Come to my house! Buy my stuff! And, uh, don't rob me.
April 18, 2012 2:47 PM   Subscribe

I am helping my mother sell several large pieces of furniture prior to her moving, and would like to set up timeframes for people to view/purchase said pieces at her home. Bad idea?

I've posted a couple questions about this in the past, but it's now finally being done. I need to sell probably a small apartment's worth of furniture in the next few weeks. None of it is amazing quality and I've tried to go through third parties for auction/consignment/whatever but for various reasons this hasn't worked out, so I'm now turning to the dreaded Craigslist furniture sale. Ideally I'd like to be able to list all the items, as well as a contact number/email and fixed times when interested parties can come to see the stuff in person.

In researching how to go about this I've seen several warnings about not having people come to your home. However, under the circumstances there isn't really an option to do otherwise, as there's just too much stuff to take anywhere. Some of it could be moved into a large detached garage, which I'm considering.

This is a decent-sized house in the NW suburbs of Chicago. There aren't a lot of valuables here but things that could obviously be taken if there were more than a couple of people wandering through the house at at time. Once I leave in a few weeks' time my mother, who is in her late sixties, will be here alone, and an easy target for anyone who got the idea into their heads to break in (which, in this house, would not be difficult).

Good idea, or bad idea? If I go through with it, what are some intelligent precautions to take? I'd rather not list the address in the postings if it can be avoided, but will it drive people away to ask interested parties to call/email for address and directions? Is it a good idea to get as many things outside of the house as possible so as to minimize interior foot traffic? Should I try posting to other local listings like to maximize exposure?

Thanks in advance!
posted by the luke parker fiasco to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
How about renting a storage locker until the things are sold?
posted by brujita at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2012

How about renting a storage locker until the things are sold?

Doable, but highly inconvenient. Would need to rent a truck to move the stuff (nearly all is too big to fit in a car) and then (obviously) pay for the storage space. Dunno if she would think this was "worth it".
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 3:17 PM on April 18, 2012

I think it's fine to just give the township/neighborhood in the ad, and then reveal the actual address to actual buyers. My #1 pro tip for making craigslist sales go quickly and smoothly is to price the items low. If you have a chair that you think is worth $100, list it for $60 and it will likely sell right away. It's worth the hassle reduction to sell stuff quickly and haggle less. Many furniture listings on craigslist are overpriced.

To add an anecdote to whatever else you've been reading, I've sold (and bought!) several items on craigslist and I've never had a problem (or nothing worse than folks inquiring about the item and then not following up). If the listing is clear, with lots of pictures, and the price is appropriately discounted, the stuff will sell.
posted by bonheur at 3:19 PM on April 18, 2012

I'm a lady and always have people come over to my house with craigslist. Never had an issue. The only challenge is the occasional flakes. I say for large furniture, give them the address and have a time set up and move the furniture into the garage or the front porch, if she feels nervous. Then no one is actually inside the house.

Agreed on quick sales - price appropriately and utterly without sentimentality. I don't care as a buyer that this is the chair that was the first piece of furniture you purchased when you got married - I am only buying it on its merits aesthetically and functionally, and if you price outside that you're more likely to get no-shows, low-ballers, and people who just generally don't take you seriously and won't bother unless they're in love with a unique piece (me among them).
posted by arnicae at 3:56 PM on April 18, 2012

You're not going to get robbed or have issues if you're selling cheap furniture. Craigslist issues usually come up with jewelry, cars, and electronics.
posted by Slinga at 4:09 PM on April 18, 2012

I think that it'd be WAY easier for you to have a garage/estate sale and post it heavily on Craigslist.

Get good pictures of all the furniture and then have a Saturday where people walk through and buy it.
posted by k8t at 5:14 PM on April 18, 2012

There are charities who will do pick-up if you decide to go that route.
posted by brujita at 7:56 PM on April 18, 2012

Thanks for the info, everyone -- I seem to have gotten myself a bit paranoid over this. Had it just been for myself I wouldn't really have worried, but with my mom on her own and having to take responsibility for unloading her stuff I think I was letting the worst-case scenario get the better of me. A reasonably-priced CL-bomb of the individual stuff and possible estate sale scheduling for everything seems to be the way to go. All advice appreciated.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 8:28 PM on April 18, 2012

Move all the furniture into a front room so people aren't going all through the house. When you have people in, stand between them and the path to the rest of the house. It creates an unspoken barrier to looking through the house and casing it.

Even better if you can put the furniture in the garage.

Obviously, don't put your address in a regular Craigslist listing -- only provide it when you've communicated with someone who's interested. (different than a garage sale listing).

If you can afford it -- give it away for free. You can still arrange a time, but put the furniture on the porch or outside (weather permitting) and tell your "buyer" to just pick it up, "no need to knock". That way, they're never in your house.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:18 AM on April 19, 2012

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