How to Properly Buy, Sell, and Trade Items on Facebook

Posted on: November 6, 2014

In the last year or so, the number of Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook as just exploded. As I’m always on the hunt for a bargain, I’ve joined a few of them, both ones that are local “rummage sale” types as well as those focused on prepping and related topics. For those interested in bushcraft, I’d recommend this one. This one is great for general prepping gear.

During my time spent in these and other groups, I’ve come up with a few hints and tips for those who are selling, buying, or trading. Nothing earth shattering, just a few helpful guidelines that will serve to make your transactions go much smoother.


1) We need ALL of the relevant information in the original post. Always include the brand name (if applicable) and the condition of the item. Clothing should include the size. Vehicles should include year, make, model, and mileage. Including all of this information at the beginning will help reduce the number of questions you’ll be asked. You should also mention the forms of payment you’re willing to accept (Paypal, mailed check/money order, etc.).

2) Be sure to also include the asking price. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen where this vital piece of information was missing.

3) Do your homework on the item you’re selling. Get a good sense of the actual worth of the item. If it retails on Amazon for $20 and you’re asking $40, you probably aren’t going to get a lot of interest.

4) Most potential buyers are going to send you a private message on Facebook. If they aren’t already a “friend” of yours, their message is likely going to land in your Other folder. You access this by going to the Facebook site and clicking on the Message icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Then, click the Other tab in the little window that pops up.


1) Read the post carefully before you ask questions. Make sure the information you seek isn’t listed before asking the question.

2) Be fair with any offer to purchase, if you’re looking to spend less than the asking price. If they post a price of $30, don’t offer them $7 and then get snippy when they turn you down.

3) It is considered good form to post in the Comments “PM sent” after sending off a message to the seller. This alerts them to look for your message.

4) If you disagree with the asking price, either counteroffer or just keep your trap shut. Nothing is more irritating to all involved than a lengthy debate about the price. If you feel the price is too high, don’t buy the item, simple as that.

5) While many sellers work on the “first come, first served” principle, it isn’t required of them to do so. In other words, if your offer to purchase arrives first, but is soon followed by another offer, that one from a guy the seller has successfully done business with before, you might be nudged out of the line.


1) Whether you’re offering something or wanting an item that’s been posted, do your homework and know the relative value of the knife or whatever. Doing so will avoid many headaches and arguments.

2) When offering something for trade, it is very helpful if you can give some ideas of what you’re hoping to get in return. Unless, of course, you love getting a couple dozen messages with people offering you all sorts of oddities. Admittedly, that can be interesting.

Once the deal is struck, communication is key. Get your payment or item in the mail promptly and let the person know when that happens. Providing a tracking number is considered customary. Upon receipt of your purchase or trade, examine it carefully and make sure it measures up to your expectations. If it doesn’t, contact the person right away and explain your concerns. Try to work things out privately before you create drama on the group. Could have been an honest mistake, it happens.

Becoming active in some of these buy/sell/trade groups can be a great way to obtain gear at prices lower than you’ll find on Amazon and elsewhere. But, as with anything else, buyer beware. Know going in that you’re likely not going to be making a ton of money as a seller and that you aren’t going to find a great deal every single day as a buyer.

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