I LOVE Craigslist. I have found about 90% of the furniture in my home on Craigslist. A lot of people ask where I find all my furniture. I always say Craigslist. It’s the best and most versatile way to shop for secondhand furniture (cheap furniture).
So here are 10 things that will help make your buying experience less stressful and more productive.
- You need to have a clear idea of what you’re searching for. These are the things you need to know: what the item is called, the location you’re willing to travel to, the price range you’re willing to pay, and the size and look of the item.
- Use the filters. Now that you know exactly what you’re looking for, use the filters. You don’t want to waste a lot of time scrolling through items you don’t care about. Inputting the right information into the Craigslist search and filters will help save you time. I always search “owner only” and “has image.” I don’t set a price range right away. I’ll get to that soon.
- Be patient but also get ready to act fast! It can take months for you to find what you’re looking for. Don’t give up. Just keep looking. Once you find it, pounce on it! Contact them ASAP. You never know who else may be looking for that same item….it’s probably me. Ha-ha!
- Be active! If you’re looking for something in particular, you should be looking at least once a day. If I’m on the hunt for something special, I like to look in the morning and at night. The more you look, the more likely someone else won’t steal your item without you knowing it!
- Be flexible. I know I said “know what you want” but sometimes you need to alter your original criteria. Maybe it’s $20 more than you wanted to spend. Maybe it’s 20 miles further than you wanted to drive. Ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is it worth missing out on over that $20? Ask yourself if driving a little bit further to finally have that dream item is that big of a deal.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle. I sell a lot on Craigslist and I’m always surprised when people don’t haggle with me, even just a little. Just ask! Ask just a little under what you think it’s worth. If they have it listed for $100 and you think it’s worth $80, ask $60 or $70. They will probably meet you at $80, yay! If they say “no,” it’s no big deal. You can either: A. Walk away (not literally, 99% of the time the price should be negotiated prior to meeting up, either on the phone, in text or by email.) B. Wait them out. Ask them again when you see them repost the item. Maybe they’ll be more flexible or maybe they’ve lowered the price on their own. C. Just buy it and pay a little extra. Maybe it’s something you’ve been searching for forever and you don’t want to see it slip away. All three of these are good options. And remember, only cash on Craigslist!
- Ask for more information before you set a price and/or meet up. Often, people leave out important information on the post. Make sure you know it will fit correctly where you envision it going in your house. More importantly, make sure it will fit in your car! Get all the measurements and measure your vehicle! Ask for details of the condition, if none are given. Too many times I’ve packed something in the car, closed the door and said “Wow, that needs a lot of work!” Don’t be afraid to ask any question you may have about the item! It will also help the seller know what to include in future posts.
- Think about how you’re going to transport your item and if you’ll need lifting help. If you have a truck you may need blankets, bungee cords, ropes, and/or cardboard. If you have a SUV, sedan, or mini van you may just need a blanket to put down on the ground. I’m allergic to cats and dogs so when picking something up from someone who has a pet, I place the item on a blanket and then I can just wash the blanket when we are done. If the item is heavy, make sure you bring someone who is physically able to lift it and/or help you load it.
- If you have some extra time or you just can’t find what your looking for, remove your filters and scroll through all of “Antiques” and “Furniture.” Sellers who post sometimes don’t know how to properly title their items. A “desk” could be titled as a “table”….a “swing” could be titled a “rocking chair.”
- And always be safe. Meet in a safe place. Don’t go alone. If you’re meeting at someone’s home, try not to go inside the house. Have them bring the item outside to you or in an open garage. Keep your wits about you. People are crazy!
Do you have any helpful thoughts on how to get the most out of buying on Craigslist? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
And remember, you did it yourself and it will probably show. Embrace the DIY life.