Classified Post Guidelines: Buy/ Sell

Please keep these guidelines in mind when making transactions on the PSP Classifieds Group...

 For the Buyer

For the Seller

PSP Member Advice about Buying/ Selling on the Classifieds 



Safety First. Please be careful during any transactions you have with people you do not know.

Do not go alone to a stranger’s house; try not to be alone when you expect someone to purchase or look at an item you want to sell.

Never give your financial information (Paypal, credit card, etc.) to anyone you do not know.

Golden Rule: These are your neighbors. Treat them with kindness and you'll feel good thinking that your kids are enjoying that toy or jacket as much as theirs did.


About the item you are selling:

-              Be reasonable — and realistic -- about the item’s (items’) price and condition. Understand physical depreciation and use: gently used vs. over a year of use. And, really, once it's been used, the price goes down significantly. Remember, your primary goal is to unload items you do not need. Also think about whether you should be selling items, or giving them away for free.

-              Make sure you have an item (and all the pieces/parts) before you respond to an ISO (in search of) message or to a post about an item you want to sell (e.g., bouncy seat realize you put it in storage and it’s not readily available for purchasing).

About the price and sale:

 -              Be somewhat willing to negotiate, especially if someone is prepared to purchase multiple items.

-              Be clear about the condition of the item. Even if you are giving something away and not selling it, there's a cost to the person who comes to get it in time and effort. So if it's a broken stroller, say so. Someone handy may still feel it's worth getting it and fixing it, but they shouldn't make arrangements, get to your home, and then find out.

-              If you sold an item, let the board (and those interested) know it's no longer available.

-              If you rely on the purchaser to pay later, realize you may need to follow up and send a reminder e-mail about payment. Or, realize that you may not get paid at all. Best to ask for cash up front. Advertise as “cash ‘n’ carry” only.

-              Don't price gouge. If you offer an item at a certain price and promise it to someone, don't write back and tell the person you got a better offer.

-              Once you've agreed on a price with your neighbor, honor your commitment. If someone else offers more after a deal was concluded, it's too late. Even if the original person hasn't picked up the item yet. Even if the new offer is much better.

-             If you put "OBO" (or best offer) in your post, that means you'll consider less than what you've stated if no one wants it at the price you stated. It does not mean you're putting the item up for auction. If you agree on a price, stick to it, as above.

About your post:

 -              Be clear about your availability: specific times and days make it easier for the buyer to honor your schedule.

-              Please post your location - cross streets are best, neighborhood at the least, so potential buyers can properly gauge whether they can pick up the item.

-              Please do not post your item more than once per week unless you've lowered the price or made some other type of change to the listing.

-              Unless a coupon is actually a gift certificate, or you have received the coupon as a credit for something you purchased, do not sell a coupon. Generally, coupons are understood to be free.

-              Use the Classifieds as a resource, not as a business. Post only items that belong to you, that you wish to sell or give away. This is not a place to run your side business or post for friends who aren't on the list or try to corner the market on pacifiers and make a killing reselling. PSP Classifieds are a way to remove items you no longer need from your too small apartment (and aren't they all), recoup a little money so you can buy the next size, and help out your neighbors at the same time.

About communicating with the buyer:

 -            Keep your transactions one-on-one versus juggling multiple people at once. Best to say, "I've promised it to someone, I'll let you know if that falls through" then plan multiple transactions just to leave someone in the lurch who was expecting they would be sold an item.    

-              Check your e-mails (and cell if you post that info) since the main sales venue is the list serve. Respond immediately to interest either by explaining that there are a number of potential buyers, the item has been purchased, that you will contact the person if the item has not been taken, etc

-              Follow through. If you agree to sell something, arrange a time to make the sale and make it happen. If for some reason it doesn't work out, don't leave people hanging; close the loop.

-              If someone doesn't show up when they arranged to and doesn't contact you to cancel, you can certainly accept another offer or repost. If someone repeatedly cancels, even with contacting you, you can decide that it's too much and you'll accept another offer or repost, but you need to tell the buyer you're doing that.

About arranging pickup/ drop off:

 -             Make arrangements for pickup/drop off before you arrive. If leaving your kids in the house, or leaving your kids in the car (or finding parking) is going to make an exchange difficult, plan ahead so the exchange can go smoothly.

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Potential Buyers

About the item you are buying:

 -              If someone sends you photos of an item, be courteous and either decline or accept ASAP just to let folks know where you stand.

-             Used means NOT New. When you email the seller, remember that these are used items and that this is not a commercial enterprise. It's perfectly legitimate to ask the brand and/or condition of the item, particularly if it's not clear from the post, but do so in a kind and respectful way that does not put down your neighbors.

About communicating with the seller:

-              Try to honor the seller’s schedule. Do not call last minute while you are in the neighborhood to ask to see or purchase an item. Make a date in advance.

-              Show up when you say you will OR alert the seller earlier than later that you cannot. The seller can decide whether to hold on to the item or contact others.

About the price and sale:

-              If you agree to buy something but then change your mind, please notify the seller so that he or she can move on to another interested buyer.

-             If you agreed on a price and a pick up day/time/place, honor that commitment or cancel. Do not leave the seller hanging because you've changed your mind or found a better deal elsewhere. If something urgent happens and you can't come when you said you would, contact the seller immediately and apologize. S/he may well have organized her day around your pickup.

-              Try not to be wishy-washy...if you spend time at someone’s house looking at an item, try to make a decision then, or ask for a day to think about it and not more. THEN, follow up.

-              Honor the price you agreed upon. If you are offering less than the stated price, do that online and not at the point of sale. Also be prepared for the seller to say no. Offer what you think is fair –haggling over a dollar or two is not worth the bad vibe it sends. This person could someday be someone you need to help you; they are going to be less likely to do so if you bargain them out of money.

-              Don't short-change a sale. If you offered a certain price, honor it. Don't show up with less money or try to undercut the sale once you are at the exchange.

-              Best bet is to have cash on hand (and exact change) unless the seller agrees to a check or Paypal. Don't be surprised if he or she wants the check to clear before buying a large ticket item. Also, follow up with the payment and don't make the seller remind you.

About arranging pickup/ drop off:

-             Make arrangements for pickup/drop off before you arrive. If leaving your kids in the house, or leaving your kids in the car (or finding parking) is going to make an exchange difficult, plan ahead so the exchange can go smoothly.

 -           Check out and try the item on the spot so you don’t get home and find that it doesn’t work. Then it’s not a he said/she said about the condition or workability of the item.

You’ve bought the item. Now...

-              Unless otherwise stated, the purchaser needs to arrange for pick up in a timely manner: don't keep people waiting and storing things for you if you've agreed to buy it. In this case, the seller has no obligation to you.

-              Plan ahead for transporting your items. Have rope/bungee cords or whatever you may need and don't expect the seller to provide these.


-             Give people the benefit of the doubt. A little compassion for your fellow parents can go a long way toward making an interaction great or awful.

-             Buy or receive only what your family can use. Do not take items you received as freebies or bought on PSP and then sell them elsewhere at a profit. That's not what the Classifieds are for and diminishes the integrity of our community. Using the Park Slope Parents to sell items related to a business endeavor (e.g., you own an online kids’ clothing store and are selling to our members as though they are your child’s clothes).

 PSP Member Advice about Buying/ Selling on the Classifieds


Know the market value of items for sale:
-            I don’t know if it’s so much of a trick, but I’d say knowing the market and value of used items is important. I generally expect to see used items, no matter how clean and scratch-free they may be, at least 50% less than new. Otherwise it’s not worth my time to arrange for a pick up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen things listed in our classifieds for close to (or even more than) the cost of buying new. These items tend to get reposted over and over, cluttering inboxes and digests.”

State your availability:

-            “My big tip for the classifieds - whether I'm giving away something for free or buying something, I always state my available in the initial email. I state that you can pick it up on X day between Y and Z times either in my initial offer email to the group, or in my first response email to the individual. It helps them know you are serious, and it speeds up the whole process.”


Similar to the above point, be specific about your availability
-            “To help with the scheduling issues, I find posting at the end of the week with my weekend avails spelled out has helped (and I make sure if I post something I will actually be around). I also sometimes set a "must pick up today or tomorrow" so that I'm getting people who are serious. But nothing is more annoying than me saying I am free all weekend and to let me know a specific time and then have people ask if I can do Tuesday at noon.”

Also be specific about the condition of the item you are selling:
-            “Specifics about any wear and tear.”

Sell specialty items:
-            “When I have posted, it's been more 'specialized items' and then it's worked well to post a link to the product.”

Post “OBO.”
-            “I usually post a price "OBO" -- I've found it hasn't worked well to re-post with lower prices -- seems like things are either in demand or not.”

Wait to the appropriate season to post items:
-            “Hold clothing and post it for the appropriate season.”

Pay it forward:
-            “While I've given away stuff for free, and love the idea of paying it forward on the listserv, you can do that in other ways. Like selling bigger ticket items at huge discounts (like our very expensive, fairly new crib for $40 including the bedding! Or a giant bag of clothes for $10.) Or how about responding to the ISO posts? (Which I often do!) I once saw a post from someone who needed a glider chair for her mom who had a serious disability and no money. I arranged for her to pick up our fairly new, in GREAT condition Pottery Barn glider. (We didn't use it as much as we thought we would and it took up so much space in our small living room.) You would never have seen this transaction because I contacted her directly when I saw her post.

Put a small price on items:
-            “As someone who grew up with parents who are borderline hoarders, free seems like a bad idea to me. Sometimes I've sold things before for $1 or $2 (nice things like a coat, great pair of shoes, etc.) and that's to deter anyone who thinks like a hoarder and automatically responds to ANYTHING that's free.”

Reply to the buyer quickly:
-            “Responding quickly to first offers worked well.”

Some sell to the first buyer (while others wait - more below):
-            “I ALWAYS respond to the first person who contacted me when I'm selling or giving something away and receive more than 1 response. I would never think to look up someone's history and here's why.... As someone who does leadership and development training for a living, I know we all have biases. Like it or not we gravitate to people similar to us. Research proves this out. I wouldn't want anyone making a decision based on someone’s name or email address. I know that's not at all what you're proposing, but I still worry it could happen.”

Have a photo ready to share:
-            “One tip: have your photo of the item ready to share. I always take a photo of the item and store it on my phone at the time I post that item. That way, when someone responds to my post and asks for a pic, I can accommodate that request even if I’m at work (away from the item) or at home and the item is in the closet of the room where my kids are sleeping, etc. Have your photo ready to share to expedite correspondence and transactions.”


Check items are clean and complete:
-            “Also, making sure items are clean and complete. I purchased several “bags of . . . “ listed as “barely used” or “like new” that had stained clothing and it missing parts. Needless to say, I don’t entertain any of those sellers for anything anymore.”
-            “I can't count the number of stained or ripped things I've been "given" that just got re-sorted into the trash! So you never know about one person's free…”

Only offer to take a free item if you are serious and genuinely need the item:
-            “I also have found some really annoying tendencies - I have stopped generally offering items for free as it seems people respond but don't take it seriously to set a time and date to pick it up. Same thing with low priced items as I don't want to rearrange my entire schedule because someone can only come by in the middle of the day. Seems that people forget many of us are gone during the day at work.”
-            “On the offering for free [...], if someone replies in a way that seems like they really need the gear or are really grateful, I'm more likely to give it to them. I'd rather help someone who really needs it than someone who can afford it otherwise and is just getting a fifth coat for their kid.

Make the exchange easy, nice, and simple for the seller:
-            “I have also stopped offering to the first person to respond and instead giving things to the person who seems like they are going to show up and not be a pain. I also will sometimes choose people who live near me as it always seems easier and they are less likely to flake - I've met people on a street corner on our ways to drop off, etc. I want my things to go to good use and nice people and have met some really kind folks and am glad to have a community like this.”

If you are looking for a particular item, set up a Google Alert or e-mail filer:
-            “One other trick (and maybe people who are hard core don’t want this secret out?) I know that some people do is to create a Google alert [instructions]  for whatever item they are really looking for (e.g., crib, glider, co-sleeper) so if it pops up in your email it will notify you. This works best if you have your email delivery on individual. To cut down on clutter you can filter Classifieds emails into a folder so it doesn’t cramp your inbox [Email filters instructions on GMail and Yahoo!].”

View all PSP posting policies >