Monday, February 12, 2007

Tricks of the trade

I'm sitting here waiting for a Craig's List buyer. This handmade chest of drawers never found a place in this house, so my mom asked me to list it on her behalf. Even though I've had a dozen emails, I'm still nervous about the selling part! I try to do everything to make an item sell itself.

Here are a few of my tricks for maximizing profit:

Don't show an item in a dusty garage. Put it in the nicest, cleanest room of your house.
Clean and polish first. I don't have time to wax the whole piece again, so I put a fresh coat of BriWax on the top, the most visible part.
Think like an antique store! Since this chest has a country feel, I placed two pieces of redware on top. They're not for sale, but items of known quality enhance the buyer's first impression.
UPDATED TO ADD: Check the comments for some prudent discussion about safety. Also, I sold the chest of drawers to a nice young mom and HER mom!


Carrie J said...

Could you talk about what safety measures you use when having someone come into your home to purchase or look at something. I know here there have been a couple of case where people have been robbed by someone coming to check out an item they listed for sale.

Someone Beautiful said...

I set a time when my husband will be home, and if possible, move the item to the front; so we can keep the door open. I heard a good idea is to move the iten to your porch just before they get there (or as they are driving up).
I like that one thouh I love your idea for keeping it in a pretty space at least for the picture. One time I did let a lady come when I was alone, and she would not leave until I asked her to, and then she needed the restroom. It didn't feel right. She seemed to just want to hang out, but it got creepy as a half an hour went by.

Anonymous said...

You're right to be ultra-cautious. I never invite anyone in unless my husband is also home. We actually do place most of our items out on the front steps--as much for convenience as anything else. Sometimes we must run an errand and don't want to be chained to a buyer who may or may not show up. However, for sofas or some furniture, that's just not possible.

I also put the children in their bedrooms while I meet with the buyer and keep the phone, if not in my hand, then at the ready.

Carrie said...

When we're selling a larger piece of furniture, we schedule the buyer at a time when my husband is home. If it's a smaller item, I will usually meet them at a gas station or fast food restaurant during daylight hours.

Kim said...

I let my hubby handle all parts of the Craig's List transactions for us. I feel safer that way. The most frustrating thing we've found in dealing with people on CL is the flakiness in whether or not they'll actually show up. We've had a LOT of situations where the buyer backed out after committing to come by and just changed their mind. And we had to call or email them to find that out! Grrr.

MommyLydia said...

Yes, -- And PLEASE make sure your children know not to go to the door.

When I was a freshmen in high school, we were friends with a lady whose daughter had been kidnapped and killed by someone coming to the door to look at something advertised in the paper. The parents were away when he came and Kandy opened the door anyway and was evidently snatched right there.

Mrs.Martin said...

The dresser is a beautiful piece!
The wood is grainy and so polished.

Where do you go to buy furniture?

Anonymous said...

Another safety idea...when scheduling a time for buyers, don't get into dialogue that is them asking "how about this time" and you replying "no, we won't be home then"--basically telling a potential thief when to come by. Instead offer the times you are available.

Anonymous said...

I'll give someone an close intersection so they can get an idea where they are coming, but I don't give directions until a definite time is set. I also don't give directions if we're about to be gone and the person knows it. (For instance, if we discussed meeting after church, I will not give directions until we are home from church.)
Craig's List buyers are unbelievably fickle! I cannot count the number of times someone sets up a time and then never comes. I've learned to NEVER hold an item for someone. They will invariably back out, and the other people who inquired in the meantime will have found something else. First come, first serve only for us.
I had someone just he other day drive over an hour to look at something, and he was concerned about the color when he got here. There were four pictures in the listing, all of which showed the color. He went back out to the car to talk to his wife, and then they just left, without even saying anything more to us. Just weird!

Anonymous said...

So did the buyer show up and buy the dresser? If not I would be interested. Can you send me a link to the craigs list posting?

emmylance at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have not had any success with Craig's List so far - we've listed some electronics and a piece of jewelry.
Freecycle has been more successful for me and as we're in an apartment building, I've usually opted to meet people out front or given thorough directions only after a time is confirmed. I've still had several no-shows, even going with first come, first serve. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Robin, you're absolutely right about fickle buyers. I expect three no-shows for every sale, even if they REALLY REALLY REALLY want it. For instance, I had an eight o'clock appt. which was a no show, then the woman who showed at eleven wanted it, but needed to wait until she got paid in a week (!), then the third woman came and bought it right then, when I let her know I could not hold it until her husband could come pick it up. It is fine if she wants to pay for it and pick it up later in the day, but I never, never hold items.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Martin,

All the furniture in my home--every piece, actually--is secondhand. That chest came from a country estate sale. The owner was an elderly German woman whose husband had made it. She dyed it with iodine, which gave the dark variation in the grain. The inside drawers were constructed of scrap woods. My mom paid $15. A couple of years ago I waxed it with Briwax.