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Jemelene Wilson

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What you need to know to buy or sell online | Moms

Social media has changed the way we do a lot of things.

Share family photos, play games, reconnect and even invite people to events.

It has changed how many of us sell used items. We aren't relegated to filing our driveway with used items, waiting for buyers to help us with our spring cleaning.

Online sites like eBay and Craigslist have helped us out for years.

Facebook has become a market place too.

Many members sign up for online groups. Locally we have Douglas County Momslist, Roseburg Oregon Momslist, Brides of Douglas County, Fabulous Furniture Deals – to name a few.

I've been in and out of a few since they have begun.

I've met some nice neighbors, bought some great items and found homes for clothes my daughter outgrew.

It's a handy tool, but knowing some tricks may just keep you from wasting time and most likely money.

First after joining, always take time to read the rules. Some groups have pages of laws to abide by while others keep it simple.

Some allow posts only for selling items; some are very strict about what you can sell and who can be a member.

Other groups leave it up to members to be polite and fair.

Regardless, “let the buyer beware” is always advisable and knowing the rules can protect you as well.

Want to sell an item?

Decide on a price you want. I rarely sell items for less than five dollars. It's not worth the time to take photos and meet with someone for a dollar here or there.

You need to decide what you are willing to take.

Take a decent photo. Better photos make buyers feel confident about items.

Most groups ask you to use the albums if you are listing more than five photos at a time. Check the rules and upload you pictures to the page.

Describe the item. A photo might seem self-explanatory, but if someone uses the search option for something they want, it will take them straight to your listing.

Include size, color, price and any other detail that will help sell your item. Skipping this only means taking time to answer questions in the comments.

Most groups like sellers to go with the first person to comment. It is fair but it is also up to you. If someone isn't ready to buy then moving on the next person available will save headaches.

Use a private message to set up meetings. The “wall” gets clogged with people making arrangements on the original post.

It really is best to meet in a public place unless you are comfortable with the person. I have met in a home or two to try on an item.

My favorite places are centrally located.

One lady meets buyers outside her work when she gets off for the day. She can afford to sell lower priced items because she isn't making a special trip. It has added up for her.

I've met at the duck pond, in the YMCA or other local parking lot. Work out something convenient for both of you.

When buying, make sure to check out the item there. You can always choose to pass if wasn't what you thought it would be.

Please leave time to bring exact change. (I've broken this rule myself and felt terrible.)

Just like real life, some groups have people that cause drama.

Whether it is with something they bought or posts they make, emotions run high and things get misunderstood.

Sometimes you have to weed through posts where someone is ranting. Others will ask for opinions on local doctors, dentists, hair salons, etc. I have to admit, this is a poor source for choosing a professional.

Everyone has their opinions and they aren't always educated opinions.

When you send your question out to a community on Facebook, the answers not only vary, they are less than reliable. Just keep that in mind.

The majority of folks in these groups just want to find screamin' deals and sell their used items.

A few want connection, a chance to meet other moms and new opportunities.

I first heard about this current writing gig in a local group.

I answered the ad and am still thrilled I did.

I've met some amazing women with stories to tell and friendship to give.

That's the best bargain anywhere!

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The News-Review Updated May 2, 2014 12:04AM Published May 10, 2014 09:50AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.