Safest Ways to Sell a Large Item on Craigslist

by Todd Bowerman

One of the first rules of safe Craigslist selling is that meeting potential buyers in a public place is better than meeting them at home. Unfortunately, meeting in public isn't always an option when it comes to selling large items. If you're trying to sell a bed, couch or other sizable item that can't reasonably be taken somewhere else for examination, it's very important to approach the situation with care.

Bring a Friend

Because you lose the safety net of a public space when selling large items, you need to find other ways to ensure your transaction is executed safely. Asking a friend to come over while you're expecting sellers can ensure you feel safer with the strangers entering your home, and seeing two or more people may dissuade a potential crook from attempting a theft or scam. Buyers should also bring a friend when meeting in a residence.

Withhold Information

If possible, withhold address information from the buyer until the last moment. For example, if you live in an apartment, you can give the buyer your building address but keep the apartment number private. Meet the buyer outside -- if you feel uncomfortable, you can suspend the transaction without the buyer ever learning your complete address. If you are selling from a house, try moving the large item to your garage so potential thieves can't get an inventory of your belongings by entering the main areas of your home.

Be Wary of Scammers

Craigslist, like other classified services, has its fair share of scammers. Be on the lookout for offers that sound too good to be true. Trust your instincts; if a potential buyer makes you feel uncomfortable for one reason or another, it's perfectly okay to wait for another buyer to come along. Do not accept offers that do not conform to the established rules of your listing, and ask all buyers for their full names, phone numbers and email addresses.

Ask for Cash

Whenever possible, ask for cash. Scammers are more than happy to use pre-paid cell phones, bad checks and fake identities while tricking you into thinking a transaction has gone well. Do not accept checks or money orders from anyone you don't already trust -- cash is the most reliable payment model. If the seller insist on using a money order, request that it be made at a bank you trust and offer to cover the fee.

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