6 Tips for Purchasing on Craigslist

Craigslist is such a valuable resource!

It’s brilliant for people with limited funds, and especially helpful for those interested in acquiring vintage pieces. Whenever Ryan + I decide to purchase something “new” we start scouting for it in thrift stores and on Craigslist, and we always end up finding a piece with great personality! This TV and record player { as well as most of our records } are all Craigslist purchases. Today I’ve compiled a few tips to help you get the most of this website, too!

1 | Check often. Things can get snatched up pretty quickly if they’re free or cheap. Often times people will list things that they’ve found in a basement or attic, and they’re not entirely sure of its worth so they list it for a very low price when it’s actually worth a lot more. I check every day and have had amazing luck finding some really great stuff!

2 | Know what you’re looking for and what keywords will help you find it. Use brand names { if you have them } as well as the decade or style of the item you’d like. But also remember that some people may not quite know what they’re listing, so use words that are physically descriptive of the item. For example, if I’m looking for an Eames lounge chair, I would type in “Eames”, “Mid Century”, “Modern”, but also “Retro”, “Recliner”, “Leather”, “Foot Stool”, and maybe even “Office”. Try to think of what words the average person will use to describe an item as well as the words that an expert would choose.

3 | Don’t make promises you can’t keep. I try not to tell someone in an email that “I’m definitely going to buy this”, because once I see it in person it may not be exactly how I thought it would be. I saw an amazing mid-century coffee table for $40 and told the girl I loved it and I wanted it. When I actually saw it, the piece was just a replica and it had a few scratches and dings on it. It was probably only worth $20, but I had already promised her $40. Make Craigslist an honest place by keeping your word, but also don’t make a definite decision until you can see it in its full glory and can make an educated decision — lesson learned!

4 | Bring small bills. If an item is damaged, smaller than you thought, or otherwise not exactly what you expected, you may want to try to talk the seller down. This is an art and you should be prepared. When I look back on my table situation I wish that I had gone to the meet-up without first promising, and with a $20 bill, a $10, a $5, and five $1 bills. Then, when I saw that the piece was not actually vintage, I could have made a lower offer. It’s still a great table that I’m happy to have, but I think the seller would have been happy with $20 or $25, and I would be much better off as well.

5 | Be willing to pick up. A lot of people will get multiple offers for a listing and they’ll always choose the buyer that makes the sale the easiest. If you can pick up the piece directly from them, or in a place that’s easy for them to get to, they’re much more likely to sell it to you than to give it away to someone that they have to drive to.

6 | Be polite. Some Craigslisters have been taken advantage of in the past and are wary about further transactions. When we bought our dining table, the seller told me that he had first driven it two hours north of where he lived just to have that buyer change his mind. After he finally sold the piece to me, he said he was thinking he might stop using Craigslist. It is such a wonderful resource when used respectfully. I hate to see people taken advantage of, and would really be sad if this forum lost its luster because of people who weren’t respectful and fair.

Happy searching! I hope this helps you find just what you’re looking for. We’ve had so much luck in the past and I wish you the very same. May you get the most for your dollars and may everything you buy be well-loved and special.

Do you have any Craigslist tips?


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