A Craigslist Find & Why Nate Owes Me Dinner

>> 3.30.2010

I'm sooo excited about my new bronze West Elm Parsons Desk! I found it thanks to my friend Craig... but didn't get the *best* price thanks to my boyfriend Nate...
When it comes to buying things off of Craigslist, I usually have a solid game plan.

My simple strategies for getting great prices on Craigslist:
*Negotiate over phone or email if the price is too high. I usually only do this when I want to knock $50+ off of the price. If the seller doesn't want to budge, I thank them and move on.
*Give the seller a low offer when I go to see the piece. A seller will rarely stay firm on a price when you are thisclose to handing them cash. I simply keep a smile on my face, point out an issue that wasn't pictured in the online ad and knock 20% or so off of the listed price.
*If it's an amazing deal, I rush over and grab it before anyone else does (I'll show you the nightstand I scored by doing this later!).

Here's a wide shot for those of you looking to see more of my decorating style (I suppose I have a thing for elephants). The art is moving to another wall in the office once the room is painted.

I planned on using the second strategy on this purchase. The seller wanted $120, but I felt like I could get them down to $100 by asking in person. For safety reasons, I always bring Nate along for the pick-up, but I sure wish I left him at home this time! When we arrived at the seller's home, she turned out to be Nate's old tennis coach! What are the odds, right?! Needless to say, I wasn't able to use any of my smooth talking and Nate now owes me dinner.

My rule of thumb is to pay half or less of the retail price on a used item. In this case, the list price of $120 was less than half (new West Elm Parsons Desks are $300) so I was okay with the price I ended up paying.

What are your Craigslist buying strategies?


Luke and Ashley March 30, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

I found the SAME thing on Craigslist too!


jacquelin Seybert March 30, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

Lucky Lady! That is an awesome deal.

hiphousegirl March 30, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

I do the same thing as you. Sometimes people feel bad doing that, but in my opinion, people (including myself) put things on Craigslist EXPECTING you to haggle them. And especially if it's not exactly represented. I bought my bathtub from Craigslist, and when I went to get it it wasn't the bright white I was expecting, more of an off-white. Cha-ching, down to $80 from $100.

Kristi W @ Life at the Chateau Whitman March 30, 2010 at 10:36 AM  

I totally agree with your craigslist tactics. We do something similar. Most of the time, people do price things higher than they are probably worth. We always point out that there are similar items selling for less (but only if it's true). Works pretty well. When you're there with the cash, they realize the convenience of not having to talk to more potential buyers and arrange showings is just too good to pass up.

Danielle and Clint March 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

OO! I am totally jealous! We used some of our tax refund and got the white one, but it was on sale $50 less. I always feel that people price their stuff too high on Craigslist. Thanks for the tips to get those suckers down!

Heather @ McKinney Living March 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

Ahhh I am DYING for the white version of this desk! I hope your Craigslist luck rubs off! :) I love your strategies - I always negotiate over email, but have never tried to make them budge in person - I plan on trying that next time!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog March 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

@Heather~ I hope so too! I hate looking for something specific though, it seems like it never shows up. I've been looking for a rug for about three weeks :(.

Kate March 30, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

Wow, small world! I always try the in person negotiating, it's worth at least asking. I love the elephant art!

Elisa @ whatthevita March 30, 2010 at 2:13 PM  

Great find! Yes after a bad experience with Craig's list that resulted in an ugly chair for $50 because I didn't haggle (which I WILL GET AROUND to reupholstering someday, once I relearn how to use the sewing machine), I've learned all your tips the hard way. My first purchase after that screw-up was a mid-century dresser that I got down to 100 from 190. I'm a fast learner!

Another rule - if I don't LOVE it and I'm considering it only because it's cheap, DON'T GET IT.

Can't wait to see the nightstand you got!

Mrs. Chic March 30, 2010 at 2:21 PM  

WOW WOW!! Talk about a score, Craig and I are not happy with each other right now!

My buy tip is - Stalk Craigslist and let your friends know your looking for somthing and they'll help you find it!

Lauren March 30, 2010 at 3:07 PM  

Awesome deal! I have been coveting those desks for a long time! :)

Anonymous,  December 13, 2010 at 10:02 PM  

I have been hunting for this desk! If you ever wanna sell it let me know :)

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