How To Rock An Online Yard Sale

having a profitable online yard sale is easy witth these tips. image of laptop on blanket on grass

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Have you been wanting to earn some extra cash this year? There are lots of ways to do so, but having an online yard sale is by far one of the most convenient ways to earn some fast cash.

There are many ways to go about hosting an online yard sale and today we’ll discuss how to do so as well as some tips for best practices, so keep reading!

We’re going to cover:

  • How To List Your Items With Complete Info
  • How To Price
  • How Much Detail Is Too Much
  • What Happens When Multiple People Respond Wanting One Item
  • How To Keep The Facebook Drama Out
  • The Payment, Getting Item to Buyer
  • Safety First, Safety Always, How and Where to Meet a Buyer
  • Online Vs Traditional Yardsale Pros and Cons

1. How To List Your Online Yard Sale Items.

If you’re going to list all your items on a buy/sell/trade type page on Facebook, it’s generally better to list them all in a single album rather than congesting the page or group with individual pictures for each of your items. If you’re selling a lot, this is definitely the best way to go.

Keep in mind that each group will have its own set of rules – so make sure to search the group for either a pinned post at the top, files in the files section discussing the rules, or a list of rules in the group description.

One of the upsides of listing multiple pictures/item descriptions in one album is a better buyer experience. A buyer may be looking to buy your dishes and bowls. Another seller may have cups. However, if you also have cups, it’s so much easier for them to buy from one person, so you’ve just increased your total sale.

2. Price Your Items Fairly, Be Willing to Negotiate.

This is an online yard sale, not a Macy’s sale! It should run very similarly to an in-person yard sale! Price your items accordingly. Look around at other marketplace listings and see what others are selling similar items for. You can also look on Craigs List and eBay for research. Remember that people searching online yard sale groups are looking for a bargain. Be willing to negotiate your prices fairly. You could even consider a further discount if someone is purchasing more than one item. Remember, a negotiated sale is better than no sale!

Note: Don’t get into negotiations publicly on social media. Take that conversation to a private message.

3. Give Complete Information, How Much Is Too Much?

Include information like:

  • Color. Green. Really, how many shades of green. Try taking pics as clear (unfiltered) as possible and light or dark green would be great too.
  • Size. Sometimes I see people post a ruler next to pictures or a coin for size reference. That’s great but also give height, width or with clothing, size.

Is it a ‘heavy’ item that requires a truck or more than one person to pick up/ move? State that in description

  • Condition. New, Used, Gently Used, Needs Major Repairs. Things like “Pet Friendly” home, Smoke-Free are also frequently used descriptions.
  • Damage. State clearly what the damage is and include in your pictures. Leave little to no room for debate at the time of the actual sale transaction.
  • Age. If you’re not sure of exact info, use approximately the year item purchased or best guess, but state your best guess of when it was purchased. Did you buy it new? If not, age/date unknown.
  • Why You’re Selling? This is a grey area.

If you’re selling because it was a gift and you already had one, that’s how you are selling brand new, then feel free to go for it. However, honestly, it’s none of their business. Selling because your moving? Again, no one’s business but your own. The less “personal” information you provide the better.

It’s safer this way

No need to have someone think they can use this information for a better deal than you’re already offering!

As a seller, you should be communicating anything that is wrong or defective with the item you’re selling. If it’s something like furniture that needs to be cleaned, express that in your original post so somebody doesn’t come to pick up the item and ultimately decide against it because of the condition. Also, include the location in each of your pictures so people know where they’re going to need to travel to get the item. As a buyer, if you want to negotiate price, comment that you’re interested and then send a personal message to negotiate.

image of words: Golden Rules!  used in article on virtual yard sales and proper way to sell

4. Check The Group Rules Before Hitting Post!

Group rules will typically include things like

  • What can and cannot be listed. (eg; tobacco, alcohol, live animals)
  • Sellers and Buyers Code of Conduct. (no bullying, harassment, who to report problems to)
  • What Happens When Multiple People Respond Wanting One Item? Typically in a buy/sell/trade online yard sale group, there will be rules concerning how to sell your items. Some groups prefer that you sell to the first person who expresses interest (and follows through), but if they end up passing, you can move on to the next person. Some groups will allow you to address your sale as first come, first serve. Just make sure you’re following the rules so your posts don’t get removed so you can successfully complete your online yard sale! Personally, I’d delete all comments under your post as you address them to keep it clean. Facebook allows us to delete comments under our own posts.

5. Posting Your Items, Now What?

Once you post, you want to use the Facebook feature to ‘save’ your post. It will then drop into a saved file. This makes it easier for you to refer back to your listing often.

  • Check listing often for any questions or comments. Respond promptly.
  • Check your message inbox for messages. If you aren’t friends with the person, the message may show up in your messenger as a notification checking that you wish to receive messages from that person. Reply promptly.
  • As items sell, go into your post, edit and remove the photo and description of the item sold. You could just mark it sold but personally, I find that annoying as heck when I’m searching for items and all I find is an old listing of sold items. When you go to the bakery they don’t leave a picture up of the cupcake you ‘could not have’ do they?

6. How To Keep The Facebook Drama Out

One of the biggest attractions to Facebook seems to be the drama, seriously even for politicians! The problem is it is not productive. If you’re looking to make a sale you want to get your item(s) sold and move on with your life, right?

Facebook Drama is a hobby for some. Best way to deter them from haunting you is to be as honest, descriptive and price fair (do your research) as well as following group rules.

When someone comments “it’s ugly” ignore them. Just ignore them or delete their comments. Honestly, they’re looking for attention. Give it to them and they’ll come back for more, then more people will jump in like ants at a picnic. Ignore the drama and they’ll get bored and move on.

Squash Facebook Drama in Virtual Marketplace and Yard Sale groups quickly.  Image of 3 women in suits showing fists

7. How To Get Paid For Your Online Yard Sale

Cash transactions are the most common. Remember to ask the buyer to bring exact change or you will be unable to sell to them. An online yard sale is typically with a local person. They are more likely, to be honest. A dishonest person can be spotted on a dashcam, a home video camera, etc. However, be very clear upfront about what you expect for payment.

At the time of purchase, be sure the buyer has a chance to look at what they are buying so there is no doubts an hour or day or two later. All sales should be final.

  • DON’T let them say “Sorry, I only have a $100 bill, I’ll be back with the correct amount” (after putting the item in their car).
  • DON’T let them say “just leave it outside and I’ll leave money taped to your door”.
  • DON’T take gift cards in exchange or personal checks. Just Don’t.
  • DON’T take a coffee can of unrolled coins. Unless you’re willing to stand there counting it all yourself. Most grocery stores have coin counters for a fee.
  • I know, most people are honest but don’t give someone a reason to be dishonest. Be clear you will only accept payment in full prior to giving them the item.

Other ways to get paid are via PayPal or Venmo. These are safe ways to receive and give payments for both the buyer and the seller.

7. ALWAYS Meet In A Public Place!

When somebody decides to buy your items, pick a well-lit (daytime is best) public location to meet in for drop-off and money exchange. Never invite someone into your house as you don’t know the person.

Many police stations allow you do this right in their parking lots. I have met in retail parking lots that are known for surveillance cameras and great lighting. For retail parking lots, I would still suggest during operating hours only.

It’s better to be safe always so meeting in public is a must 99% of the time.

Now, there are large-item purchases when this isn’t possible. In this case, you want to make sure there is another adult present with you at all times. Be sure you have a charged phone with you and if you have home surveillance, make the home meeting in sight of the camera. I have two german shepherds I keep on leash with me whenever a stranger needs to be at the house. They’re capable of not being leashed but I am looking to keep them safe also. I still have a 2nd adult present at all times.

For tips on hosting a ‘live’ yard sale, check out these tips by clicking HERE.

Helpful Tips To Increase Future Online Yard Sale Success

  • Thank you! A great tip for repeat customers and well, just a nice thing to do is to drop a line to the purchaser after the sale and thank them for purchasing from you.  As a buyer, you want to feel appreciated and not only getting a great deal but that you chose the right person to buy from,. A quick note goes a long way in establishing relationships.
  • Upsell, inform the buyer of future sale items. Are you cleaning out your kid’s toys? a garage of sporting equipment? An overflowing craft closet? If you are in clean-out mode, you may be listing in yard sale ‘groups’ as you clean. If someone takes a particular interest in your kids’ toys and you know you’ll have more, let them know. Possibly even clean them up and let buyer know letting the buyer have first dibs.
  • Pre-sell. Do you know you have a huge room filled with stuff that has to be gone before you move? Post a general list of these items in the FB group and see if there’s an interest ‘before’ you post a whole album of pics. You may be able to arrange selling half of that room without as much effort. Buyers get in on an early deal too!
  • Larger Items take longer to sell. If you’re listing with a goal in mind to have things gone by a certain date, get those larger ‘non-necessity’ items listed first.
  • Clean and Shiny sells for more. Take time to dust off, polish, shine up your stuff before taking pics.

Set up your own online yard sale group or page with tips found HERE.

Pros and Cons Of A Virtual Yard Sale

Only you can decide what’s o.k. with you. What may be a pro for me could be a con for you. Figuring out what sells best where is always a factor too.

Yard Sale
vsTraditionalAt Home
Yard Sale
Open 24/7
7 days
a week
Typically on
Year RoundSeasonal
Larger AudienceLimited to Local
Neighborhood and
Less Negotiating
More Haggling,
deal making
More Scams/ SafetyLess Scams
Facebook Group DramaMuch Less Drama
Can Take A Long Time
to Find Right Buyer with
So Many Sellers
You’re it. No competition
unless you do a
neghborhood yard sale
Larger Items take longer,
require more questions, then
factor in how they will move
Easier to sell larger items,
most buyers of large items are
prepared with a pickup or
one nearby.
Impulse shopping depends
on who is looking through
the sites.
Impulse buying is much more
likely at an in-person yard sale.

Most importantly, follow the rules and be courteous to other sellers and buyers. The more often you interact in these groups buying or selling people will learn to trust you and you’ll become more successful.

If an issue arises, tag the admin of the Facebook group you’re trying to sell in and they should handle it accordingly. Happy selling!

How To ROCK An Online Yard Sale - thinking about purging some of your extra stuff to earn money this year? It's a great way to build a savings and you can do it online!

Matt R

Hi, my name is Matt and I'm the founder of Barefoot Budgeting. This site is dedicated to one thing... helping you budget and save money.

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