This article on the Facebook Marketplace was originally written in 2014. And, WOW have things changed since then! Please see my updated notes at the bottom for new tips on buying and selling in the Facebook marketplace.
Are you a part of any Facebook Marketplaces in your area? I’d estimate I’m in 20 different marketplaces in my county, ranging from furniture & home goods to crafts & homemade items, and everything in between.
Whether you’re new or seasoned, I have some tips from buyers and sellers, and even from a couple of group administrators that can help you get the most for your money, completely headache-free!
Tips for Selling on a Facebook Marketplace:
- Admin tip: Read through the group policy, usually pinned to the top of the group page. Some will not allow you to cross-post, meaning post the same item in different groups. That just opens up a whole bag o’ crazy trying to keep track of who was next in line!
- Admin tip: Watch several transactions take place before jumping in. See how the conversations flow, ask questions.
- Take a decent photo: The best photos have a contrasting, solid background – crop out your spouse/kid/dog sleeping on the couch and potato chip bag on the coffee table, please! (I’ve seen it, for reals).
- Price your items to sell, at or slightly above garage sale prices. That gives you a little wiggle room for negotiating, but probably 75% of what I have sold the buyer never asks to if I would take lower.
- Post in the correct category: Don’t post a blender in women’s clothing because you think women would be the one wanting a blender. #Seriously.
- Be quick in responding (also when buying): This is simple courtesy. No one wants to get excited because they’re the first to respond to a deal, and you don’t get back to them for 48 hours. See the group’s rules for acceptable timeframes. And have grace, not everyone is mobile and can respond in 15 seconds or less.
- Meet in person off-site for higher priced items. I’m sure this goes without saying, but don’t leave cash laying on your doorstep for 10 hours. If you work from home or stay at home, you might be comfortable with leaving your sold items in a tote on your porch and collect cash once the item has been picked up. Otherwise, find a safe meeting spot close to home to make your transaction.
Here’s an example of a perfect Facebook Marketplace transaction. The seller posted details of her item, her general location, and price. Someone responded, then the seller replied that she private messaged the first responder. One additional person expressed interest by commenting “Next”. If the first buyer passes, the seller will go to the next one in line.
Tips for Buying on a Facebook Marketplace:
- Line jumping is not a sport on the marketplace! If there is more than one person ahead of you, simply put “in line” in your comment, and any respectable seller will move down the list, in order, should the first responder pass on the item. Don’t type in “Quick pick-up! I need this item ASAP because my dog is dying and my car broke down and my boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife left me.” Wait your turn like everyone else.
- Do any bartering before pickup. Some like to do this via a Facebook private message.
- Inspect item upon pickup. It’s ok to pass!
- Learn the terms: Similar to selling on eBay or Craig’s List, learn the terms so you know what the heck people are talking about. PPU = pending pick-up; EUC = excellent used condition; NWOT = new without tags, etc.
In this photo (above), you can see some examples of items bought/sold on the marketplace. I bought the two framed art prints (still with $29.99 price tags on the back, each) for $4 each to go near our bar in the basement. The two pairs of jeans are a prop I borrowed from my neighbor, and she paid $10 on the Facebook marketplace for the Paige jeans (retail $150-$200) and $5 for the Limited jeans (retail $50-75).
Is it time consuming? It can be. Factor in your time taking and uploading your photo. Turn off your notifications so your Facebook newsfeed doesn’t become inundated with marketplace deals. And some do complain that there are no-shows when an item is scheduled to be picked up.
Is it safe? I believe so, especially when you can meet someone off-site if you are concerned in any way. As with any online communication or transaction, be smart. One admin told me she’s seen people put their street address within a comment (instead of private messaging). That would be not smart.
Is it fun? Yeah, I’ll admit it’s pretty fun! I sell most of my kids’ clothes and toys through Indy Kids Sale twice a year, but I have had some decent success with home decor, household items and my own clothing. I save up my cash from selling for some “fun money”, spending it on shoes or a purse, you know, girlie things like that. Another friend of mine sold her entire living room furniture set through the Facebook marketplace, and used that money to put toward her new set.
2017 Update on Facebook Marketplace Buying & Selling
After reading through my original article dating back to 2014, surprisingly many facts and nuggets of wisdom are the same. Play nice, wait your turn, don’t be a line jumper and show up if you agree to meet.
What HAS changed:
- Facebook has now changed the look of these groups and the look of posts themselves. When it first became a “thing”, buy/sell posts looked much like your standard Facebook post in your newsfeed. Now, there are sections for item name, price, location and description.
- You can also see from the blue callout box, that now when you post to a group you have the option to select more groups or even “THE” Marketplace. By increasing the number of groups your item is posted in, more eyeballs will see it and it could potentially sell faster.
- Another change … messaging buyers and sellers to communicate around a possible sale is super easy. Under the item’s photo is a box that says “Message Seller”. And when you have possible buyers indicating their interest in a comment, right under the person’s name is “Like”, “Reply” and “Message”.
- And, if you choose to lower the price it will put a slash through the original price, the original price is red and the new lower price is in green. This is a nice, eye-catching change.