My Top 10 Craigslist Buying Tips
Welcome to the wonderful world of shopping on Craigslist! Where furniture can either be free or overpriced! Let me share with you my Top 10 Tips for Buying on Craigslist and ensuring you have success in finding quality furniture pieces for your home or business!
Warning! Craigslist can be addictive. Looking for the next good deal provides a high like no other. So, once you start browsing, beware! Craigslist has been a cuss-word in my family in the past. Warn your hubs you will be browsing ahead of time!
I’m gonna start this Top 10 Tips list off at number 10, David Letterman style. But they are not in any particular order.
Tip #10. Browse for furniture under the For Sale By Owner. Do Not include in your search For Sale by Dealer. Otherwise you will have 18 bazillion mattress and futon ads from some cheeseball clogging up your search list. Don’t do it.
Tip #9: I always search for pieces $150.00 or less. This helps me avoid the time suck that is me, mentally of course, making fun of the guy who has his grandma’s buffet for sale and is sure he’s going to get $2,000.00 for it.
Tip #8: A list of great keywords to use in your search criteria are:
Refinished: great for furniture who’s seller is suggesting it needs to be refinished.
Painted or Repainted: You might find some inspiration from other furniture painters in this search, but you are also looking for items where the seller is saying it needs to be repainted or they have had a failed attempt to paint it.
Reduced. Great for finding sellers who are moving or are ready to be rid of the item.
Old. Usually means that they are ready to get rid of it.
Chipped. As in paint or wood.
Repair. If it needs repair how much does it need and can you tackle it?
Tip #7: Don’t let a posting from someone who has no photo up deter you. Email and ask them for a photo and also offer to allow them to text the photo to your mobile phone to make it easier. I have done this and scored a gorgeous buffet for only $65.00.
Tip #6: Offer to show up, on time, with cash in hand. Your email should say something like “I am really interested in this _________ you have for sale. I can come anytime this evening with cash in hand, ready to pick it up. Please let me know what time will work for you.”
After selling on Craigslist for several years I know that potential buyers will contact you promising to buy your item but then never follow up or call back.
Tip #5: Ask for dimensions of the piece if they are not in the listing.
I once had my husband go pick up what I thought was a dresser. But when he arrived it was a small jewelry box, he paid the seller and then brought it home. When he showed it to me, I was furious (at myself!). I should have asked for the dimensions, but I had gotten so excited about the price I didn’t even think about it! BTW, the above picture is not the picture of the “dresser/jewelry box” but you get the idea.
This leads me to Tip #4: Don’t feel pressure to buy something just because you met up with the seller to purchase it. If you get there and it’s too small, the drawers won’t come out, a leg is broken, or – in my case- it’s jewelry box, don’t feel like you have to buy it. Just tell them thank you and move on.
Tip#3: If you think the piece of furniture will go fast in the Craigslist world, offer full price and don’t try to haggle just to get $10.00 off. Cough up the money so you can ensure you will be the first in line to buy it.
Tip #2: But negotiating is fun and many times sellers put a buffer in their asking price so they can lower it when asked for a better deal. I sold my furniture as a hobby on Craigslist for 2 years before I started my business and I always priced my pieces a little higher just so I could have some flexibility to come down on the price. And when someone asked me to take $20.00 off the listing price, I almost always agreed. Ask.
Tip #1: Safe and smart is the key to picking up from a Craigslist seller. Ask to meet in a public place, like a corner gas station by their house. If they can’t do that then take your husband (but don’t send him alone because then you will be the proud new owner of a jewelry box!) or take a friend with you. Don’t meet after dark if possible and if you do have to go alone, make sure someone knows where you are going. When you call the person on the phone prior to pick-up, you will get a feel for if they are a weirdo or not. I have never had a problem with buying on Craigslist, but I also use these safety guidelines, so that helps.
This list is in no way a scientific process, but it works for me. What success have you had buying on Craigslist? Do you have a favorite tip or trick? I would love to hear ‘em! And don’t forget to visit my Top 10 Garage Sale Tips here.
BTW, tonight I am headed for Arkansas for a 160-mile garage sale called Bargains Galore on 64. I can’t WAIT! I am going with one of my paint customers/workshop student-turned friend. I will make sure to take tons of pics for ya’ll and let you know what steals I find! I almost couldn’t sleep last night I was so excited!