I should have really started to sell my futon, microwave, desk lamp, swiffer, full-length mirror, etc earlier than one week before move-out. There would have been a larger market (underclassmen were still there), meaning greater demand, so I would have probably been able to sell for higher prices. Also I wouldn’t have to worry about competing with the glut of free furniture that people give away at the very end. But I learned somethings from this experience.
- Sell as early as you can. The longer you wait, the lower you’ll have to bring the price down to get someone to pick it up in 3 days–especially for the big stuff. I had to bring my price down from $90 to $60 for the futon. Also, people take FOREVER to reply. So starting early helps.
- Don’t count on people saying they will buy it to come and pick it up. Especially when big stuff is involved. Especially when you have only 3 days until move-out. People can and will back out. I got about 10 offers for my futon before one finally worked out. On my last day, the buyer came an hour later than expected–luckily my friend who I was hitching a ride home with was also running late.
- Craigslist works, but is just a lot creepier. With Free & For Sale, you know you’re only separated from the buyer by one or two degrees. I got many offers from Craigslist people, but I feel less comfortable having a rando come to my room to pick up a futon.
- Don’t be afraid to bargain up. People know that you are willing to sell for lower when you post something. They will therefore haggle. When I re-listed my futon for $75, someone offered to buy it for $40. I told him that another woman was offering to buy it for $75 (although said woman was only offering $60), but that I would give it to him for $60. He accepted.
- Exaggerate the original price. I found that my futon was $200 and my mirror $50+ on the Walmart website. I definitely did not buy these things for those prices. Nevertheless, I posted the links as if I had, which made my items seem more desirable as they were so marked down from the “original”.
- Be nice. I was talking to a friend of mine who co-founded a fashion start-up. She says that one of the ways she negotiates with people whether it be her landlord or a car dealer is to be extremely nice. Everyone has a different style. I feel that this one suits me better.
Of course, it would have been easier to just give my furniture away for free. That would have saved me a lot of stress in my final week of college. (I did give my microwave and offer my mirror to friends, because I like my friends.) But selling my stuff was also a good way to practice marketing and negotiation skills.