Expert tips when buying and selling on Gumtree

Picture of items to sell including a bicycle, guitar, wellies and toys for my post with expert tips when buying and selling on Gumtree

Bag a bargain or cash in on clutter


Buying and selling online is a great way to spend less or earn extra – but how can you do so effectively?

We’re all so used to clicking to buy online, sometimes we can feel awkward dealing with actual humans to agree a price and arrange collection.

Worry no more! Last week, I was delighted to discover top tips on negotiating prices when I attended a workshop organised by Gumtree, the UK’s #1 classified website and app. Maybe it’s a British quirk, but 61% of us don’t feel comfortable asking for a discount – and that means a whopping £6.5 billion of savings get missed, according to Gumtree research.

Read on for great advice on using online marketplaces with confidence and getting what you want at a price you’re willing to pay.

Why buy from an online marketplace?

We all have stuff we’d like to get rid of, or bargains we’d like to buy without paying high-street prices.

I like buying second-had stuff, because I can often find better or more unusual items for less money than buying brand new. Selling stuff means I can raise money while clearing clutter. Once-loved toys and clothes can go to benefit other children. And whether I’m buying or selling, it means more items get reused, rather than adding to landfill.

Related post: How to use less plastic and cut costs

Using an online marketplace like Gumtree brings wider choice than heading to a car boot sale or charity shop. You can create ads for free, without worrying about listing fees. If you take cash you don’t have to stump up for PayPal fees either. Plus, if you’re buying and selling locally, with stuff to be collected, it also avoids the faff and expense of postage and packing.


Picture of the Gumtree guide to the etiquette of buying and selling online plus crisps and fizz

Definite advantages to attending the workshop

Where to get top tips on negotiating the best prices

Gumtree has teamed up with the How to Academy and negotiation expert, Gavin Presman, who really knows his stuff, to create a guide called “The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online”. (Think Debretts but for second hand stuff).

You can download the guide for free. It’s packed with simple tips for both buyers and sellers, to give you confidence using online marketplaces, right from making first contact to meeting up to exchange the goods and arranging the transaction itself.

If you’d rather learn about it all in person, you can even rock up at a free interactive workshop. The workshop will be at 6.45pm on Tuesday 4 September at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design in London – get your tickets.

I really enjoyed the Gumtree workshop, with the chance to hear an explanation of the steps to successful buying and selling. It was fascinating discussing how to create more effective listings, that would actually bring in more buyers!


Picture of the pans I bought on Gumtree, for my post about expert tips when buying and selling on Gumtree

Bargain pans still going strong

Top tips for buyers

I’ve definitely benefited from bagging some bargains on online marketplaces. Remember the saucepans for my new induction hob? (Previous post) I’d spotted them online for £119.99, but found a brand new set, still in their original box and packaging, listed for £30 on Gumtree. The nice man even agreed to take less, at £25, and dropped them round on his way to the gym. We’ve bought a whole load of other items on Gumtree too, from a Lloyd Loom chair to my daughter’s dolls house and a big box of Playmobil.

Listening to the advice from Gavin Presman, I’m confident I could negotiate some low-stress, low-price deals.

Here are the top tips for buyers that really resonated with me:

  1. Benefit from bargains: Be grateful that some sellers don’t research their listings and check prices elsewhere. That means you can still pick up incredible bargains (better hope they haven’t all read the guide!)
  2. Ask away: If you see a listing that looks good, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you want extra details. According to Gumtree, buyers who ask questions early on and establish a link to the seller are more likely to end up with the item
  3. Always ask, politely, for a discount. You could ask for money off, or extras like accessories thrown in for free. Go on, be brave, just try saying: “Is there any way of getting a better price?”. Maybe you could ask if they’ll take say £5 off if you pay cash, or come to collect quickly, so you’re suggesting a benefit they will get in return
  4. Don’t send payment beforehand, wait until you’ve seen the item
  5. Check how the buyer would like to be paid, and if it’s cash, take the exact amount as they may not have change. Best not show up in a dark alley with a huge wodge of money though, eh?
  6. Treat the handover like a blind date. If you don’t feel completely comfortable, take a mate and / or agree to meet in a public place. I get round this by sending my husband to collect items I’d like to buy…
  7. Show up when you say you will, or if you’re unavoidably detained, let the seller know asap
  8. When you arrive, don’t trash the item in the hope of getting money off. You’ll only irritate the seller. Try a compliment instead – their house, the area, even the weather if you’re stumped for ideas!
  9. Don’t be offended if the seller wants to count your cash or check your PayPal transfer got through. Avoids any issue that they might complain later about not getting the right money
  10. Take a print out of the listing and double check you have everything promised before you leave


Picture of the goldfish shower curtain I sold on an online marketplace for my post with expert tips when buying and selling on Gumtree

Who knew a shower curtain could sell for so much?

Top tips for sellers

Selling items online that you no longer need is a great way to raise spare cash. I was amazed when I listed an unused shower curtain online, and it raised well over £20. Who knew goldfish shower curtains were so popular?

I have a cupboard full of clutter (who am I kidding? several cupboards. And drawers. And a basement) which I’m keen to sell online. The guide and workshop have inspired me to get started. That Ben 10 starter bike stashed in the cellar has got to go!

Here are the top tips I took away for sellers:

  1. Lavish care on your listing. Research other listings to see what people mention, describe your item and any faults honestly, and include loads of photos. Make sure you write a clear title that really encourages people to click
  2. Use your own photos. Better to use your own pics, even if they’re only snapped on a smartphone, than lift an image online. This helps the seller trust that you actually own the item, and it’s in the condition you describe
  3. Make it personal. This was really interesting. Don’t just describe the features – explain what difference they made. The 10 gears helped me ride the bike more easily uphill, the 10-hour battery life meant I could get through a whole day at the office without charging my phone, you get the picture. As Gavin said: “Sell the sausage, not the sizzle!”
  4. People buy people. Answer questions promptly and professionally, so the buyer trusts you to deliver what you say you will
  5. Pad your price a little. Everyone likes a bargain, so maybe add a bit extra to the price so you have room to negotiate down, and still reach a price you’re happy with. Keep it realistic though!
  6. Don’t be offended if people offer a lower price, but remember, you don’t have to agree. Stick to your guns if you think it’s worth more
  7. Brace yourself for bargaining, perhaps you could offer to stay at the same price, but chuck in extra accessories or a lesson on how to use the item. Draw attention to any similar items you’re selling, in case they’re interested. So if you’re selling a mobile phone for example, see if you can top up the deal with the power pack and phone cover too
  8. Suggest meeting elsewhere to hand over the item, if you’re not comfortable with people showing up on your doorstep
  9. Email directions if that would help and make the boundaries clear – “welcome to collect between 6pm and 8pm” – rather than waiting till past midnight
  10. Check the payment before you let the buyer take the item away, whether that’s counting out cash or confirming an online payment has reached your account. If they’ve left, it’s too late


Now – over to you. What’s your top tip for selling stuff on Gumtree? Or bagging a bargain? Do say in the comments, I’d love to hear!

This is a collaborative post.

Previous post: Top 10 tips for a successful yard sale

Pin for later:

Pinterest sized image of a bike, guitar, wellies and toys for my post with expert tips when buying and selling on Gumtree

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. 24th July 2018 / 6:43 pm

    Politeness goes a long way… I have been known to sell to someone and take less than another potential buyer was offering just because that person came across rude!

    • 25th July 2018 / 5:14 am

      So true. Many of the negotiation tips were about good communication and good manners – asking polite questions, sending directions, confirming you were coming to collect, showing up as agreed and explaining that you’d like to check the item, count the money etc.

  2. 6th July 2020 / 11:50 am

    Thanks for the tips on buying and selling online, I was really in need of this updates. Thanks for creating this blog. I read through your article, and it was mind-blowing, that I had to read through it over and over again. I’m still marveled at what I read on your blog, I would love to visit your blog often to read more article. I do have a blog also and I would love you to check out my blog tecreals and give me a few tips.

  3. 23rd March 2022 / 11:37 am

    I did not precisely understand what was tried to convey here, but this was indeed a helpful news. I guess it is a significant achievement which should be celebrated. A lot of travel agencies can work on this model.

  4. 2nd August 2023 / 11:51 am

    Amazing Post and great content. Thanks for sharing this article.Thanks Again!!

  5. Manuel Franco
    1st December 2023 / 9:12 am

    I just want to say Thank You to everyone who supported me through the years. My name is Manuel Franco, New Berlin, Wisconsin. My story of how I won the Powerball lottery of $768.4M is a bit of a tale. I have been playing Powerball tickets for 6 years now since I turned 18. I bought my first ticket on my 18 birthday. I was feeling very lucky that day because I had contacted Dr. Odunga Michael to help me with the winning Powerball numbers. I really had that great great feeling that I looked at the camera wanting to wink at it. I only did a tiny part of it and trusted him. He gave me the numbers after I played a couple other tickets along with it for $10. I checked my ticket after the winnings came online and saw the numbers were correct including the Power play. I screamed for about 10 minutes because it felt like a dream. I had won $768.4M. You can check my winning testimony with the lottery officials just with my name search. Thank you Dr Odunga. Well, his email is and you can also call or Whats-app him at +2348167159012 so you guys can contact him

  6. Yanira Alvarez
    23rd May 2024 / 4:11 pm

    Real spell casters are hard to find but I am happy to thank Lord Krish for helping me win the lottery successfully after trying so many spell casters and I found my happiness in Lord Krish. I was given the lottery numbers by him which made me the third highest lottery winner in history and this is all thanks to you sir. Winning the lottery is something everyone would like to feel especially with a trustworthy spell caster. I, Yanira Alvarez, won the Powerball lottery in Los Angeles and I really thank Lord Krish because after I contacted him, he told me to only provide the spiritual items for him to do it for me and I didn’t hesitate to give him what he required so I could win it. I have tried so many spell casters who seemed real but only Lord Krish numbers gave me the winnings. I won the Powerball Jackpot of $1.08 billion and I am here today to share my experience to those willing to win the lottery as well. Take this opportunity to contact Lord Krish Spiritual with his email: and also share your experience with others.

The contents of this blog are for information and ideas, and should not be viewed as financial advice. Use of the material is conditional on there being no liability for how you choose to use it. If you are unsure about any investments or financial issues, please contact a financial adviser.