I am trying to do a little redecorating, and, since I have no budget for furniture, I have been making great use out of Craigslist. My plan is to use the money that I earn from the things I sell to purchase some used furniture that will fit my current décor and lifestyle (with two dogs and a toddler, my main requirement is that it has to match the color of dirt).
I’ve picked up quite a few tips over my years using Craigslist. Here are some of my best…
1. If you have a smartphone, install the Craigslist app
It gives you easy access to frequently check listings throughout the day, and you can add you listings right from your phone. I like to scroll through the listings when I have some time to kill, just to see the newly added items. It’s great to do this with the “free” section. We scored a huge bouncy house for free, because we were the second people to email, and the first people backed out. We also scored a 60 gallon fish tank with the fish included. All we had to do we haul it ourselves.
2. Don’t be afraid to barter
One thing I have noticed about many of the items on Craigslist is that they aren’t worth the asking price. Everyone seems to think that their items are worth much more than they really are (myself included at times). Don’t be afraid to wait and see if the price on an item you have your eye on goes down. If it has been listed for a long time and you are interested don’t be afraid to negotiate the price. The longer it’s been on the market the more likely the sellers are likely to get rid of it at a lower price. You can get some fantastic deals on antiques and used furniture.
3. Add a little extra to your selling prices to buffer for bartering
Just like you negotiate prices to buy items, people will negotiate your selling prices. That’s just the way it goes. Add an extra $5 or $10, so that when people try to negotiate with you, you can accept their offer and you will both feel like you got a good deal. Sometimes they don’t want to barter and will just accept your asking price which is even better!
4. You don’t have to accept a lower price on something if you don’t want to
I sold a desk recently and asked $30 for it. The first lady who came to check it out said it wasn’t exactly what she was looking for and would give me $10 for it. I said no. The second guy that came wanted it, but asked if I would take $20 for it. I told him no, and that I had several other people interested (which was true). He paid $30. I sold a table recently and had a few people flake out on me who wanted to come buy it. One girl who emailed me previously asked if it was still available. I told her that I had lots of interest but I would give her dibs because we had been in communication about it. She paid my asking price for it.
5. Take nice pictures
You don’t need to go all out and stage a professional photo shoot with a photographer, but your photos do make the first impression.
6. Be honest with your listings
I sold a white buffet that had two busted legs, and in the listing I clearly stated “the legs in the front are damaged, and you will have to replace or fix them.” When someone came to pick it up, he acted like he had no clue the legs were damaged. I told him it specifically said so in the listing. He ended up taking it anyway, for $10 less than my asking price. If you aren’t upfront about any issues or damage, your buyers are going to be extremely upset when they get home and find them. Plus, it’s bad karma.
7. Deal only in cash
There are some scammers out there, so do not accept checks, money orders, or anything other than cold hard cash.
8. Of course, be safe!
I haven’t had a bad experience with anyone on Craigslist, but I know there are some (literal) horror stories out there. Use common sense. Meet in a public place if possible, or, better yet, in front of the police station! Don’t go to someone’s house alone. And be very cautious about who you invite your home to purchase things.
I want to know your tips for Craiglist shopping, and… what your best Craigslist score?