Spring Cleaning? We Tested Out 4 of the Most Popular Apps for Selling Stuff

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Spring Cleaning? We Tested Out 4 of the Most Popular Apps for Selling Stuff
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Garage sales were a big to-do in my family when I was growing up.

The day before any sale, I remember my mom and dad lining our two-car garage with folding tables, organizing each table with a theme of items (clothes, toys, books) then pricing each item with those neon inventory labels.

Early the next morning, while it was still dark outside, they’d shuffle the tables out to the driveway.

It was an all-day affair -- and an especially hot one in Florida.

But that was the ’90s. And sure, people still host successful garage sales, but there are apps for that now.

We identified the most popular e-commerce apps (besides Amazon and eBay) and put them to the test: OfferUp vs. Craigslist vs. Letgo vs. 5miles.

All of these secure apps allow you to sell to locals, which means no shipping hassles. They also offer the most variety in terms of what people are selling -- clothing, books, electronics, household goods, you name it.

Even better: They’re all free to sign up for.

We put these four platforms head to head to determine which is best for you and most worth your time.

1. Letgo

Letgo is arguably the most recognizable name on this list, so let’s start here.

It’s host to nearly everything, including wedding dresses, cribs, TVs, jewelry, movies and cars.

Here’s how we rated it:

The sign-up process

Download the Letgo app on your Apple or Android device. If you’re already looking through the website, you can use the “Send me the App” option and type in your email address; Letgo will send you a sign-up link you can access from your phone’s email.

Your best bet is to just go straight to the app store, though -- or click here from your mobile device.

How to post an item

Open the app, sign up using Facebook, Google or your email, and take a photo of your first product.

Side note: We snapped a photo of an origami dog made out of a $1 bill (because of course we have origami money in our office…).

Once you take the photo you want, the product gets posted. You select the price you want, set it as negotiable, or opt to give it away for free if you just want to purge.

Then you’re done -- the item has been posted.

You can add more photos and details, which experts say typically help with the sale. If you do this, Letgo automatically generates a title, which is startlingly accurate in our case: “1 U.S. dollar bill dog origami.”

You then have 1,500 characters to describe the item (if you so choose), can set the location by zip code and even categorize it. You can also share it on Facebook to see if any of your friends are interested.

In all, it takes about two minutes to post.

Snagging the sale

Within two hours, someone messaged us about our doggie origami.

But the interested buyer didn’t make an offer -- just wanted to tell us how cool it was. The next day, another interested buyer offered $1.

This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely sell your goods. But it does reveal there are actual people in our area using the app and actively seeking belongings. It might be in your best interest to test your market with a few items before going totally ham.

We also combed through iTunes reviews, some of which leaked signs of frustration -- that interested buyers said they’d want to buy something but never committed.

Or never met up.

Or only wanted to pay half the asking price.

Or simply were spammers.

But that’s a risk on many online marketplaces, so buckle up and be patient.

Getting paid

Letgo is simply the online platform you use to advertise your items for sell -- not to complete the sale. That’s up to you.

Letgo offers some recommendations: Meet in person in a public place and transfer money only after the buyer inspects the item. Take cash, or use a secure payment platform like PayPal.

Don’t take a “certified check” -- Letgo says this is a common scam. Shipping items is discouraged, as well.

Really, the whole getting paid part is up to you, so be smart.

And Letgo doesn’t snag any percentage of the sale, which is nice to know.

Overall: Letgo is a solid app -- and the largest platform of its kind surely for a reason.

Signing up and posting an item for sale is easy peasy. However, the easiness does leave way for spammers, robots or pranksters, who might plague your inbox with invalid offers. But the app received $175 million in new financing in January, so we wouldn’t be shocked if new developments are on the way.

2. OfferUp

OfferUp rivals Letgo, though has seen only about half the downloads. But don’t underestimate the rising platform.

Like Letgo, this app allows you to sell just about anything. In our area, we stumble across weedeaters, phones, rain boots and vacuums.

The sign-up process

Download the OfferUp app, enter your zip code, and then click the camera to sign up. You can “continue with Facebook,” which makes the whole process pretty seamless.

How to post an item

Posting an item proves to be a bit more detailed than Letgo.

Here are the steps we took to post the same origami dog:

1. Take a photo, or select a photo from your library. You can add up to five at once. Add a title to your item here, too.

2. Select a category and a condition (new, reconditioned/certified, open box but never used, used, for parts or other). Add a description if you want, too.

3. Add a price. You can select “firm on price” if you’re not willing to budge.

4. Opt to share it on Facebook and select your selling location, then post.

As soon as you post it, you’ll get a message from a customer service rep, who lets you know how excited OfferUp is to have you. It also sends along a FAQ page to your inbox, which is very nice and convenient. It’ll also make you feel a little special.

Snagging the sale

Within about two minutes, we get an offer from a user named Daniel.

He says he wants to buy the doggie for $1,000. We don’t think he’s serious… though he does have four positive ratings.

Our response? “Wow, that’s generous!”

Daniel doesn’t get back to us.

Again, it looks like OfferUp might have some similar downsides to Letgo. You might not get serious offers or inquires, and people might not be willing to follow through.

Getting paid

This follows just about the same process as Letgo: Meet in a public place, let the buyer inspect the item and gather payment in cash or through a payment platform.

Because this is up to you, OfferUp isn’t going to snag a percentage of the sale; it’s all yours.

Overall: OfferUp is really, super similar to Letgo. It’s an app, it’s free and it follows just about the same steps. It also has similar downfalls, including jokesters who offer $1,000 for a fancily folded $1 bill. However, the FAQ page is easy to get ahold of, and customer service welcomed us with open arms.

3. CPlus (for Craigslist)

CPlus is a third-party app because Craigslist doesn’t have its own. But it’s legit. It also has more than 10,000 ratings averaging 4.8/5 stars. Not bad.

The sign-up process

Again, you’ll download the app. You’ll need to agree to Craigslist terms and conditions before choosing your location.

Next, you’ll need to click the little draft icon in the top right corner of the screen.

If you don’t already have a Craigslist account, you’ll need to create one. This redirects you to Craigslist web page. Enter your email, then verify your account and create a password.

Navigate back over to the app, sign in and start posting.

How to post an item

After accepting more terms and conditions, you can create a new posting.

Choose the location (admittedly, a bit redundant), tap “Go,” then answer, What type of posting is this? You’ll likely choose “for sale by owner.” Then you’ll choose a category and select a subarea.

Title your posting, add a price, specific location, postal code and a description. Next, you’ll add images… and then the app crashed on us

We tried again, got through, snapped a photo then published it.

Snagging the sale

We didn’t get a bite on our origami dog. Perhaps people are getting tired of seeing it on every single marketplace app.

However, Craigslist has been around for a long, long time -- a lot longer than these other platforms, and has a huge following. We suspect it won’t take too long to get interested locals if what you’re selling is worthwhile.

Do be aware of safety issues when it comes to Craigslist. As with the other apps, meet in a well-lit public setting and trust your instincts. Your complete guide to Craigslist safety is here.

Getting paid

Securing the payment is up to you and cannot be done through the app. For safety, use cash -- but not a ton.

Like any of the other apps, you’ll likely have people who flake out.

Overall: CPlus is a great app for those who already know and love Craigslist. Unfortunately, there are some glitches, and the app doesn’t work as smoothly as others. You might benefit just as well from using craigslist.org on your favorite mobile browser.

However, through the app, you still post directly to Craigslist, which is one of the largest and most popular selling platforms, so we suspect you’ll have some luck!

4. 5miles

After looking at 5miles for a while, we start seeing “Smiles,” and the app does put smiles on our faces.

The sign-up process

Unlike Letgo and OfferUp (and more like Craigslist), you don’t have to download the 5miles app to post an item for sale. You can do it online, too, though you’ll need to upload photos -- probably from your phone.

Like Letgo and OfferUp, you can choose to sign up with Facebook. It’ll show you which of your friends are using the app so you can create a sort of community. Then enter your zip code.

Now you’re ready to post.

How to post an item

Click the camera icon at the bottom, and take a photo (or video!). You can add a title, a description and hashtags, which will help interested buyers better find your item. Then select a category and price.

You’ll also need to select “cash only” or “cash or 5miles Wallet.” (More on this below.)

Final step: Verify yourself. This just requires you enter your phone number. You’ll then receive a passcode via text you’ll enter. Sure, it’s an extra step, but the verification feature helps cut down on spammers and fakes.

Depending on what you’re listing and how many listings you’re making, you might have to pay a small fee.

For example, you’ll get five free car listings. Anything more than that, you’ll need to pay $4.99. This simply helps weed out spam. (Find the fee details here.)

Unless you’re selling more than five cars, five cell phones or 20 pieces of furniture, you’ll likely be fine.

Oh, and if your item passes “inspection,” 5miles will add $3 to your account, which you can use toward a future purchase.

Snagging the sale

We didn’t get any bites on 5miles, so be sure to check that it’s readily used in your area before posting everything.

It does stand out from the other apps in that it has a neat feature that allows you to promote your items. Categorize it as “must go,” “triple exposure” or “click-to-call.”

If you have a big item that really needs to go, you might consider paying $2.99 for these 3-day promo features (or $1.99 for 14 days of click-to-call, which means buyers can easily contact you).

Getting paid

You have two options in transferring the item: You can meet in person -- again, exercise caution -- or you can ship the item. If you choose to ship, you’ll be charged a fee. Or you can arrange to ship the item yourself.

In transferring money, you can hand over cash or use an app payment option. However, 5miles also has its own wallet, where you can transfer money within the app.

Here are more details on 5miles wallet and shipping.

Overall: 5miles is impressive. Although you have to take a few extra steps to post your item, we realize it helps weed out the frauds and makes the community a better place. We also love the inside payment option -- and the option to ship if you so wish. We predict letgo and OfferUp will follow suite with some of these features.

Your Turn: What’s your favorite app to sell your stuff?

Disclosure: We don’t hesitate to pick pennies off the sidewalk when we spot them. But the affiliate links in this post help our earnings grow even quicker. Plus, it’s a lot cleaner than sidewalk money.