Finding great deals on Craigslist is as simple as four easy steps... just kidding. I know this post is a bit lengthy, but I felt it was about time to get all of my tricks out there. I actually put a lot of work into getting the great deals that I find (see this, this, this, this, this, and this) and I wanted to pass along the info on how I do it.
**The following is more geared towards finding home furniture and decor, but many of the tricks can be used in your other searches.
1. Find great stuff.
- Searching by “all for sale/ wanted” works for some keywords, but I find that car ads usually clutter my screen unless I narrow my search by “furniture by owner,” “antiques,” “household,” or “general.” **Note: brand keywords usually work under "all."
- Sometimes I’ll simply search by an area of town. Remember, nice neighborhood usually equals nice stuff (also remember that people don’t always list their areas).
- Use web search tools like Craigslook to search with thumbnails (I’ve used this before, but I do find it a bit difficult to narrow at times).
- brand names: West Elm, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Pier One, World Market, Ballard Designs, Williams and Sonoma, CB2, Design Within Reach, Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie **Note: Watch out for tricky wording like “Pottery Barn STYLE” (unless that’s what you’re looking for). **
-Know the lingo
- OBO = "or best offer" aka "PLEASE just make an offer!"
- must sell; needs to go = "Seriously, just pick this thing up! I'll practically give it to you!"
- cash/ carry only = you need to pay in cash and pick up everything yourself; this seller has been around the block
- price is firm = unless you want to pay the price, don't bother with these people... they're no fun
- “Hi, I’m interested in _____, but I’m not sure if it will fit in my space. Could you please let me know what the dimensions are?”
Have you ever missed out on an item because it was already sold? Emailed someone and not received a reply? Lost out on a sale to other buyers? They might have thought that you were either a scammer or not serious about the purchase. Make sure to use strong wording when replying to ads:
- “Hi, I’m interested in _____. I can come to look at it/ pick it up as early as _____. Let me know!
- “I think I’ll probably need to repaint it anyways. Will you take ____ for it?”
- “Is that your absolute best price?
- “The most I can do is _____. Is there any way that you can work with me on the price?”
**Remember; NEVER pay more than half of retail! In most cases, you’d probably be able to buy it yourself at that price.
-Don't forget to: Ask yourself if your find is really a great deal for you.
- Remember; you don't need twelve sofas or two chandeliers for your closet (or maybe you do... and I'm jealous). Think of a good deal as: something that you were going to spend more on OR an upgrade on something you weren't so hot about.
Meeting a stranger over the internet is serious stuff. I feel comfortable with most of my Craigslist buys because of a few of my rules:
- 1. Only meet during daylight.
- 2. Bring a friend along.
- 3. Do a background check. This is actually easier than you might think! Just take the email address that they use to reply to your email with and do one of two things:
- A. If their name is attached, plug it into Facebook. If I see that they have friends and a real live I tend to feel more comfortable about meeting them.
- B. Google the user name. They’ll probably use the same one for any message boards that they’re involved in.
-Your find is more than you bargained for.
-You go to pick it up and the home reeks of smoke, is filled with fleas, etc.
Be polite and say that it’s bigger than you realized then get out of there! Many sellers will post that they live in a smoke free/ pet free environment. If you’re worried about the conditions, just ask.
Did I cover everything? What are your biggest Craigslist tips?