Craigslist Do’s and Don’ts

 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – one of my favorite ways to reuse is Craigslist! This free and local online classifieds service can help you buy gently used things of all kinds – I use it mainly for furniture and kids’ stuff, but I’ve also bought maternity clothing and sold a car!

I’ve been buying and selling on Craigslist for a few years and have developed some pet peeves when it comes to using the service. I also realize that many people might be new to Craigslist, or infrequent users of the service, and might not realize that “UR doing it wrong“.

To try and help newbies or those who don’t use Craigslist much, I’ve jotted down the following etiquette and safety tips for buying and selling on Craigslist.

Do’s and Don’ts of Buying and Selling on your local Craigslist


  • Do go with listings that have a picture – this reduces the amount of questions you have to ask the seller via email or text.
  • Don’t consider items outside your ability to travel. I typically won’t drive more than 15 miles in DFW because that’s 30 minutes in traffic, and stops being worth my while with 2 kids in the car.
  • Do offer to meet the seller at a public location like a nearby Starbucks or McDonald’s. 
  • Do bring someone with you (again, for safety), or at the very least, call someone right before going and arrange to call them again as you are leaving, to make sure everything is safe.
  • Do try to ask all the questions you have via email or phone or text and if you don’t get satisfactory answers, just don’t buy the item.
  • Don’t make the seller hold an item for you to come look at without a commitment that you will buy. If you don’t buy, then the seller has to contact all the people they told “no” to while they were waiting on you. Unfair to the seller! 
  • Do respect the seller’s communication preferences. If the listing says “email only” or “text only” – don’t email or text them just to tell them to call you! They specified their communication preference for a reason.
  • Do READ THE POST. You are wasting the seller’s time if you constantly email them asking them questions that were answered in the body of their post.


  • Don’t put your email address in the body of the post – utilize the Craigslist anonymous email option. 
  • Don’t include your physical address in the post unless it is a listing for leasing a home. I typically put my city and the closest major intersection in the post and give out my actual address only when a buyer has contacted me for pickup.
  • Do include pictures, even if you had to take them with your phone.
  • Do link to the manufacturer’s description online somewhere if you can – this will save you from answering a ton of buyers’ questions.
  • Do try to anticipate any potential questions and include the answers in your post. For example: cash only, comes from a pet-free home, only used 3 months, never used, in great shape, etc.
  • Do be honest about the condition of the item and why you are getting rid of it. I like to include pictures of any damage (like small scratches or dents) so I don’t get a lot of questions.
  • Don’t be too wordy – I have found that posts with too much text aren’t read and the items don’t sell.
  • Do remove your post as soon as the item has sold! Otherwise you are going to keep getting emails you’ll have to keep answering with “sorry the item has sold”.

Hope that might help!

Do you have any “Do’s” and “Don’ts” you might add?

4 thoughts on “Craigslist Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Natalie says:

    I feel like craiglist buyers are the worst about e-mailing you and sounding very interested, and then they just vanish. They never say, “nevermind” or “I’m not interested.” Just disappear!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do not attempt to sell something thinking that, someone is going to wait for your voicemail message to end. There are several of the same items you are trying to sell already on C’s-list.
    You are praying on the compulsive buy when selling ANYTHING. Most people are selling junk but, you do find the occasional honest person.
    Times are tough. Buyer beware.
    Best of luck !

  3. Anonymous says:

    Post the town you’re in as well. If, you don’t? You will get many useless emails wasting your time for nothing. I don’t even inquire on an item unless it has the name of the town.
    Do NOT put your exact location in an ad. Do not tell them in an email either. Get them on your cell phone (So their is a record of the last person you called) and, guide them to your location when they make it to a close distance.

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