I am on Craigslist more often than I like to admit. I have a love for old furniture and repurposing items, and as you know Craigslist is the mecca for getting a bargain on a vintage piece of furniture. I thought it would be fun to share what I have learned over the years when buying on Craigslist and how to score the best deals.
1. Check often
Things have been selling so fast on Craigslist, so you have to be willing to put in the time to check often. I like checking first thing in the morning and late at night. A lot of times people post after work and you can usually check out the fresh inventory at this time.
2. Creative keywords
You may know that you are on the hunt for the perfect Campaign dresser, but the owner of your perfect dresser may have no idea of what it is called. Instead of only searching for "campaign dresser", trying searching for "old dresser gold hardware" or "Drexel heritage dresser". You may be surprised by how many other viable options popup and usually at great prices since the owner probably doesn't know what he/she has on their hands.
Sometimes it is worth it to travel to a neighboring town to get the perfect piece. If you live in a big city, the price on a piece of furniture is usually marked up higher than if you were shopping in a smaller town. I have saved hundreds by travelling an hour outside of the city.
4. Generic searches
While time consuming, doing a broad search can sometimes lead to great results. I searched "old bed" one time and after sorting through the hundreds of results, I found an amazing solid wood antique bed with curved headboard. Your treasure can be another man's junk. Put in the time and reap the rewards.
5. Haggle - to an extent
Craigslist is all about getting a deal, so it is important to to negotiate for the best price, but don't be insulting. If an item is listed at $600, chances are they will not sell the piece for $100. When making an offer via email, I like to use this wording: "would you be willing to take $xxx?" or "would you be willing to consider $xxx?". To me, if you just throw out an email reading "I'll give you $xxx" it can come across as rude and the seller may not want to deal with you. You never know, you may be in competition, and being nice goes along way.
6. Pick up quickly
Another way to close the deal on the piece you really want it to let the seller know you can pick up ASAP. Usually the person is moving or needs it gone, so the sooner you can declutter their home, the better.
7. Don't go "look" at an item
This is a personal preference, but I HATE it when someone wants to come take a look at an item for sale. If it is under $200, you should be able to decide to buy from the photo or not. Craigslist is not a store, and you should not go into someone's house to decide awkwardly in front of them if their item for sale is good enough. If you commit to meeting, you should just commit to buying.
8. Look at nearby results
At the bottom of the search results on CL, it will show similar items that are in nearby towns. Make sure to check these out! Usually they are not too far away and are often overlooked by other people.
9. Sort by newest
I love how Craigslist is starting to incorporate more filters and options, and the "newest" sort button is awesome. It will bring the freshest inventory to the top.
Any good Craigslist finds recently? Did I miss anything? I will post Part 2: Selling later on this week! In the meantime, I have to share these amazing dining chairs from CL with you that I so so so want. Someone please tell me I need them in my life.