1.PREPARE: Determine the items around your home that you no longer need. Once you have collected these items, confirm that they are in working order and in good selling condition. If items have been in storage for a long period of time, you may need to clean them up to make them more attractive to potential buyers.
2.RESEARCH: After all items are collected, do your research. Determine the value of your items and decide whether it would be worth you time and effort to place a classified ad. Some things will do well on their own while others may do better in a garage sale setting. If certain items do not have enough value to justify placing an advertisement and you are not interested in hosting a garage sale, donate these items to a local charity for a nice tax deduction.
3.WHERE TO ADVERTISE: Once you have the items sorted out, you need to decide the best method of advertising. Most items will do best advertised in your daily newspaper since you will be able to reach a local audience. Online classifieds generally do not receive as many local buyers, but most are free so you may want to place an ad there as well just to cover all the bases. If you are selling a larger item such as a car, motorcycle, motor home, etc., you will also want to place prominent for sale signs on the items themselves. You can also utilize bulletin boards in your local community to post a free advertisement.
4.DRAFTING YOUR AD: What are the most attractive selling features of your items for sale? Decide which of these features you want to highlight in your advertisement. Look for classified ads for similar items to get an idea of how they are written. Check out the competition to see how your item is better or different than the items that will be running along side your ad.
5.WRITING YOUR AD: Create a catchy title to get your reader's attention. This will spark an interest in your classified ad. Always include the brand name when applicable. Price should only be included in the title if it is an obvious selling point. Next, you need to write the body text of your ad and entice buyers even further with the details. Make your description clear and factual. Provide specific details in what it is that makes your item stand out from the others. Be honest in your representation and do not make your item appear better than it actually is. Always include the price in your ad. Take some time to view other classified ads for similar items in your newspaper. This will help you determine a fair asking price for your item. Keep in mind, just because you paid $1,500 for your dining room set, does not mean you will receive that much for it on resale. Be realistic in your expectations. Furthermore, if you will only be available during certain times of the day to discuss your item, make a note of this in your advertisement so buyers know the best time to reach you. If possible, include your email address.
6.INCLUDING PHOTOS: A picture is worth a thousand words. Some local newspapers provide you with the option to include photos with your classified ad. Be sure to include the photos! When buyers have the opportunity to see an article for sale they have a higher degree of interest and are more likely to buy when they follow up by telephone or email to ask questions or to get more information. If your newspaper does not offer photos or the photo option is too expensive, you can use an online classified photo hosting service. Visit http://www.seethisitem.com for information on how to include free digital photos with your newspaper ad.
7.COMMUNICATING WITH BUYERS: Do your best to be available when customers call for information regarding your item. Be polite and helpful and answer all questions to the best of your knowledge.
8.SCHEDULING APPOINTMENTS: If you receive numerous calls for your item, be sure to space out the appointments so that you will have enough time to spend with each buyer and your appointments will not overlap. Safety tip: Whenever possible, have someone home with you when a buyer is coming over to look at your item. You really can never be too careful when dealing with people you have never met before.
9.NEGOTIATION: Decide before you negotiate, the lowest amount you will be willing to accept for your item. This will assure a smoother negotiation process.
10.PAYMENT: Never accept a check for your item. You should only accept cash or money orders. If a buyer decides they want the item, but they do not have cash on them, always take a deposit to hold the item until they are able to come back. Be sure to set a deadline for them to return with the balance due. Even though you have a deposit, do not stop showing your item since the deal is not final until you have the cash in your hand. If someone else is also interested, tell them you just received an offer, but you will be happy to take down their name and number in case the deal falls through. This will give you more options should the original buyer back out of the sale.
That's it! Keep these selling tips in mind and you will be on the road to a successful sale. Take your time, be thorough and most of all have fun! If you follow the steps outlined above, you will be turning your unused items into cash in no time.