How to Buy on Craigslist and Score Great Deals

craigslistCraigslist is the mecca for buying used items from your neighbors for a fraction of the cost you would pay at a retail store. Craigslist isn’t just filled with junk, as some may have you believe, high-end items can be found from top of the line Bugaboo strollers to Pottery Barn furniture, used cars sold by owner, and gardening supplies.

Craigslist is like an online garage sale, with the convenience of shopping from your own home.

After many years of selling and purchasing items off Craigslist, I’ve narrowed down a few key tips about how to buy on Craigslist and score great deals.

Narrow your search

Most people looking to buy on Craigslist are looking for a specific item. You can search on Craigslist through the search bar at the top and you can type in a few keywords for your item.

For example, if you’re looking for a mirror for your hallway, you can type in â˜mirror.’ However, you most likely have a more specific idea in mind. You may want a brown mirror. And you might want it to be round rather than square. Typing in â˜brown round mirror’ will help narrow your search to the items that will fit the description you’re looking for.

Email with specifics

Once you decide you’re interested in an item, email the poster with specifics rather than an evasive question like Is this item still available?❠Chances are if the post is still up, the item is still available, since posters have the ability to remove a posting once it’s been sold.

A good email example is Hi I’m interested in your item. I am available to view it on (these days) and at (these times). What works best for you? Would you take (this amount) for it?â

Which leads me to my next pointâ¦.

Always Haggle

On most pieces, people are pretty desperate to get rid of an item and they will most likely settle on a lower offer. Unless the writer says they are firm on price, you should always offer less on the itemâ”especially if it’s not a highly sought-after item. It may be harder to haggle on certain electronics, but a good price can definitely be found on furniture and baby supplies.

People who often state that items are part of a moving sale are more willing to let their pieces go for lower prices. Watch our for those key words to determine what you should offer. If I know it’s not a highly sought after item, or if the market is inundated, I usually offer at least 25% less. I fell in love with a dining table that was listed for $500 and completely out of our price range. I offered $200 knowing it was a completely lowball offer, but that was exactly what we had hoped to spend. We ended up settling on $250 and I was so happy.

If you also see that the item has been listed several times, there is a good chance the poster would be willing to sell it for less.

Always remember safety

Always try and meet in a public setting. For big ticket purchases, always bring someone else with you and remember to always let someone know the address of where you’ll be and the time you expect to be done.

Pay in cash and never let the other person know any of your personal information.

Craigslist is perfect for scoring great deals on used items and when you learn how to buy on Craigslist the right way, you’ll be scoring your own deals in no time.

photo by raucousrage