The Most Common Reasons Why Your Second-Hand Item Has Not SOLD

Are you feeling frustrated that you keep having to re-post or “bump” your item on a buy/sell/trade page on Facebook or on Craigslist? The whole point, after all, was to sell it but here you are 3 months later with it sitting on your console table with nowhere to go. There’s probably a good reason for that and as a marketer, I’m going to tell you why…

It’s Overpriced

If you paid $50 for it and expect to sell it for $40, good luck (unless it is practically brand new). Most people who buy second-hand items are usually savvy shoppers and so they know that they can buy it BRAND NEW on clearance for $25 so why would they ever spend $40 on it?


I always recommend to price it at about 25% of what you paid. If this is too hard for you to do, donate it and use it as a write-off for your taxes. Don’t overprice things. People will judge you! I will judge you!

Bad Photos

Many times I’ll see great items with horrendous photos. Is the photo quality poor (poor lighting, glare, weird angle, blurry)? Sometimes the photo is so busy because the seller didn’t remove distracting items. Here’s an example of what I mean:


Make sure to take clear photos, with good lighting, and a non-distracting background. If you’re selling a high-dollar item such as a car, make sure to take plenty of photos at good angles. (Pro tip: If you’re specifically selling a car, make sure to clean it spotless from the inside out before taking pictures)

Bad Titles or Descriptions

Could the title be too vague or even worse, misspelled? For instance, “Women’s Running Shoes” vs “Women’s Nike Free 5.0 Running Shoes Size 7.5”.  Which one will connect the right buyers to the right product? (aka create a bigger prospective buying audience for yourself)

I’ve also seen descriptions that are written like run-on sentences where it doesn’t read easily.


Make sure that the title is descriptive and spelled correctly. For your item descriptions, make sure it’s broken up into readable chunks and that bullet points (or numbering) are used where necessary to list features. (Pro tip: If your item is a high-dollar item, always try to link it to show the original price as a reference point for the buyer)

Other (Hopefully) Obvious Reasons:

  • Nobody wants it. I’m talking about that projector TV in your basement that you’re trying to sell for $100. You couldn’t even pay me $100 to remove it for you.
  • It’s Not Worth the Effort. If you’re selling a $3 item that I have to drive clear across town for, I’m not going to buy it. Even it’s a good deal. Try to group items together to add value and convenience for your buyers.

While this is not a comprehensive list, I think these reasons are the main offenses that keep your item from selling. Happy Selling!