I've been scouring and totally scoring on Craigslist these days! Mainly because with our home reno coming to a close, our budget is SPENT. So it's time to get clever & crafty and I've even got a few DIY's up my sleeves for you in the coming weeks. Today I thought I'd share some of my Craigslist tips with you if you happen to be in the same 'budget boat' I am, or perhaps if you simply enjoy the thrill of the chase!
1. Start your search right: I typically like to start by setting my search parameters to “newest” and “gallery”; meaning I’m going to see the most recently added items listed at the top – this is good because you know you have a greater chance the item is still available if it was more recently added. And ‘gallery’ allows you to see the largest sized picture icon for quick scrolling and easy viewing.
2. Check frequently: When you are looking for a particular item, frequency is key. There are hundreds of items in each area that go up on Craigslist every single day, and sometimes the good stuff is gone in less than a day. I remember finding a perfect dresser, seeing that it had been listed 44 minutes ago, panicked and emailed the seller immediately, and sure enough the item was already gone! If I am really hunting something down, I’ll check the site at least once a day. With a little persistence, I can usually find exactly what I am looking for.
Both sofas and the x benches were all scores from Craigslist - I can't wait to finish this space!
3. Use many keywords and synonyms: The idea is, you never know how people will describe their item, so you may have to use several variations of your keywords. Try different terms, different spellings, and synonyms. For example, “grey couch, grey sofa, gray couch, or gray sofa” may all give you different results. And perhaps no one else in your city thought to check ‘gray sofa’ and a hot item may have gone unnoticed for weeks! Entryway table may also be a buffet, console table, sideboard, wooden table, or desk. Another tip I read elsewhere explained that if you type: ‘sofa |couch |sectional |settee’ it searches for sofa OR couch OR sectional OR settee. "sofa table |console" searches for sofa table OR sofa console. This trick could definitely save a lot of time.
Other favorite keywords I like to use include things like: Chaise, Bamboo, Rattan, Brass, Gold, Dresser, Tufted, Mid-century Modern, Deco, Burl, Settee, Upholstered, Campaign … the list could go on!
4. Act fast: As mentioned above, many good items will go fast. Sellers will move on quickly if they don’t get a sense that you are serious. Ask yourself, will you regret if you don’t ‘win’ it? Do any of you have a Craigslist regret, the one that got away?
5. Negotiate by email: Once you've actually found an item you're interested in, it's time to contact the seller. I usually prefer to email a seller first and negotiate the price to determine if they are flexible. You can often have bargaining power if you let the seller know that you could pick up the item that same day.
A set of 4 rattan chairs I purchased, soon to get a little makeover.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask: When I didn’t have a vehicle or the time to pick up, I’ve asked sellers if there was any way they’d be willing to deliver for an additional cost, and was surprised when they said yes! I’ve asked sellers if they were willing to take a small deposit to hold an item for me (only after meeting them in person), and I’ve even asked seller to email me back if a buyer they’ve already secured falls through and an item I wanted becomes available again. I really never hurts to ask.
7. Don’t be afraid to say no: If you show up to get the item, and it just isn't what you expected, say no thank you. Try your best to ask about measurements or anything else not in the listing so that you can avoid an awkward situation and avoid inconveniencing the seller.
8. Stay safe: I like to give a quick phone call & hear the person’s voice before heading out just to put myself at ease. I honestly think this is a smart idea whether you are the buyer or the seller! I never go to anyone’s home alone, and I tell other family members or friends where we are off to.
I hope you find some tips & tricks to take away from this list! Happy Craigslist shopping :)