can provide. We have done repeat business with people that we have had good deals with (100% in our case).
In a time when everyone’s trying to make a little cash, selling through Facebook is a trend that will grow and become even more popular. Jumping on the trend while it’s new can ensure that you clear you closet, raise some cash, and build your reputation and your skills before everyone else catches on.
Have you made a sale or purchase through Facebook? What was your experience like?