The unwritten rules of local buy/sell/trade groups

With the influx in Marie-Kondo-inspired cleanouts, more and more moms are turning to local buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook. Whether to easily purge belongings that don’t spark joy, or to pick up gently used items for a fraction of the price, these groups are growing so much in popularity that most are now secret and by invite only.


But buyers and sellers beware: once you’re in, it isn’t always smooth sailing. If you have found yourself in one of these groups and have no clue where to turn, here is a basic guide of how to make the most of it.


General tips:


1. Read the rules


Each group is generally run by one or several Admins, with a set of rules pinned to the top of the page. To be eligible for buying and selling, most users must agree to the rules on an Admin post. Rules vary from group to group, but many operate on a three strikes and you’re out policy.


2. Know the lingo


Familiarize yourself with these universal abbreviations, which can be so confusing to users until you’ve got the terminology down pat.


NWT (New with tags)


NWOT (New without tags)


EUC (Excellent used condition)


VGUC (Very good used condition)


GUC (Good used condition)


ISO (In search of)


PPU (Pending pick up)


OBO (Or best offer)


CP (Cross posted)Interested (Signifies you want an item)


Pass (Indicates you have changed your mind about an item)


Next (Signifies you are next on the list for an item)


Bump (Commenting on your own post to push the item back into news feeds)


3. Use an online payment method


Register for an account with Venmo or PayPal so both the seller and buyer are accountable for sending and receiving payment. There’s nothing worse than leaving cash in a potted plant on a front porch to find out it was never received (I’ve been there). Online payment services also have buyer and seller protection services should a transaction go south.


Seller tips:


1. Details, details, details!


Err on the side of providing too much information when posting an item for sale. Make sure to include a current photo of the item and honestly disclose the condition it is in, in addition to whether you live in a smoke-free and pet-free home (this is a common question from potential buyers).


2. Keep your prices reasonable


You will never sell items if you price them too high. Remember your audience. If you are looking to recoup a good portion of what you paid for a designer item, opt for a consignment shop.


3. Don’t make under the table deals


While sellers are often in a rush to purge items, buyers can move a bit slower. A seller who posts something for sale must give the item to the first person to comment “interested” and then go down the line of who comments “next.” Sellers  may not give priority to first pick up.


Buyer tips:


1. Don’t stand up a seller


Take it from someone who has changed plans to wait at home for not one — but six —  failed toy kitchen pickups. By posting “interested,” your word is your commitment.


2. Don’t try to negotiate price


Once you comment ‘interested,’ you are giving your word that as a buyer, you will purchase the item for the asking price. If you do want to negotiate price, do it over direct message prior to the pickup. Many times, sellers are put in awkward positions when buyers try to negotiate in person.


3. Insist on a safe pickup location


If meeting someone in an alley to pick up a Jumperoo sounds sketchy, go with your gut and choose a public place where you feel comfortable getting out of your car. While Admins do their best job to vet group members, it isn’t full proof. It is also a good idea to let someone know where you are going to pick up the item.


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