An Overview of Facebook Online Yard and Garage Sales
Selling your items has never been easier now that Facebook has online yard and garage sale groups for almost every city. These pages are often created by individual Facebook users who allow residents of the surrounding area to join. These pages are a great alternative to Craigslist, eBay, and other forms of advertising.
When I moved across country, I had two rooms full of stuff and only one car in which to pack everything I needed. I decided that I would like to make as much of a profit as I could on the items that I couldn't take with me, so I took to Facebook to find out if there was a way to sell it. What I discovered was that there were several local online sales groups for my area. I quickly joined one and began to read over its rules.
Before long, I was selling items left and right. There were a few times a sale fell through, but I knew about the possibility of that happening, especially since I was negotiating with people I had never met. Thankfully, I was able to sell most of my items and I ended up donating the rest to Goodwill.
I wanted to share my experiences with you so that if you ever consider joining one of these groups to sell items, you will know what to expect and how to get the best response from potential buyers.
How Do I Find Local Facebook Groups?
On a laptop or desktop, look in the sidebar for “Find New Groups.” On a cell phone, hit the “More” button to find this same option. A list four options should pop up:
Online Yard and Garage Sale Terminology, Abbreviations, and Acronyms
Groups often utilize the same terminology, so make sure you are familiar with each term:
- Bump - This is often posted in the comments section of a picture so that the item is placed back at the top of the feed. Most limit the amount of times you can bump an item.
- Pending - This usually means that an item is pending pickup (and may also be displayed as 'pp' or 'ppu').
- Porch pickup - You may see that an item is only available for porch pickup. The seller and buyer must agree on how this exchange is going to go. Typically, the seller leaves the item in a place outdoors and the buyer places the money in an envelope in a previously-agreed-upon hidden spot. I have never done a porch pickup so if you try it, please proceed with caution.
- Cross-posted or xp - If you see someone mention either of these, that means that the item is also advertised on another page. Sellers are encouraged to do this so that buyers know that just because there might not be any comments below the picture, the item still could have been sold to someone in a different group. This is common in the larger metro areas where there are several parts of town.
- ISO - If someone is looking for a particular item, you may see ISO. This means 'in search of.'
- PM - This stands for 'private message.' Someone may ask you to send them a pm if you are interested in the item for sale.
- Next - People use this to let the seller know they are interested in the item if someone has already shown interest before them.
- NWT - The item is new with tags.
- NWOT - The item is new without tags.
I can't even begin to tell you how important it is to read the rules of each group! I have seen people get kicked out because they didn't obey the rules and/or were disrespectful.
Post Your Items for Sale
Now that you understand the terminology and have (hopefully) read over the rules, it's time to get your items sold! Understand that sometimes items sell quickly and other times they don't. I suggest doing some research on your items to see how they should be priced.
To begin, you will want to have a good picture of the merchandise. Some groups allow you to have multiple photos and others only allow you to have one. Also, some require that you have an album while others say you can post pictures individually. Whatever that group says is what you should follow! You will notice the photo of the bed that I wanted to sell. My Facebook online yard sale group only allowed one image per photo, so I used an app on my phone that allowed me to take two photos and combine them in to one collage so that I could show different angles.
When you have your picture, make sure you add a good description. In the description, include:
- Condition (used, new, gently used, etc.)
- Location (you don't have to give your address, but at least give a general area of where you are)
Once you have your picture and description filled out, it's time to post your item! Some groups allow you to post yourself and others require approval by an administrator. If you post the item yourself, you should be able to see it on the feed right away.
Selling Your Items
Congratulations on getting to this step! Now that you've had your item(s) posted, you should start getting some interest from potential buyers. You should receive a notification every time someone comments or likes an item. The likes don't typically mean much, but the comments are very important. Look out for and respond quickly to any questions from potential buyers.
If a buyer says they are interested, type a comment under your photo that tags their name and tells them you are sending them a pm (private message). You should also mention that the buyer should check their 'other' folder as Facebook often doesn't put messages from people who aren't your friend in your regular inbox. Ask the buyer if they would like any additional information about the item and if they are wanting to buy at with the terms listed. Buyers will often want to negotiate the price, so make sure that you are okay with whatever you agree on.
Once you come to an agreement on the price, decide how the sale is going to occur. I've met people in CVS or grocery parking lots, and I've had some people come to my house. It's completely up to you and what you're comfortable with doing. Make sure you set a time and get the person's phone number in case something changes. Also, I highly recommend making sure the buyer pays you in cash. This prevents problems with bounced checks and any other money drama that could occur.
Congratulations! It's Sold!
Once you've sold your item, it's time to delete it from the online group(s) you posted it on. You should be able to do this by going to the photos section, or by using the little magnifying glass in the right top corner of the page and searching your name.
Congratulations! You are done with that sale and can move on to the next.