Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
As far as I am concerned, the local Facebook buy/sell/trade pages are better than discovering your long lost elementary school best friend that lives two streets over.
You see, when you are lovingly crafting your baby registry, no one tells that every three months your kid will outgrow half of their closet and your living room décor will now consist of playmats, exersaucers and jumperoos. Having twins? Surrender now. The amount of “stuff” you accumulate is staggering, and what do you do with it all when they have moved on to the next baby stage? The easy answer: sell it.
Unlike throwing your own garage sale or posting on Craigslist, the Facebook trading sites link you with people living in your area and you can check out their profiles to be sure they are legit before interacting with them. You can find groups by searching your neighborhood area/city and typing the words “buy,” “sell,” “trading,” “swap” or “garage sale,” to see what comes up. Some sites require you to be invited to the group by a member, so ask around.
Facebook trading groups are really simple to use. Snap a few photos of whatever you want to sell and you can post those directly to the group from your phone, along with price and the description. Sit back and wait for that sweet, sweet resale cash to roll in and bask in your newly decluttered home. It’s also not just for the kiddos! I have scored some awesome deals for myself on clothes and accessories.
Here are a few tips and a glossary of terms to help you navigate the world of Houston trading sites.
Read the rules
Every group has slightly different rules and protocols, which are usually the pinned post at the top of the trading page. Do yourself a favor and read them! Many groups are very neighborhood specific. If you live outside that area, but still want to be part of the group, then be prepared to meet your buyers or sellers in their part of town. No one wants to buy an item then find out they need to drive 45 minutes to get it.
Selling? Take good pictures
This is a no brainer. Your items will sell better if you take good pictures of them. Use good lighting, post multiple angles, snap it with a tape measurer to show size, etc. The more details the better. If you are disclosing any imperfections, take photos of those too. Transparency is key.
Don’t sell crap
My general rule is, if you wouldn’t buy it yourself, don’t sell it. Check for stains, rips, tears and such. Don’t sell broken items and no one really wants to buy your half empty bottle of lotion. Sorry.
If you say you are going to come by on Wednesday at 10am to pick something up, do so. Or communicate to the seller if something comes up. It’s irritating to have something sit on my front step for a week. Don’t expect people to hold items for you if you flake on pick up times. This rule also applies when commenting on an item! Don’t hijack someone else’s sell thread saying you are selling the same thing for cheaper. Start your own post, and be kind in your comments.
When posting an item description, be very clear. If it has flaws, state them. If you have a specific deadline you need the buyer to pick it up by, mention that too. If you want them to leave money in the mailbox, tell them that when you are messaging to work out the pick up details.The more information, the smoother the transaction.
Don’t over price
It’s hard not to be sentimental about our stuff, but this is a resale site. If people wanted to pay retail, they would go to a store. Be sure to price accordingly. It is also helpful if you use round numbers ($10, $15, $20), not everyone has change on them to leave $6.50 in your mailbox for the toy your selling.
Consider giving it away
I have found that for really cheap items that I am selling for a dollar or two, people flake more. It’s not worth it to them to make the time to get it from me for only a $1. However, if I give that same item away…well those fly off my porch. If you really don’t care that much about the money and care more about it being out of your house, consider posting it as a free item.
Check your filtered messages
When Facebook messaging with someone you are not friends with, sometimes the messages go into your filtered folder. It is best to comment on the main buying thread that you are sending a PM (private message), so they know to check. Go into your messages folder, click “message requests” and “see filtered messages” to be sure you are seeing them all. Sadly, this needs to be done from your computer and not your phone. I made that mistake more than once.
If you are selling multiple things at once, I usually put each item in a bag and staple a post-it with the buyer’s name and price on it before I put it outside. This saves on confusion later when someone comes to pick something up and sees multiple items.
Generally speaking, I feel safer giving out my address to a buyer over private message on our neighborhood site where I can see that we have friends in common or our kids go to neighboring elementary schools, but I still need to trust my gut. I have seen people selling high value items like jewelry opt to meet inside a bank or at a police station. Others prefer parking lots at busy local stores. Sure, that takes a bit more coordination and work, but it’s a precaution I would absolutely use if I was selling something expensive to a stranger. While I have never personally had anything stolen from a PPU (porch pick up), it happens. My rule of thumb is to never put anything out for a PPU that I would be devastated by if it walked away unpaid for.
Westbury/Meyerland/Bellaire Area Trading: If you’re in SW Houston, this is the group for you. It’s large with over 7,000 members, but a kind group as well. Instead of selling, many members donated items to flooded families over Memorial Day and Tax Day Floods. Bellaire/Meyerland/West U/Rice Village Swap & Sell is another good one for this area.
Upper Kirby Kids Trading: This is a great group for selling some of your higher end items. I’ve seen some awesome strollers come through this site.
Memorial Area “Kids” Trading: I look here for anything smocked (though there are national pages for all things monogram if that is your thing)! Be aware if you are selling in this group because you have to be willing to meet within their neighborhoods. Check the rules for the “official” map.
Galleria Tanglewood Royal Oaks Sell Your Fabulous Stuff & Share Information: This site is all about high quality items. I have seen a fair amount of Louis Vuitton cross this page.
Houston Online Garage Sale: This is by far the largest group with over 18,000 members. This one is not neighborhood specific. Houston Swap shop is also a popular city wide group. You can find a lot of great furniture.
NWT– New with tags
NWOT– New without tags, as in they took the tags off, but never wore/used the item
EUC– Excellent used condition
GUC– Good used condition
PPU– Porch pick up, meaning they will leave it on the doorstep and you can come by and grab it without a face-to-face exchange. PPU can also mean “pending pick up,” so be sure to read your site’s rules to be sure how they use the term.
ISO– In search of, when someone is seeking to buy a particular item
TIA– Thanks in advance, usually seen with ISO.
INT/SOLD– This is what you type in the comments to call “dibs” on the item. First person to comment is first in line. Sometimes, buyers flake or pass. If that happens, the seller will move through the line in the order people commented until the item is gone.
Pass– This applies when someone has already posted INT or SOLD and then changes their mind for whatever reason. Maybe they communicated with the seller and realized the item is not quite what they were looking for. Pass means that they forfeit their place in line to the next buyer.
PM– Sending a private message to you to arrange details of the sale and pick up. Remember – be sure to check your filtered messages so you don’t miss anything.
Cross Posted– This means that the seller has posted the item on multiple trading sites, so even if you are first with the “INT,” you may not be the only interested buyer. It’s best to PM the seller immediately after you post INT to confirm that you are the winner!
Lot For Sale– This is for a group of items they are bundling for one sale. It could be a whole bunch of mismatched Legos or a bag of 3 month old girl clothes. Usually used for smaller items that aren’t worth pricing individually.
Photo credit: Fotolia/jolopes
Originally Posted on Mommy Nearest