Lauren Greutman, author of The Recovering Spender: How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life. She writes and speaks about frugal living and household finance on her website and on TV shows including The Today Show and Good Morning America. LaurenGreutman.com
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Craigslist and eBay are not the only online ways to sell your unwanted possessions—and not necessarily the best, either. The following websites and free Android/iOS apps can be safer, easier to use and help you reach precisely the type of buyers who will pay you the most for what you have to sell…
Best for selling women’s fashion: Poshmark. Women’s clothes, shoes and accessories sold through this app tend to fetch higher prices than they would on eBay or Craigslist. Poshmark shoppers generally are style-conscious and willing to pay a bit more for pieces they love. The app is ideal for items made by desirable designers such as Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang. (You can sell men’s and kid’s clothes through Poshmark as well, but those categories typically attract fewer buyers.) The app makes selling simple—use your phone to take photos of an item and fill in a few details such as size and price. Poshmark takes a 20% commission on most sales or a flat $2.95 commission on sales under $15. Poshmark.com
Best for selling items that are too big to ship: 5miles. Craigslist is the most popular site for selling things too big to realistically ship—it connects sellers with local buyers who can pick up their purchases in person. The 5miles app serves a similar function—and makes it easier to weed out thieves, a growing problem on Craigslist. With 5miles, each party in a potential transaction can verify the other’s identity by phone or his/her Facebook account and see whether other users’ comments on earlier transactions have been favorable. That’s not foolproof—comments and Facebook accounts could be faked—but it does reduce the odds of crime. There is no charge for selling or buying through 5miles. To sell, you simply use your smartphone to take photos of the item, then add a few details and your asking price. The main drawback is that the app is not yet heavily used in all markets—sellers in large urban areas are most likely to find buyers. 5milesapp.com
Similar to 5Miles: If 5miles has few or no listings in your area, suggesting that it is not yet widely used there, see whether VarageSale has a larger number of listings. Like 5miles, this app offers a safety-first way to sell things locally, with no cost for buying or selling. You can post the items you have for sale from VarageSale’s website rather than its app if you prefer. Buyers and sellers initially connect via Facebook so that they can see who they are dealing with before they agree to meet. Local administrators review all the prospective buyers and sellers before they can engage in transactions. VarageSale.com
Best for selling books: Amazon Seller app. Internet retailing behemoth Amazon.com lets you sell things through its very popular site. The Amazon Seller app makes this sales process especially easy—use your smartphone to scan the book’s barcode, and most of its details will be automatically entered into Amazon. (You also can type in book titles if there is no barcode. Or items can be listed directly through Amazon’s website if you’d rather not use your phone.) You can use this app to sell virtually anything Amazon sells, but the app is especially useful for selling books, given the huge number of book shoppers on Amazon. If your item sells, Amazon typically takes a 15% commission plus a 99-cent per-item fee, although the commission varies by the type of product. (If you’re selling a lot of items, you can avoid that 99-cent per-item fee by paying a $39.99 monthly fee to become an Amazon Professional Seller.) Amazon.com
Best for selling consumer technology: Kiiboo. If you are trying to sell a smartphone, tablet, laptop computer, digital camera or some other piece of relatively modern consumer technology, Kiiboo is the simplest option. With Kiiboo you don’t have to take photographs, write up a listing, figure out packaging or deal with buyers. Just identify your product on Kiiboo.com (Kiiboo is a website, not an app), and if the product is something that the site thinks it can sell, the company will send you appropriate prepaid packaging so that you can easily ship the device to it. Kiiboo handles everything else and claims an 18% commission if the item sells. (If your item does not sell within 100 days, you can pay the postage to have it returned to you or let Kiiboo donate it to charity.) Kiiboo.com
Best for selling antiques: Trove Marketplace app. Trove is a great app for selling antique furniture to local buyers because it’s used by many antiques shoppers. (You can sell modern furniture through Trove as well, but many modern items will do better on 5miles or VarageSale.) Trove may be safer than Craigslist because prospective transaction partners can view each other’s profiles and ratings before agreeing to meet. Selling through Trove usually is free, but you pay a 10% commission if you have Trove process a credit card transaction for you. You can sell through either the app or Trove’s website. Like other “sell local” apps, Trove is most useful for sellers in areas where the app has lots of users—the odds of success are best if you live in a heavily populated area. UseTrove.com