I finally sold my item after 2 months on Craigslist.org. Yes, it took that long to find a serious buyer that was close enough, willing to pick up the item, and did not seem too creepy. Here is my experience and how I sealed the deal for my item on Craigslist.org
Finding a Buyer-Evaluating email inquiries. So you have your ad up and now people are asking you if this item is still available. Now what do you do? Which person should you trust (I use the word trust loosely here because we are dealing with perfect strangers). Here’s how I determined who I would give directions to my house to pick up the item.
1. I picked email addresses that had real names in them. When the buyer said they were intrested, I asked them what area they were coming from (Township, County, etc.). If they did not provide this information to me, then I figured this was a waste of my time. If they gave me the area they lived in, I used http://www.whitepages.com to look up their name (in their email address) to see if there was a match. If there wasn’t, I moved on to another buyer (according to date of inquiry of course).
2. If they gave me a cell or a home number to contact them, I ran the cell number and home number on http://www.whitepages.com. This was only if their name was in the email address they gave me. The phone number is important because it shows that the buyer is serious and gave some of their personal information up to have the chance to buy my product (which to them, you are a perfect stranger as well). It is good to have a number so you are not sitting around waiting for somebody to pick-up the item and they never come (I had that happen to me one Saturday afternoon). It is also good in case your buyer gets lost and you can contact them, or if either party needs to cancel for any reason (like a family emergency).
3. After I had a phone number, and the name and number checked out on http://www.whitepages.com, I only delt with a very close local buyer. I had a buyer that was not that close to my house, but she fell through on the deal. A local buyer is somewhat familiar with the area and will not be intimindated to find your place and is less likely to get lost. Also, it’s not a hike for them to travel to the pick up area.
4. Only after I spoken to the person on the phone and agreed on a time to meet (to verify it was the right number) did I email directions to my house. You can’t just give out directions to your house to anybody.
5. I drafted a Bill of Sale for my buyer at this website : http://resources.lawinfo.com/letters/frm_BillOfSale.cfm?act=fill&site=lawinfo
It’s a nice site because it covers all the legal areas for a bill of sale (esp. for used items) and you can edit it and add to it. I informed my buyer (via phone and email) that she will be signing a Bill of Sale for my records as well as for hers. I did not sign my whole name (initials). I explained to her (via email) that the sale was final and that if cash was not present at the time of sale and pick up, the sale was null and void.
6. Once we agreed on a time (I would suggest early in the morning if you can only do weekends-so people can read signs and streets and addresses) on the phone, I emailed the directions to my house. I informed her that I had people with me to help her fit the item in her car and she informed me she had people (her hubby) coming with her to help her so she’d be fine. ALWAYS have people with you. Never go alone to see something (even if you meet on neutral ground) or sell an item at your house. I had my cell phone on me and house keys just in-case something happened. Do not meet at midnight, meet at normal business hours.
The Day of Pickup
1. I had my cell phone with me and my boyfriend just for a safety measure.
2. I placed all the paper work and the Bill of Sale in a folder for the buyer to keep. It made things look more professional and neat.
3. I let the buyer (since the weather was 10 degrees outside) in my house. If the weather is warmer, I suggest meeting outside your house (in the front) and have your house keys and cell phone on you and lock your house doors as a safety measure. I felt I checked out the buyer enough to let them into the house, but like I said, these people are perfect strangers. If you do not feel comfortable, meet in a neutral place, like a shopping center or cafe.
4. I showed the buyer the Bill of Sale and explained and showed her everything on the Bill (it was itemized). I let her try out the item and asked if she has any questions (because she told me she wanted to try it over the phone and email). She said no and since I showed her the Bill and explained everything, I did not have to ask her for the cash. She pulled out the money and counted it for me. She handed it to me. I naturally counted it again in front of her. She signed the Bill of Sale and I signed her copy.
5. I helped them out the front door and offered them help. They said they were fine and they placed the item in their car and drove away. It lasted no more than 10 minutes and the transaction was painless and smooth. Like I said, everybody’s experience will be different because people are different.
I Hope my experience will help you if you decide to sell anything on Craigslist.org. Just be patient, use common sense, and if something feels wrong, stop working with that trouble buyer and move on to a buyer that deserves your time. Remember, deal with very local buyers, cash only, make sure you have a number to contact them, draft a Bill of Sale, meet in a neutral place if possible, and if they act slighty shady, move on to the next buyer. Be Safe and enjoy!