How to Buy/Sell like an Expert on Facebook Marketplace

If you read my other blog posts, you will see that I do a lot of buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace. I like it better than sites like Craigslist since there is a comfort level with being able to do some vetting of the seller (or buyer). Since I have been doing this for a few years, I have compiled some tips for both selling and buying that will help get more money for your listings and to make the buying process more successful.

Also, this goes with selling and buying on a forum that connects strangers with each other: stay safe. Opt to meet someone in a public place or what I like even better – a contactless porch pickup. Don’t enter someone’s house or even complete the transaction if you are uncomfortable in any way.

Selling on Facebook Marketplace

The first part that I am going to discuss is selling. You can make a decent amount of money selling things you don’t need on Facebook Marketplace. It is easier than having a yard sale (unless you have a lot of stuff to sell) and better than listing on a site like Craigslist. I like Facebook Marketplace since you can vet the buyer a little bit more than more anonymous sites like Craigslist, and there is a better seller’s interface to use.

Here are some tips to get the most money for your items and have a better experience overall.

Don’t Be Lazy – Set a Price

When you want to list something on Marketplace, do a little research on other listings and have a price set.

Ad for plates on Facebook Marketplace that is listed for free, but is actually not free and wants the buyer to make an offer.

When I see posts like this, I want to just move on to the next item, even if I am really interested in it. Do some research and have a price set on the ad. You can have a price a little higher than you expect to get knowing that you will negotiate. However, unless you have a one-of-a-kind item that you can’t find anywhere, don’t list it as FREE and then expect your buyers to do the work for you. You are missing out on a lot of buyers this way.

Add Details in the Description

Another good way to increase interest and keep from being messaged with lots of questions is to add a good description. The description in the listing should have dimensions and condition (used, new in package, any damage) at the minimum. However, it is best to add even more details, such as:

  • What did you use it for?
  • What are the dimensions?
  • What are some ideas for it? I have seen a roaster pan that someone was selling that linked a few recipes, that was a nice touch.
  • Does it come from a smoke-free, pet-free (or pet-friendly) environment?
  • What are the pickup details (porch pick up, no contact, meet in a public location, etc.)?
  • What are the payment details (Venom, PayPal, cash only, etc.)?

A good, detailed description is going to enhance a buyer’s understanding of the item, get better search results, and increase your potential sales.

Don’t Be Rude in Description

Another part of an ad write-up that makes me just move on to the next item is rudeness in the description. I have seen phrases like “Don’t message me asking if it is still available because I won’t answer” or “If you message Is this still available, I will not respond to you”. Other phrases have to do with not wanting to negotiate on price. If you don’t want to go down on price a simple “The price is firm” statement is suffice. I have seen ones that are much more rude than that.

I understand you will get a long list of messages that are asking, “Is this still available?” This unfortunately is just part of the process of selling. It is best to answer “Yes” and then move on, or if someone tries to negotiate lower on a price that you don’t like, then either ignore or message them back that the price is firm.

Take Good Photos

Taking good photos is paramount to getting buyers interested and getting the best price for your item.

Facebook Marketplace add that shows a very blurry and upside-down photo of what appears to be a doll.

Weird angles, blurriness, messiness around the photo, and wrong orientations (upside-down or sideways) on photos will cause potential buyers to just scroll past your item. In this photo, the item on the bottom left has several of these issues. The photo is upside and extremely blurry so buyers won’t really know what you are trying to sell. Taking a better oriented, clear photos would improve this listing a lot.

Be Mindful of Photo Cropping on Facebook Marketplace

A Facebook Marketplace add that only shows part of the item up for sale. It is hard to tell what it actually is.

Facebook Marketplace will take the first photo in the set of you upload to be the “cover” photo. This cover photo will show up in the gallery view of listings when buyers scroll through what is available. These cover photos are shown as a small square size. Since most photos are taken using a phone are portrait or landscape, there are going to be parts of the photo that are cropped off. For the item on the top right, it is hard to tell what the item actually is since a good part of the photo is cropped. When taking photos:

  • Make sure the photo that is listed first is taken from a little further away since you want to see the full item in this gallery view. This action allows for a border around the item that can be cropped, and your buyers will still be able to see the item you want to sell.
  • Take the photo on a clean background without other things in the way so it doesn’t look like something important is being cut off.

Buying on Facebook Marketplace

On the other side of Facebook Marketplace is buying. I get a lot of my materials and fabric for my crafts on the Marketplace – most of the time for free. These are my tips for getting what you want.

Be Kind in Messenging

If you find something you really want, contact the seller not just with a “Is this available” standard message, but with a friendly message with more details. Something like: “If this is still available, I would be happy to come by and pick it up today. Thanks.”

Having a friendly tone goes a long way to helping you get a good response from the seller and cut through all of the other “Is this available messages.”

Don’t Try to Talk Down Too Early

Part of buying and selling on a platform like Facebook Marketplace is negotiating. Some sellers are willing to negotiate, and some are firm on their price. Depending on the selling situation, you need to take different tactics.

If the listing is just hours old, you probably will not have a good chance playing hardball and coming out of the gate with trying to talk them down. It is better to tread in this situation softly. Message, the seller, saying something like, “I love this XXXX, and if it is still available, I am interested in it. ls the price firm or negotiable?” You are more likely to get an answer this way and keep the conversation going. If they message back that they are firm and you think the price is too high. Thank them and let them know what price you are interested in, and you will check back. Since you messaged them, you will have saved the conversation and can keep an eye on the item. Also, Facebook will let you know if they changed the price. I have been able to get a lot of stuff for free or under $5 because I kept watching.

If the list is over a week old, then you have a little more negotiation power. You can message the seller with something like, “If this is still available, would you be willing to take $XX for it? I can pick it up today.” Being friendly and to the point without irritating the seller can go a long way.

Connect with the Seller

My final tip is to try to connect with the seller in some way. Don’t give away too much personal information, but try to explain what you want to do with the item you are buying. I bought a small 5’x8′ trailer that was listed for a great price and was located close to me. We were looking at converting something to a camper, and this was perfect. I knew they were getting lots of messages about it, so I explained what I wanted to do with it. I was messaged back right away telling me that if I wanted it, it was mine. The idea of taking the trailer and converting it to a camper was intriguing to them.

I buy curtains and make them into gift/tote backs and can often get them for a better price just because I explained a little about what I am doing with them. I will message something like, “If this is still available, I love to sew reusable gift bags out of these, and the print is adorable on your curtains. They would make great bags. Is the price firm?”