Craigslist is a prominent online community for shopping, finding homes, jobs, cars and pets among many other items and services. The website has grown magnificently since it’s incorporation in 1999.
Your Seattle Craigslist makes it easy for you to sell things and to shop around for items without leaving your home.
Finding the item you’re looking for may take some patience, and Craigslist hunting has become quite the craft. GalTime was lucky enough to get the best Craigslist shopping advice from Andrea Currie, a seasoned Craigslist deal hunter and crafty blogger of Hand Make My Day.
Andrea’s General Craigslist Advice
1. Determine the max radius you are willing to travel to pick up your items and consider hauling costs if you are moving large items.
2. NEVER EVER EVER go to buy a craigslist item alone. In fact you should bring as many men with you as possible.
3. Unless the ad says “no low ballers or price is firm” feel free to politely negotiate. Here’s an example: “I love the piece and can come pick it up today and was hoping we can get it closer to my budget which is _____.” Sometimes doing this in an email isn’t as effective as doing this in person.
4. Walk away from deals or people that seem “off” or seem too good to be true.
5. Send an icebreaker email to feel a person out. Something like this “Hi, I was wondering if your purple couch is still available? If so could you send me the dimensions and if it has been around pets or smokers? If it’s a good fit my husband and I would like to come by tonight at say 7ish to take a look!” The information you put in your email tells them that you are a savvy buyer that has enough common sense to bring a man along.
6. This may just be me but I always use an email account that doesn’t have my full name in it. It just seems too personal.
7. Be warned that calling phone numbers on a listing can lead to phone calls and text spam. I always use email first to get a feel for the person.
8. When people list an item as “nearly new” or “just purchased 6 months ago” you will probably notice they are also trying to sell it at the price they just purchased it for. Which leads us to the next item!
9. Do your research. Knowing how much it costs new and used will help you determine how much you are willing to pay for it. A lot of this research can be done on Craigslist and the internet.
10. When you are going to look at an item to purchase always bring cash in small denominations. Break it up into two pockets (don’t carry a purse). One pocket should be holding the cash in the amount of the price you are negotiating for and the other pocket is full of the remaining cash incase the seller is firm on original asking price.
Search Specific Advice
1. Key word search in the section of craigslist that your desired item is in. Example: Searching vintage sofa in the furniture section.
2. Use the sort by owner option to filter out the dealer advertisements.
3. I always recommend doing your key word searches at least 3 times a day especially if you are looking for something that others may be looking for too.
4. You may find the best deals at the end of the month as people are moving in and out of their homes but don’t be tricked by people that put false statements on their ads like “This is a hot item that will surely go fast.”
5. Don’t forget to look and keyword search in the “garage sales” section. Often times people will hold a virtual garage sale with a bunch of items they are selling while others are photos of items to be sold in an upcoming garage sale.
6. If you are looking for items to rehab then use key word searches like “old” “TLC”. If you use searches like “vintage” and “antique” items will be priced higher as if you are shopping at an antique store.
7. Keyword search specific communities within the section your item may be in. For instance in the furniture section I search “Couch Encinitas”. If you are looking for high end items choose high end communities in your search terms.
Most of all don’t get discouraged if you can’t find what you’re looking for right away, or with the occasional false listings.