How to sell your belongings online: Facebook Marketplace

Oct 08, 2019
You could make some extra cash by simply selling belongings you no longer need or want. Source: Getty.

If you are thinking about downsizing, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed and panicked about what to do with your belongings when you trade in the family home for somewhere smaller. As the years go by, we’re all guilty of holding onto things we no longer need or use, and downsizing can provide the perfect opportunity to have a good old spring clean.

Once you’ve sorted through your items and decided what to take with you, as well as what to toss and what could perhaps go to a new home, you are then faced with the decision about the best way to part with your unwanted items, especially those that are not yet ready to be thrown away.

While many people choose to donate their unwanted clothing, footwear, furniture and homewares to charity to be sold in op shops around the country, there is also the option of selling your belongings in a bid to pocket some extra cash – which can be particularly helpful if you’re getting ready to move house.

But, while you might have previously flogged your wares at car boot sales or garage sales in decades gone by, nowadays more and more people are turning to the internet as a means of getting rid of items they no longer want or need, with a number of websites and apps cropping up to meet increased demand.

One such option is Facebook Marketplace which allows users of the hugely popular social media site to advertise their items for sale, free of charge. Here’s how it works.

How do I sign up to Facebook Marketplace?

Signing up is the easy part, all you need is a Facebook account! And, given the most recent statistics showed that around 25 million Aussies have profiles on the hugely popular platform, it’s safe to assume you’re probably already signed up and familiar with how to use it.

Depending on whether you’re on a computer or mobile device, the way in which you open Facebook Marketplace may differ. On computers and laptops, log on to the Facebook website and look at the left hand side of the screen. Here you should see your name, with a menu below it. The fourth option in the list, following ‘News Feed’, ‘Messenger’ and ‘Watch’ should be ‘Marketplace’.

On mobiles and tablets, the process is even simpler. Just open up the Facebook app and look at the bottom of your screen. You should see six icons along the bottom menu bar and the third one, which looks like a small house is the button you need to open Marketplace.

How do I list an item for sale?

Once you’ve got the hang of opening Marketplace and spent some time browsing the other available items in your local area, it’s time to list your first item for sale. To do this, simply click ‘sell’ at the top of the Marketplace home screen on mobile, or in the left-hand menu on the web.

This will then open a pop-up menu prompting you to provide details of what it is you are hoping to sell, from a descriptive title, to the asking price, condition and location of the item. It is up to you how much detail you include, but prospective buyers may be put off by vague posts.

You should also upload several images of your items as this will give interested parties the opportunity to see what the item looks like, potentially saving you hassle down the line. This is particularly important if any of your items are damaged as buyers are aware of this from the get-go.

The only thing left to do is click ‘post’, and you’re all done.

What happens when someone contacts me about my item?

Hopefully your item will attract interest among prospective buyers and you may start to receive messages from people wishing to view, reserve or buy your item.

This is where it pays to be careful as, for people to view the item, you must provide them with an address, which more often than not will be your home address. Facebook Marketplace offers interested buyers the chance to send a blanket message to sellers asking ‘Is this item still available?’ If you receive any of these messages, you should reply letting people know whether the item is still up for grabs, whether someone has asked to reserve it or whether it has already been snapped up.

How are sales finalised on Facebook Marketplace?

Once someone has contacted you about your item and viewed it in person, they may wish to make an offer or purchase it outright. As long as you’re happy with the price they’re willing to pay, go for it!

However Facebook recommends that you only pay – or take payment – in cash in person or use PayPal, as this can prevent any issues with false bank details, cancelled cheques or retracted payments.

How can I stay safe on Facebook Marketplace?

As always when you’re online, it’s vital you keep your personal details safe when using Facebook Marketplace. Never share your bank details with anyone over Facebook, including PayPal logins and passwords.

The social media site also recommends meeting prospective buyers in a public place when exchanging goods, eliminating the risk of inviting strangers to your home or sharing your address online.

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Have you ever used Facebook Marketplace? How about other online marketplaces, such as eBay or Gumtree?

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