How to Use Craigslist (with Pictures) - wikiHow (2024)

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Create and respond to Craigslist ads from your computer, phone, or tablet

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1Posting on Craigslist

2Responding to Craigslist Ads

3Buying and Selling on Craigslist

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Tips and Warnings

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Last Updated: October 9, 2022References

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Craigslist began in 1995 as a simple email forum for buying and selling, and it has since grown to revamp the world of free classified advertising. Over 700 cities and 70 countries have their own dedicated Craigslist sites that are used for job advertising, buying and selling goods, dating, forums and much more.[1] Before using Craigslist, take some time to become familiar with its format by perusing your local Craigslist site and then start using best practices to get the best results.

Part 1

Part 1 of 3:

Posting on Craigslist

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  1. 1

    Become proficient in searching your local Craigslist. Run a search query that includes the name of your city and the word “Craigslist.” Find your local site and bookmark it for easy future access.

  2. 2

    Peruse the different sections of the site, such as housing, personals, jobs, for sale and community. Get to know the general architecture of the site and the general etiquette for posting.


  3. 3

    Decide how you would most benefit from posting on Craigslist. Choose a classified listing category in which you want to post. Note that there are a few rare cases that require payment, including posting jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area or other larger cities, selling cars or trucks, posting therapeutic ads, posting tickets or posting brokered apartment rentals in New York City.[2]

  4. 4

    Post only when you are ready to check back regularly. Since the newest posts appear at the top, you will get the majority of responses to your post within the first two to 24 hours. Be ready to respond to take advantage of Craigslist’s social power.

    • Craigslist asks that you post to a single category and single location only once within 48 hours for each topic.
  5. 5

    Find the “Post” link in the upper right hand corner of the page. Click on it. Select the type of post you are offering, such as “event” or “housing offered.”

  6. 6

    Answer any additional questions for that category by selecting the radio button that describes your post.

  7. 7

    Enter text for your post, including a posting title and description. Be specific and specify a limited time, amount of money or qualification required. Use the best possible keywords in the title, so that people can search for your listing.

  8. 8

    Enter your personal email. Unless you want your personal email to show up on the listing, select the radio button to use a craigslist coded email relay. This allows you to use your email to receive messages, but still remain anonymous on the site itself.

  9. 9

    Type your email address again and click “Continue.” Upload up to 12 images, if it applies to your listing. If you are selling items, you should always include images that help the viewer to see the condition of the item.

  10. 10

    Confirm your email and post. Preview it and edit it before it goes live. If you like how it looks, publish it.

  11. 11

    Check your email for a Craigslist email. It may arrive in your junk mail. Confirm your post and it will go live. Be ready to respond to posts almost immediately.[3]

    • Save the confirmation email so that you can return to the post to remove it or edit it in the future.
  12. 12

    Don’t give your address information out to anyone unless you have contacted them and you are certain of your safety. You may choose to arrange meetings at a separate location to better protect yourself.

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Part 2

Part 2 of 3:

Responding to Craigslist Ads

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  1. 1

    Peruse Craigslist ads in your state or city. Find an ad that you want to respond to.

  2. 2

    Consider using the option to email the post to a friend, if you want to look at the ad later. Click on the link “Email to a Friend” below the listing. Type in your email and the ad will appear in your inbox until you are ready to respond.

  3. 3

    Go to the ad and click the “Reply” button at the top left hand side of the page. View the contact information for the post, including the name, a telephone number and the email relay. You can choose to call instead of emailing, if an email is provided and you want to expedite the process.

  4. 4

    Copy the email address at the bottom if you want to email the author of the post. Paste it into your preferred email program. Compose and send your email, taking care not to include personal information until you are confident that the post is not fraudulent.

  5. 5

    Look out for a response. Generally, the sooner you reply to the post, the more likely you are to get results from it.[4]

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Part 3

Part 3 of 3:

Buying and Selling on Craigslist

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  1. 1

    Become familiar with what items are best for buying and selling on Craigslist. Many people use it primarily for furniture, technology, events and job postings. You may find you get better results selling smaller items on eBay or Amazon, since people are more accustomed to those forums for used items.

  2. 2

    Comparison shop before you buy. Search online for the purchase price of a used item. Take into account the condition of the item as well. If you are selling on Craigslist, use this method to set your price.

  3. 3

    Determine whether the seller is willing to bargain on the post. Usually, the seller will indicate a price and add “OBO” or “or best offer” if they want to get rid of it quickly. If demand is likely to be high, you are more likely to need to buy it at the full listed price.

  4. 4

    Check back frequently for listings. Being one of the first people to respond is your best chance to get the item.

  5. 5

    Offer to pick up the item at the convenience of the seller if you want to stand out from other responders. Convenience and reliability are good reasons for someone to write you back and arrange the sale.

  6. 6

    Try to speak to the person and confirm the address and time before you buy or sell. Always bring someone else with you to help with transportation and provide an assurance of safety.

  7. 7

    Be specific with your item description and images when you are selling. You want to ensure a happy, direct customer, and the best way to do so is to be honest about the condition, the model and the location.

  8. 8

    Offer delivery service if you want to get rid of an item quickly. Be sure to specify whether delivery or pick-up is desired. Also, specify what types of payment are accepted.

    • With Craigslist, the standard is cash on delivery.
  9. 9

    Don’t respond to post replies that aren’t specific about the item. You may get spam responses.

  10. 10

    Repost your ad every 48 hours to remain relevant on the chronological list. This is the most that Craigslist’s general rules allow. Breaking those rules may result in getting a post removed.[5]

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      • Use Craigslist to search for a specific wanted item with Google Alerts. Sign into Google, and then set up an alert for a search term. Type in the term or terms and then add the site that you want to search. For example, “oak desk site: Instruct the alert to contact you once a day or as changes happen and new listings will appear in your email.


        Helpful2Not Helpful0

      • As a courtesy and safety measure, remove your post as soon as you’ve completed the desired sale or action. You will no longer receive messages related to the classified ad following the removal.


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      • Consider using the “Free” item column if you simply want to get rid of an item. In some cities, you can simply place the item on a cross street and post that it is there. People will peruse the ads and pick up desired items from the street.


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      • Beware that Craigslist is sometimes used for fraudulent postings and scams. You should always protect your identity and take another person with you when responding to a Craigslist ad. Craigslist’s ability to disguise personal information means that you must be vigilant when vetting posts.


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      How to Sell Your Items on CraigslistHow toSell a Car on Craigslist
      How toPost Ads to CraigslistHow toEmail People on CraigslistHow toAdvertise a Garage Sale on CraigslistHow toSell Furniture on CraigslistHow to Sign Up for a Craigslist Seller AccountHow toSearch All of Craigslist NationwideHow toPost Pictures on Craigslist on iPhone or iPadHow to Accept Payments on Craigslist: Best Ways to Stay SafeHow toBuy on CraigslistHow toSpot Car Scams on CraigslistHow toSell an RV on Craigslist


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      Co-authors: 7

      Updated: October 9, 2022


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      How to Use Craigslist (with Pictures) - wikiHow (48)


      How to Use Craigslist (with Pictures) - wikiHow (2024)


      How do you sell on Craigslist for beginners? ›

      How to sell an item on Craigslist
      1. Select your location if it's not already set to the right city. ...
      2. If you're selling a personal item, you probably need to choose "for sale by owner," then click "Continue." ...
      3. Complete the form to indicate what you're selling and include as many details as possible for potential buyers.
      Nov 12, 2020

      How does buying stuff on Craigslist work? ›

      Listings on Craigslist are just like traditional newspaper classified ads. All transactions are between you and the seller; Craigslist is just the “middleman.” That means when you purchase an item from a Craigslist seller, expect to pick up the item in person and pay in cash.

      How to safely buy from Craigslist? ›

      1. Deal locally. It's always safest to finalize a transaction in person. ...
      2. Examine the product before finalizing a sale. ...
      3. Don't accept or send a cashier's check, certified check or money order as payment. ...
      4. Use cash — safely. ...
      5. Don't share your personal information.

      What is the best picture format for Craigslist? ›

      Like GIF files, PNG images can be restricted to a limited color range and can include transparency. However, like JPG files, they can also produce good quality photos. PNG files offer a wider range of options and work well for all types of Craigslist image.

      How do I post pictures to Craigslist from my phone? ›

      About This Article
      1. Go in a web browser.
      2. Tap Post.
      3. Select a post type and tap Continue.
      4. Select a post category and tap Continue.
      5. Fill out the form and tap Continue.
      6. Provide a location and tap Continue.
      Mar 31, 2019

      What should I not do when selling on Craigslist? ›

      Avoid adding any personal information in the posting, including your name, real phone number or real email address. Always use the generated email address on your Craigslist posts.

      What is the fastest selling item on Craigslist? ›

      12 Items That Currently Sell the Most Money On Craigslist
      • Home Appliances. Gently used or well-maintained appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers are always in demand. ...
      • Furniture. ...
      • Electronics. ...
      • Cars and Motorcycles. ...
      • Power Tools. ...
      • Sporting Goods. ...
      • Garden Equipment. ...
      • Tech Accessories.
      Jan 24, 2024

      How does Craigslist make money if it's free? ›

      Craigslist's business model is based on providing a free classified advertisem*nt platform to users. They generate revenue by charging users a fee to post some types of ads in select cities and by running paid banner ads.

      Is it safe to give an address on Craigslist? ›

      Don't share personal details. Never disclose your personal or financial information to strangers online. There is no need for your Craigslist contact to know your bank account number, home address, or date of birth. You might share your cell phone number with someone you are meeting in person, but not more.

      How to spot fake Craigslist responses? ›

      If the buyer's email fails to make any specific reference to the item you're selling but rather refers to "the item" or uses other generic terms, there is a good chance that the reply to your ad is the work of a scammer copying and pasting replies to as many potential victims as possible.

      How to negotiate with a seller on Craigslist? ›

      To summarize:
      1. Avoid Craigslist professionals running arbitrage schemes.
      2. Call them rather than email them.
      3. Use the Ackerman bargaining method. If buying, pitch 65%, 85%, 95%, and 100%. If selling, pitch 150%, 120%, 105%, 100%.
      4. Send messages from multiple accounts to anchor your desired price.
      Apr 5, 2020

      What is the safest form of payment on Craigslist? ›

      I've bought and sold many items through Craigslist. Usually large items and things that I want to examine before I purchase, like cars, boats, furniture, recumbent trikes and tools. My absolute preferred method of payment, whether buying or selling, is cash.

      Should you give your phone number on Craigslist? ›

      Craigslist email relay hides your email address when communicating with buyers or sellers. It's a great security feature that you should take advantage of. That means you shouldn't give your real email address or phone number to someone you're dealing with, especially if they're pressuring you.

      Do people still use Craigslist to buy things? ›

      Do People Still Use Craigslist? Absolutely. You can search your local area on Craigslist and find used furniture, cars, rentals, and even jobs. However, because so many Craigslist alternatives exist, it is no longer a one-stop shopping powerhouse when it debuted in 1995.

      How many pictures can you put on a Craigslist ad? ›

      Number of Images Limit

      Craigslist has updated the limit to 24 photos per ad as of 2021 (up from 8). This is a lot of spots but be sure not to overuse this feature or incorrectly format your ad posting.

      How do I make a good Craigslist ad? ›

      Keep It Simple but include Lots of Pictures: Craigslist sees heavy HTML code as a sign of spam or fraudulent post. Keep your ad mostly text based, with simple code only and working in creative bolding. While Craigslist users prefer text ads, they also love pictures.

      How do I post a draft on Craigslist? ›

      Posting Drafts

      When creating a posting you may be interrupted or not finish the posting process. If you have a craigslist account, you can log in to your account and view the "drafts" tab. You may see the title of the posting you started. Clicking on the title will bring you to the incomplete draft of your posting.

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