The trick to selling your stuff fast relies on old school principles and new school technology. While you still have your traditional pawn shops and yard sales, which work well, you now have the luxury of online ads and social media. If done right, you can net yourself some cash in little time.
Count on Craigslist
Advertising online can get you quick results. Craigslist, for example, is a free classified ad website that allows you to post ads in a variety of marketplaces from clothing to furniture. You can decide how potential buyers will contact you, either by phone or through an encrypted email service. When selling on Craigslist, consider these tips:
- Post pictures. Make it easier and your buyers -- and yourself -- by allowing the buyer to see what she is buying.
- Compare prices. Research on sites like eBay to see the going prices for similar items. Price competitively, but don't sell yourself short.
- Be honest about the condition of your product. If it is old and needs repairs, you might have to price low, but it's better to tell the truth than to deceive potential buyers who might become angry and demand refunds.
- Be descriptive. Give as much detail as possible to potential buyers.
- Choose a selling tactic. Decide if you'll be firm or flexible with your prices. If you set a fair price and have done your research, then be firm but prepared; some people will walk away from your item.
You can use eBay to sell your items, although this approach might take longer. The bidding process must run its course in many cases. The Savings Experiment offers tips on when to use eBay and when to use Craigslist.
"A Craigslist Pro Shares His Buying and Selling Secrets," published by Fox News Magazine, provides tips for selling on Craigslist, such as:
- Take pictures of your items from multiple angles.
- Explain why you are selling these particular items.
- Use correct grammar.
- Watch for spam replies.
- Offer delivery if possible. It's OK to ask for a reasonable fee for gas.
- Take pictures of your items from multiple angles.
Craigslist can be a dangerous place. When selling your items, meet in public if possible. The Craigslist Safety page offers information on how to stay safe.
Visit your local pawn shop to quickly sell your things. During the pawning process, you surrender your items to the shop, get your cash, and get a receipt to redeem your items later. If you do choose to redeem, you will have to pay interest for the time the pawn shop held on to your stuff. According to Good Housekeeping, pawn shops can charge you up to 25 percent interest each month for the pawn loan if you try at a later time to retrieve your items. If you don't want your items back, simply walk away and don't return.
The tricky part here is getting a good price. Pawn dealers will offer you a lot less than what you paid for an item or what it is worth. Again, doing your own research helps ensure a fair negotiation. Some items will net you more money than others. For example, as of 2012, pawning gold could get you 80 percent of its worth in the market.
Visit the Better Business Bureau's website to check out a particular pawn shop's reputation before you do business.
Find Friends and Family
Reach out to family members and friends who might have shown interest in some of the things you'd like to sell. Explain you are in a bind and need to sell your stuff quickly.
While it may seem obvious to ask for help, there is an art to reaching out to the people who know and love you: Don't sell them crappy items. You'll lose bonds with the people you care about. The Simple Dollar mentions how awkward friends in particular might feel in wanting to support you. The sense of obligation could taint the relationship. Before taking this route, it's best to exhaust all other possibilities.
Become a Con -- A Consignment Artist, That Is
Partnering with consignment shops can get you paid quickly. These stores work in a couple ways. Either you sell your items and walk away with a flat payment or you give the items to the store and enter into a selling partnership. In this case, you receive a percentage of the items sold. Each consignment shop is different, so you must abide by each store's rules. Man vs. Debt says the average split in a consignment deal is 50/50, although this varies by shop. There is no guarantee your stuff will sell.
Some consignment shops will try to talk you into taking store credit at a higher payout instead of cash. If you are fine shopping at this retailer, then taking the store credit might work for you. If not, you will have to settle for less cash.
Go to The Garage
Have a garage sale. It will take a little bit of planning. However, if successfully set up and advertised, you can make a lot of money, as much at $500 to $1,500 in as little as a few hours.
To get started, you will need signs, at least 15 to 20 posted near high-traffic areas that clearly tell people how to find you. Also, advertising in your local paper can become a major payoff with little investment in the Classifieds section. And again, Craigslist is the way to go for free yard sale advertising.
U.S. News and World Report suggests you don't put a price on items you're willing to sell for under $15. Many times, people will offer you more money that way. For items higher than $15 to $20, you're better of pricing your items, because if you don't, people tend to offer you less than what you want to sell for.
Never leave your money unattended. If possible, never conduct your yard sale alone.
The more organized your garage sale, the more appealing it will look. Get up early, be ready, be awake. Many yard sale customers are well-abreast in negotiation and finding the best deals; they will show up early, sometimes before you're ready to open. Make sure you have plenty of change on hand.
Utilize Facebook for some of your advertising. A simple status post about your yard sale could work wonders if you have many local friends. Ask people to share your post. Plan your yard sale, for example, as an event on Facebook and advertise it. Consider investing a small amount of money for paid advertising on Facebook. For as little as $5 a day, you can reach local people. For more information on Facebook's advertising rules, visit Facebook's Advertising Policies. The Help Center can give you more information on creating events.
Michelle Dwyer is a U.S. Army veteran writing fiction and nonfiction since 2003. She specializes in business, careers, leadership, military affairs and organizational change and behavior. Dwyer received an MBA from Tarleton State University/Texas A&M Central Texas and an MFA in creative writing from National University in La Jolla, Calif.