Buying and selling your previously loved items is a great way to make and save money, reduce waste, and support your local community. At VarageSale, we believe that a safer buy and sell app creates a better member experience. That’s why VarageSale is the first and only platform to manually approve every member who joins our platform to ensure that all members can buy and sell locally with confidence.
Here are our best tips to ensure that all members have a great buying and selling experience.
1. Selling Tips: How to Ensure Smooth Sailing
Give Your Item a Great Title
Writing a great title will ensure that your listing gets seen and clicked on. Do a bit of research to find common keywords and acronyms that are used to describe your item. Be sure to include a clear indication of what the item is, as well as the make, model, style, colour, and any relevant sizing information.
Keep Your Description Short and Sweet
Be sure to write a brief description of your item – not too long and not too short! Items that have between 10-40 words describing an item sell faster than those that have nothing written. More handy tricks here.
Clear Photos Speak Louder than Words
People prefer seeing lots of photos of items rather than reading long descriptions. You may need to answer a few questions, but showing rather than telling will help your items sell faster.
Take high quality photos of your item from multiple angles. Check out our tips on taking great photos here.
Disclose Any Imperfections
On VarageSale we encourage our members to only list items that are gently loved and in good condition. Sometimes an item is perfectly functional and just has a few scuffs. In these cases, be upfront about any imperfections and take photos of them for your listing. This prevents any misunderstandings about the condition of the item and allows sales to go smoothly.
Take Photos of Important Features
Buyers are naturally curious about the items they’re looking at, so make sure you photograph details like labels, tags, and important features.
If an item is brand new, show the tags. If it’s a brand name purse, show the interior and the bottom, and verification details if you have them. Same goes for shoes.
For toys or electronics, try to take a picture of the box so that parents can see age recommendations, what kind of batteries are required, and other relevant information.
For larger items like furniture, be sure to include measurements to ensure that prospective buyers can fit their new couch in their truck and down the stairs, and of course in their homes!
Only Accept Cash
Many potential problems can be avoided by only accepting cash for items. Using cash lets you get paid when you exchange the item (not after), in full, and with total transparency.
In some locations, and if you feel comfortable, you can also accept electronic money transfers, but while in person.
Never Ship Items
Our community-based model, with local admins, is what makes VarageSale a safer buy and sell marketplace. We believe that buying and selling locally, in smaller communities, helps facilitate local in-person meet ups.
Never agree to ship an item. Shipping items can create a number of problems for both the buyer and the seller should the item be lost in transit, or not be exactly what the buyer expected.
Meeting buyers in person allows them to inspect items in person to see exactly what they’re getting, which makes the transaction easier for everyone. Plus, it’s fun to get to know your neighbours – who knows, you could end up with a new carpool partner or play date for your kids!
Since VarageSale operates within local communities, many members opt to do a “Porch Pickup” – leaving the item(s) in a bag on the porch so that the buyer can easily grab them and leave the cash in the mailbox.
We recommend that you do at least one transaction with a buyer before you do a Porch Pickup, and that you only use this method for lower priced items.
You absolutely do not have to offer Porch Pickups if you’re not comfortable doing them. All members opt for Porch Pickups at their own risk, so make sure you know get to know each other a bit first.
You’re de-cluttering, making extra cash, and meeting fellow members in your community. What’s not to love? Have fun selling on VarageSale!
2. Buying With Confidence
VarageSale values and prioritizes a safer, transparent, and community-based selling experience – that’s why we manually review every member who requests to join our platform. Members are also required to sign up using Facebook Connect, which gives the app access to the member’s real name and profile picture.
We are proactively doing everything we can to ensure that VarageSale is the safest buy and sell community. Keeping these tips in mind can help you get the most out of our platform so you can buy and sell with confidence.
If there is anything you are unclear about on in a listing, always ask the seller. Most sellers are happy to answer questions, and both parties save time by understanding exactly what the other is looking for.
Here are some great questions to ask sellers:
- Does it fit true to size or a bit bigger/smaller?
- Does it have any imperfections?
- How well is the colour represented in the pictures?
- Are all the parts original?
- If any parts have been replaced/upgraded, are they under warranty?
- Is the item under warranty? If so, what are the terms?
- Have you ever had any problems with the item?
- How is the battery life on the item?
- What age range is this toy suitable for?
- What condition is this toy in?
- Is this toy easy to clean? Has it been cleaned?
- Does this toy make any annoying/loud sounds?
If you’re considering buying a higher-ticket item, be sure to do some research of your own so that you know the right questions to ask.
Try Before You Buy
If you’re buying a high-priced item like an iPad, phone, or expensive toy, insist on testing it thoroughly before you pay.
Let the seller know in advance that you will need time to test the item, and ask them to block off an appropriate amount of time for your meeting. Never let yourself be pressured into making a decision too quickly before you’ve had time to thoroughly test the item out.
For more tips, check out this post on how to inspect used items.
If You’re Not An Expert – Take One With You
If you’re buying an item that you’re not sure how to test or evaluate, bring an expert with you. If you can’t bring an expert with you, meet the seller in a shop that sells similar items and ask a sales person (or even a fellow customer!) to help you out.
For some items (such as cars, automotive items, expensive bikes) it is worth it to pay a professional to do a simple evaluation of the product before you turn over your hard earned cash.
If you’re buying designer items (handbags, jewelry), check for an authenticity code or verification card. If the seller doesn’t have one, ask to meet at a brand store to authenticate.
Doing a few simple things before meeting to purchase an item can save you time and ensure that you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy
Just because you drove 20 minutes to test-drive a used bike, or because the seller got a babysitter to come meet you, does NOT mean you have to take an item home. If an item doesn’t work for you, don’t feel any pressure to buy it. If you think you’ll feel pressure to “justify” driving to see an item, just pass on it.
With those tips in mind, hop on VarageSale and start bargain hunting today!
3. Safety Tips
While VarageSale takes every precaution to ensure the safety of our members, no technology or monitoring tool can 100% predict intentions or behaviour. Keeping these tips in mind will help ensure a safe and positive experience for all members.
Know Who You’re Meeting
One of the great things about VarageSale is that all members’ accounts are linked to their Facebook profiles, so you can view the public parts of their Facebook account. VarageSale also allows you to see the “Praises” that members have received from those that they have interacted with in the community.
It’s a good idea to review someone’s Praises and Facebook profile before you agree to meet with them. This ensures that both parties feel safe and confident in the meeting. Plus it helps you recognize each other!
Meet the Person in Public
VarageSale manually reviews each and every member who requests to join the platform. We also have local admins who make sure that every member only joins communities that they live in or are willing to travel and transact within.
Meeting in public allows people to connect in a relaxed and safe local setting. Both parties feel comfortable asking questions and leaving the transaction if there isn’t a good fit between the buyer and seller.
When In Doubt – Use a Safe Zone
Some police stations have now created “safe zones” for people buying and selling online. Your local police station will be able to tell you if they offer one.
Safe zones are a great option if you’re doing a high-value transfer, are meeting someone at night, have young kids with you, or if you just want to feel extra secure.
If You Can’t Meet in Public, Meet Outside or Bring a Friend Along
If you are selling a larger item that requires someone to come to your home, taking some simple precautions can help you feel secure.
If you live in an apartment building, give the person the address but not the apartment number and meet them outside. In the event that you feel uncomfortable with them for any reason, you’ll be able to easily end the encounter before they ever set foot in your home.
If you live in a house, meet the person outside as well. You can also leave your door open during the transaction so the neighbours can hear you. It’s always a good idea to have someone else in the house with you when selling household items.
If you are going to be alone in the house, you can also opt to do a Porch Pickup. A Porch Pickup is when the buyer picks up the item from your porch and leaves the cash in your mailbox. Members do Porch Pickups at their own risk, and we recommend you do at least one in-person transaction with a member before moving to Porch Pickup, and only use them for lower-priced items.
Or, if you’ve agreed to meet at someone’s house but don’t feel comfortable, you always have the option of asking a friend to come along with you.
If it Sounds Too Good to Be True…
It probably is. If someone is advertising a high-ticket item at a very low price, be sure to ask plenty of questions and meet the person to evaluate the item before you purchase.
Identify Potential Scams
Because of VarageSale’s unique model for membership, there are very few scammers on the platform. However, no admin can fully predict behaviour, so here are a couple ways to outsmart the majority of scammers.
1. If someone offers to significantly overpay for an item you have listed, this is likely a scam.
2. Keep your first few messages on the VarageSale platform to ensure the accountability of all members, and make it easy to ask an admin for help if necessary. Only give out your phone number once you feel comfortable with a seller.
3. Do not accept certified cheques or money orders – stick to cash for maximum transparency and security.
4. Do not give out your bank account information. If someone asks for your bank account information to deposit money, this is a clear sign that it’s a scam.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you have a great experience selling on VarageSale. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your local admin. They’re here to help!
Trust Your Gut
If something feels off about a person or situation, don’t show up for the meeting. If you are meeting someone and the person or situation makes your feel uncomfortable for any reason, just leave. It’s better to seem rude or lose a sale than to compromise your safety.
You’re Off To The Races!
Keep these tips in mind and we’re sure you’ll have a great experience with VarageSale – the safer way to buy and sell online!
And remember: we’re committed to the safety of our members – that’s why we take a proactive stance to ensure the security of our members and community. If you have questions about the platform or any safety related matter, please reach out to your local admin our contact our Help Desk. They’re here to help!
We’re always looking to get better – have a suggestion? Get in touch!