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How to sell on Facebook

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If you’re downsizing, redecorating or just de-cluttering and want to get rid of stuff, Facebook is your friend.   Craigslist has gotten a bad rap (deserved in many cases) due to the high number of  scammers.  Facebook has the advantage of allowing both buyers and sellers to look up each other’s profiles, so you’re not dealing with a totally unknown quantity.

Want to share your de-cluttering tips? Join  Senior Planet Community – it hosts a Decluttering Group.  Info is here

Facebook Marketplace listings can be targeted to your area, so local buyers can find you.   If you’re selling something large like a sofa or cabinet, you’re most likely to find a buyer nearby.  Clothing can also sell well on Facebook Marketplace because buyers can stop by and look at it.   Here is more info on what sells.

Be aware, there are two types of sellers on Facebook Marketplace:  businesses and individuals.   Individuals are generally local and arrange pickups or deliveries.  Businesses ship their merchandise.   They are mixed in together and it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart.   Distinguish yourself by emphasizing you are local and prospective buyers can inspect before buying.

Why use Facebook Marketplace

It’s safer. Every listing is connected to a Facebook account so you can check out who you’re dealing with.

There are no fees.  Communication is safe and easy.  You can send and receive messages through Messenger.  Your item is likely to be advertised on people’s timelines.   Facebooks picks up what users have viewed lately and shows them more of it. You can sell in a local group as well.  Most areas have a “buy and sell” group.  Search for your area and the terms “buy and sell.”

How to get started (from Facebook directions )  

  1. From your Feed, click Marketplace in the left menu.
  2. Click Create new listing, then click Item for sale.
  3. Click Add photos to upload a photo of your item from your computer. Or, click Add Video to upload a video of your item from your computer.
  4. Enter the info about your item. To mark an item as Free, you can enter 0 as the price.
  5. Click Next. If Next is grayed out, make sure you’ve entered the information that’s required.
  6. Click Publish to post your Marketplace listing.

Want to learn more about selling on Facebook? Join Senior Planet’s online event, Using Facebook Marketplace, on Wednesday May 24, 2023 at 3:00pm EDT. Learn more and join here.

Tips for success

  • Price your article realistically but leave room for haggling. Do some research on what similar items are selling for in your area.  Sellers tend to get hung up on what they paid for the item, thinking the sale price should reflect that.   But unless it’s an antique, a designer item in perfect shape,  or has some unique quality, it’s not going to sell for anywhere near what you paid for it.   You may have bought that leather sofa and loveseat 6 months ago for $10,000 at Bloomingdales, but if you’ve sat on it,  it will probably sell for 1/10th of that.
  • Take great photos. Place the piece against a  background with no clutter—a wall is good–and photograph it from different angles.    Make sure to snap any flaws so prospective buyers won’t be disappointed.
  • Write an accurate description, including the dimensions. This is the biggest mistake sellers (especially of furniture) make—not measuring correctly.  Include condition, when purchased, brand, material, designer, any other details you have.
  • Respond quickly to messages.
  • Include your return policy if you have one.
  • Include viewing options. You may not want strangers coming to your home—but in some cases it’s unavoidable unless you can move the item.   Try to put it in your garage or driveway and have someone with you when buyers arrive.   If you don’t want to share a phone number, you can use Messenger to communicate.
  • If you can meet at a neutral place, that is ideal.
  • For payment, accept cash or an app such as Venmo or Zelle or Paypal.
  • If delivery is an issue for buyers, suggest Dolly, an app that finds you a local delivery person.

Before you get started read this lllustrated comprehensive guide to selling on FB Marketplace.

Your Turn

Have you sold anything through Facebook? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!

Erica Manfred’s articles and humorous essays have appeared in print and online publications including the Washington Post, Atlantic, Salon, Village Voice, and the New York Times.   A self proclaimed Geezer Geek, now in her seventies, she specializes in writing about aging.  She’s the author of four books, including her memoir,  I’m Old So Why Aren’t I Wise; Snarky Senior in the Sunshine State.   You can subscribe to her newsletter at SnarkySenior.com or visit her website at EricaManfred.com.

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