You may have picked up recently that I’ve become a bit of a minimalist in the last few years. I’m not living in a little hut with a single pair of shoes and no kitchen but I’m definitely not as consumer hungry as I used to be. I’ve always been a very conscious consumer, buying things second hand and thrifting a lot of my clothes but shopping used to be something I really enjoyed and now I just don’t anymore. I keep giving away and donating things without replacing them and I’m enjoying my de-cluttered life. Mr Smaggle and I also live a rather nomadic existence and living with less makes that so much easier. I’m spending more money on things and researching items before I buy them so everything I own is lasting so much longer and I’ve eradicated the need to shop for things seasonally like I used to. Rather than spending $200 on a pair of fashion boots, I dropped $600 on a pair Gortex Ecco boots that are still going strong 4 years later. It’s saved me so much time in boot shopping I’d been doing every winter.
The only exception is electronics. I pretty much always have the latest iPhone or computer because I need that kind of stuff for my work. I can’t afford to just replace this stuff every few years without question, so I sell a lot of my old stuff on Gumtree to fill the gap. Mr Smaggle sells a lot of his camera gear and flashes when he wants to upgrade or buy something new. It’s a one in, one out policy and it’s working really for us.
Sometimes when we tell people about selling stuff on Gumtree they totally freak out because it seems like such a weird and potentially dangerous thing to do. I’ll admit, I’m the first person to think I’m going to get murdered if I invite strangers into my life but Gumtree is honestly really safe and if you follow these tips you’ll be selling on gumtree like a total champ.
5 steps for listing an item
1. Figure out what you’re going to sell
You can sell anything on Gumtree. For real. Old magazine collections, expensive handbags (inexpensive handbags), electronics, hobbie items, clothing, adventure gear. Someone, somewhere will want to buy that thing. I’ve personally sold shoes, Ikea furniture, laptops, cameras, phones, iPads, pedestal fans, shelves, my old jewellery bench, a fridge and microwave on Gumtree. I even sold my collection of Frankie mags for $50. You can truly sell anything on there. Just give it a go. The worst thing that will happen is no one will buy it and then there’s no harm done.
2. Take photos of your item
Generally speaking, the better your photo, the better the listing will perform and the more people will be interested in it. Make sure you download the app as it makes listing so much easier. You can just take photos on your phone and put the listing straight to Gumtree through the app. Think about the thing you’re selling and how much time you’re willing to spend on the photos though. For example, I spent more time taking good photos for my car than I did when I was selling a $20 Ikea shelf. Do the best you can but don’t waste your Annie Leibovitz skills on a second hand pair of shoes. Do try to make everything look as appealing as possible though as this will increase your chances of selling your item.
3. Write a good description
Give all the information about the product you can and don’t make any potential buyers have to google anything about the product you’re selling. Tip – no matter how much information you provide, people are still going to ask questions. The screen size of the laptop you’re selling could be right in the headline of your listing but people will still miss it and ask for really obvious information. Do try to avoid this by providing all the information you possibly can. Tip – look up the item to see if you can buy new from an online store and copy the description of the item, that way you know you haven’t missed any important details. This is also the time when you need to be honest about what you’re selling. If the ipad you’re selling has a giant scratch mark on it, you need to list that in the description of the product. Don’t make people come to look at the item before you show them what’s wrong with it. That’s a big Gumtree no no.
4. How to price it
Pricing is one of the most stressful things about Gumtree but fortunately, Mr Smaggle and I have a fool proof formula for figuring out the right price for the item you’re selling. Give this a go.
1. Search on Gumtree for a similar item (or the exact same item if you can find it!) and make sure the settings are Australia wide. Look at the bottom end of the scale for what people are offering and take note of that price.
2. Then go to eBay and do a search for the item you’re selling (or as close as you can get) and then in the filter options show only sold listings. Then sort by highest price (to get rid of accessories etc) and that’s what people are actually willing to pay.
3. Take the lowest price on Gumtree and the highest sold price you found on eBay and find the average. So for example if you’re selling a camera and the lowest price it’s available for on Gumtree is $200 and you found someone who paid $240 on eBay here’s the equation.
($200 + $240) ÷ 2 = $220
This is now your I Will Accept This price. Add 20% to this price and list it. So you’ll list the camera for $264 and that will allow your buyer to bargain you down to $220 at the very lowest price. Most buyers on Gumtree will try to bargain you down so price your items with this in mind.
5. How to communicate with buyers
Be prompt, be polite and be firm. If you list your camera for $264 and your lowest price is $220 and someone offers $230 – snap it up! If they low ball you and ask to pay $200, just politely tell them you’ve had other offers and you can’t accept a price that low. Gumtree selling doesn’t have to be stressful. Just set in place your own rules and expectations and stick to them.
Is Gumtree legit?
Absolutely! It’s owned by eBay. It’s a proper legit site that’s totally safe to use.
Is it bad to give my address? How do I meet with people?
When you list the item, just put your suburb only in the listing and when you’ve made a deal for someone to buy your item, then give them your address. It’s no different to selling an item in the paper 20 years ago. If you’re still feeling uncomfortable, give them your street address and meet them outside your home. If you’re selling a smaller item you can meet people in the street if you don’t want them to come to your home. You can also meet at cafes or deliver the item to their workplace if that’s convenient for both of you. Protecting your privacy is important but 99% of people who use Gumtree legitimately just want to buy the item they’re interested in. If you were a thief, using Gumtree to case homes for potential burglary would be a giant waste of time. You may not be given access to the house, you don’t know if the house is suitable to be burgled and you have no idea what’s in it. I’m sure it happens and it’s great to be vigilant but Gumtree (should be) a big barrier for people trying to burgle homes. It’s just an extra unnecessary step. If you’re a bit paranoid, just try to avoid giving people access to your home and make sure someone else is with you when you do the transaction.
What do I say when I meet the buyer?
Just be normal! Honestly Gumtree interactions are hilarious. We bought my Apple Watch off Gumtree and the lady who sold it to us was so nervous. We just joked around, told her to take her time counting the money and it was all good. Just chill out, have a chat, be honest and be pleasant. Imagine you work at a cafe and you’re taking someone’s order.
What do I do if they try to barter after we’ve agreed on a price?
I hate it when people do that but it happens often. If it’s an inconsequential amount of money, just do it. Sometimes it’s best to get the item out of your house and if losing $20 will make the whole mess go away, that’s a bargain if you ask me. If they’re being really cheeky and you agreed on a price before you met them (as you should always do) you have the right to refuse. Don’t be pressured by pushy people. It’s your item, you set the price. Also for some people, getting Gumtree bargains is a game and you don’t have to play it.
What payment methods can I use?
Cash is preferable (always count it) but bank transfers and PayPal are also acceptable for bigger ticket items like large white goods and cars. Any buyer can do a transfer in front of you and you can ask for a receipt of the transaction. It should go without saying but never let anyone take an item before they’ve paid for it.
What happens if I sell something and it breaks?
Gumtree operates on the buyer beware system but it’s always best to sell with integrity. Make sure anything you sell is in good working condition and if for example you’re selling a heater because it buzzes loudly and keeps you awake at night, it’s not cool to sell that item without pointing out why you’re selling it. For example we sold a modem once and the guy who bought it asked if he could see if it worked in his area and if it didn’t could he return it. We said yes because there’s no point in being mean about it. It turns out the modem didn’t work in his area so he brought it back and we gave him back his money and sold it to someone else. If you sell a perfectly good laptop that’s under warrantee and a few months later the buyer contacts you to say it broke and they want a refund, they don’t have a leg to stand on.
What if my item doesn’t sell?
What’s the rush? You can keep listing items again and again. If you’re not in a rush to sell just leave it up there.
Should I pay the extra to have it promoted?
For big ticket items, yes. For smaller ones, no. If you’re trying to sell your car, it’s worth the push but for a $20 stack of obscure magazines it’s not really worth it.
What if someone wants me to post the item?
We’ve done it before and it’s fine. Just get them to pay the money electronically first, then post the item and make sure it’s trackable. You don’t want the hassle of a lost item so charge them the postage at the full registered rate.
Things to look out for
– Generic SMSes from overseas. Particularly for electronic items you might get SMS messages from overseas that ask you to communicate via email. Never do this – communicate through Gumtree only that way you have a record of the interaction attached to the item history in case you have any issues. Scammers will try to get you to send the item by sending a fake PayPal paid receipt. You can tell scammers because they don’t communicate through Gumtree – they’ll always text message.
– People who want to meet in strange locations. Cafes are great, abandoned carparks… not so much.
– People who don’t bring the correct money with them. I sold 50 Frankie magazines for $50 and the guy rocked up with $40. I stood firm and sent him down the street to get more money. We agreed on $50 and he’d already talked down the price so I wasn’t giving in.
If you need a few tips on de-cluttering in the first space, have a squiz at some the organisation tips I’ve written in the past.