Sunday, March 27, 2011

How to Craig's List

Yep, I just used Craig's List (CL) as a verb.  That's because it is a lot simpler than saying..."How to buy things on CL" or "How to sell things on CL" and I bet you knew exactly what I meant. : )  Anyway, I've had quite a few people ask how to find what you are looking for on CL and get a good a deal in the process.  Now, I can't guarantee your safety (although I hope you use common sense) or that you are getting a quality product, but I can let you know how I do it and how it's worked for me so far.

1)  Narrow down your search.  CL can be a bit daunting if you just go to your local area and click on "household" or "furniture".  You'll get pages and pages of 100 listings.  So, for example, when I was looking for chairs, I typed in chairs and then used the option to only include the ones by owner.  If I wanted to by from a dealer, I'd go to the store and look for myself.  That's just my opinion though. : )
I looked for a couple months before I finally found these...$30/both.  I hadn't seen anything under $100 for one!
2) Do your research.  Whether this means figuring out an exact model to what you need (like a microwave we purchased on CL), or having measurements of a room or piece of furniture, or figuring out what your price point should be...make yourself be a knowledgeable customer!  This isn't like a store where you can take it back if you got overcharged or just got the wrong model or size, you've got to get it right the first time.
New microwave with receipt in box for 1/2 its selling price

3)  Check often.  Like as much as you can.  You never know when that perfect listing is going to come up and you want to be the first to pounce on it.  If you can, just keep it up on your screen and refresh it whenever you walk will just take a second to glance and see if there's anything you're interested in.

4)  Keep an open mind in your search.  We were looking for a king sized bad frame (which ran about $100 new), and instead of just checking for that, I would search "king headboard".  I ended up getting not only the frame, but a headboard and two bed side tables made of solid wood for $50!
The bedroom furniture I picked up for $50...not a great pic, but it had another finial in the middle of the headboard I removed and then painted it all black and added crystal knobs to the tables.

5)  Also, keep an open mind about the possibilities of what your looking for.  If you can look at an item to see if it has good bones, then, in many cases you can customize it yourself with paint or fabric.  Back to the example of the bed set...that particular bed wasn't my favorite.  After taking it apart some and good paint job, I love it!

6)  Without, being completely insulting, low-ball on the price.  I've never had someone be so offended that they didn't respond back.  And while I don't always get my low-ball price, I usually get the price reduced in some way.  The bed set actually was listed for $100, I thought they might meet me at $75, but they ended up taking my offer of $50.

7)  Be PATIENT!  Although, you can have good luck finding what you need or want right away, sometimes it takes time, and if you wait long enough, you will probably find that special piece right at your price!

I've also sold quite a few things on Craig's List. My advice would be the same as it is for having a garage sale...price to sell and not make people think that this might be your only income. (Have y'all been to one of those garage sales where they price their junk so high that you know they are selling nothing???)  If you truly want it out of your house, then, figure out what the going rate it is (through ebay or CL), price it, and be willing to budge if needed.

So, what treasures have you found on Craig's List?


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  2. Those chairs are amazing. Did you reupholster them? LOVE!