Setting prices for used household items for sale
February 6, 2019 4:02 PM   Subscribe

Just that simple. Those of you who have experience with selling things on Craigslist/NextDoor, etc, how do you come up with an asking price? Algebraic formula, gut instinct, throwing darts at a bull’s eye? Any guidance you can give would be appreciated, as well as any other secrets to your Craigslist success.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit to Shopping (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Search for similar items and use their prices as a guide to set your own.
posted by smorgasbord at 4:10 PM on February 6, 2019 [4 favorites]

I always look for similar items. You can also check ebay (look for completed auctions) for another source.

The price I set depends on whether my goal is to get rid of the thing and get some cash out of it (in which case I'll probably price it lower) or whether I'm willing to wait in order to get a good price (in which case the price will be more aggressive. I did this when I sold a car on Craigslist).

If you are just selling to get rid of stuff and the cash is the bonus then I wouldn't sweat the price too much.

Take a good picture. And, the most brilliantly insane piece of advice you will ever get is to put a bowl of fruit on it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 4:20 PM on February 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

I'll also adjust prices depending on how much of a PITA it is to deal with the sale. If someone's likely to ask for delivery or I expect lowball offers, I'll account for that in the listed price.

I also never list anything for free unless it's a curb alert, in which case I don't put contact info in. Setting even a nominal price is great for keeping away a certain cohort of Craigslist users that I never want to deal with.
posted by a halcyon day at 4:54 PM on February 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you can't find comps, my general rule of thumb is at most half the new price (for excellent condition). But it depends on whether time/space is a higher priority for you than money. If you're not in a rush and want to maximize proceeds, you can also list higher and add "or best offer" and it becomes somewhat of an auction. If you get no offers, relist and drop the price.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:07 PM on February 6, 2019

Two "laws of garage-sale pricing" I have found useful to keep in mind:

1. Everything is worth something to somebody.

2. Nothing is worth what you think it is.
posted by John Borrowman at 9:07 AM on February 7, 2019

I, personally, will expect to pay about 50% of the current new price if it's in very good condition and it's exactly what I want. If there's a high demand for that particular item/brand, maybe slightly more.

If it's a "quality brand", but I don't know exactly what I want, then I will be making a choice between "second hand quality" and "new bargain brand", so probably won't pay more than the "new bargain brand" price, even if that's way less than 50% of the original price. Thrift store prices can also be a good guide, as they need to shift things reasonably fast.

If it's a pain to move, then cheaper again. If you can offer delivery for a token amount, that can make a huge difference. Accurate measurements help too, so that I can borrow a bigger car with the knowledge that it'll fit.

I live in a place with high rents, so second hand goods are cheaper than where I grew up, where it's cheaper to store stuff or you're more likely to have a spare room.
posted by kjs4 at 6:12 PM on February 7, 2019

I am very proud of the time that I sold a used SimpleHuman trash can ($90 new?) for $50 on CL, and there was competition for it. I also listed an item on FB marketplace 14 months ago, forgot about it and then suddenly someone bought it.

My point is if you’re not in a hurry, set it high and wait and see.
posted by OrangeVelour at 5:21 AM on February 8, 2019

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