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Safely and Successfully Sell on Gumtree

by erin. (follow)
Blogger/Writer/Aspiring Millionaire Love of interior design, animals and arts and crafts
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Gumtree is one of the most fantastic and successful selling platforms I have used when de-cluttering my house. It is also free to sell and buy on Gumtree which is a bonus!

If you live in a rural area you may struggle to have success on Gumtree due to the people needing to travel a significant distance to pick things up, however like I said its free to advertise so you might as well give it a crack. Someone in your local area may even need what you have.

If you wish to get your advertisement noticed on Gumtree it is worth taking the time to put in a little effort.


Here are my top tips for selling on Gumtree.

1.Give an accurate and detailed description of the product
Depending on what you are selling, whether it be clothes, furniture, or something else, the potential customer will always want to know everything about the item. Providing a detailed description will prevent wasting anyone's time communicating back and forth and possibly not making the sale because it isn't what the potential purchaser was after.
Always include the following in your product description:

What size the item is. For furniture provide length width and height measurements and/or potential weight or clothing the dress size


Any damage/defects/stains

Approximate costs to fix defects or damage if known

Approximate age of the product

Where it has been kept e.g. in the shed, inside

Any additional information e.g. needs a clean

How many people may be required to lift

The weight of the item.

Say something such as “Buyer responsible for lifting and transport. Two person lift required." Also if you are not willing to deliver anywhere say so as often people will ask if you can. If you are willing to deliver, state what and distance you are willing to travel and the extra cost you want to cover it.

2.Let potential customers know how to best contact you.

If you are unable to answer your phone at work you might prefer to be texted or receive emails. For example on your advertisement type “text or email only please”

3. Take and use clear photographs

Make sure the photos of what you are selling are taken in good light and show any colours as accurately as possible. Be sure to identify and photograph any damage clearly. It can help prevent the buyer haggling when they arrive as you were transparent about it beforehand and they knew before they arrived.

The more photos you have boost your chances of a sale so someone can be sure they want your item before they come out to look at it.

If for some reason you have issues uploading photos, you can put in your description that photos can be emailed/texted on request.

4.Be vigilant about time for reasons other than “I am not home then.”

Do not under any circumstances, tell strangers when you will and won't be home. There are enough low-lives out there that will take the opportunity to come by knowing you are at work and clean out your house or removing the car you had for sale, for free.
Use excuses such as “my child is sleeping that time and I don’t want the dogs to wake them” or “I have guests then so that time will not be suitable.”

5.Do not give an exact location of item until they have nearly arrived.

I give this advice purely for the safety of those who may be at home by themselves or with children. Giving out the address to strangers prematurely, particularly for valuable items, can be risky. They may choose not to turn up when you expect them and may also do a drive by scoping out other things of value you might have.

On the Gumtree map, where you have to show where the item is located, only put the street and suburb, never the house or complex number. I ask the customer to text me when they are 5 minutes away as I will have to lock up the dogs (Note: guard dogs) and I will call /text them with the house number.

6.Meet buyers in the daytime or a neutral location

The last thing you need is to let people you don’t know on to your property at night with no one around to help if you suddenly need it.

If you are selling a car you might want to meet the buyer down the local shopping centre carpark for them to look over the vehicle before purchase. This is a good idea because second hand cars are not perfect and if something went wrong with it you don't need the buyer coming and taking out their frustration on you. None of this is written to scare you, it is just to create awareness on how to trade safely.

7.Be aware of replies coming from an email address to your phone as a text

I have not yet worked out how these scammers do it but they generally use an email address, something generic and free such as Gmail to send a text to your phone asking what your “best price” is. It will often not even define what product they are asking after, rather just referring to it as your “item of sale” or “ad on Gumtree.” If you are unsure of whether it is a scam ask them to tell you which item they are inquiring about as you have several. If you get a similar generic answer don’t bother replying and report to police on the police assistance hotline of 131 444. Also be suspicious of anyone asking for you to ship the item or take payment by toll or cheque. Forget it and wait until someone else who is honest contacts you.

8.You are not required to give refunds

The thing about online trading such as this is it is 'buyers beware.' As long as you have been open and honest with your advertisement and provided adequate photographs of the item, as well as had the customer inspect and take it home, what happens when they leave with it is their problem, not yours.

Want to give it a go?

If you think Gumtree just might be the answer to selling your excess possessions or finding a bargain, you can set up an account for free at http://www.gumtree.com.au

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