5 Tips For Buying On Craigslist

Have you been cheated or royally burned by a craigslist seller?

I have.  I paid too much for the desk below and bought a scale-covered sink because I forgot to remember simple things.  But thanks to many transactions, I now have a checklist of must-do's before I buy. It's not going to be foolproof, but it helps when my mommy-brain is turned on.

I paid $120. I Should have paid $80.

Don't under-cut the price when you go to get it - As a seller, I really hate when buyers do this! If you don't intend to pay the price listed then don't get it. All it does is create immediate tension when a lame excuse is given as to why you don't have the extra $5 or $10. If you want to negotiate the price, do so prior to going or talk with the seller prior to see if the price is negotiable.

Be willing to walk away - When you go to buy a product, it usually is the first time you'll see it even if there were photos in the ad. Many sellers will post a likeness photo meaning it isn't the actual item but a picture of one that them found online. Usually, this is a red flag because their item may look defected. Unfortunately, some photos are difficult to differentiate between a personal photo and a stock photo. You must ask the seller if their photo is of their actual item or not. When you meet the seller, if it's not as it looked or has several defects they didn't mention, walk away.

Brand new door for 1/3 the retail price!

When you see it, act on it - I can't tell you the number of really unique items I've missed out on because I didn't act fast enough. If you think it's unique then chances are someone else does too. I've even lost out when I've been emailing with the seller only to have them write back to say "Sorry, it's now sold. Someone came by today."

Ask about the details - Craigslist is not ebay. There is no negative feedback if item is not as described. You must ask about the details. Are there any scratches, dents, rips, stains? I just went through this with the desk above. I asked if there were any defects. I realize that was too broad a question and should have asked about the specifics. I should have also inquired with the sellers answer "Not to my knowledge, I'm selling it for someone else." I should have asked, "Are you in possession of the desk?  If so, can you please look for any blemishes?"  If it's not in possession then that's when you can say you may need to adjust the price upon inspection.

Very cool chaise for $75!

Meet In A Public Place - My kids must think the only place to buy things is in a parking lot! If the item fits into the car, I always find a public meeting spot like gas station or a store parking lot. If you must go to the seller's house, always go with your spouse or a friend. I've never had any safety issues and honestly I usually feel like the seller and I could be great friends, but it's better to act on the side of caution.

So can you add any tips I've forgotten? 
Please add them in your comments, I'd love to know! 

Happy buying....

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Salma @ Chasing Rainbow said...

Wow, that is some great stuff.
Great advice.

Tracy said...

Nan, these are great tips, and remind me that I need to put some of my baby gear on craigslist! I do enjoy your blog, so I'm passing the Versatile Blogger Award to you! You can read details at www.mama-press.com. I hope you accept it!

NovemberSunflower said...

I have a chair that, growing up, I called the potato chip chair. When I moved out of the house, I told my mother I was taking it. It's been with me ever since. I need to redo the material on it. TERRIBLE. But I would never give it up. It reminds me of my childhood....
Thanks for linking up at the Frugal Friday blog hop I co-hosted today!
Staci from November Sunflower

Couponing Texas said...

thanks for hopping by Couponing Texas - now your newest GFC follower

Jenny said...

Thanks for these tips. I've looked at Craigslist, but never saw anything I wanted for a good price. I have also been thinking of listing a piece of furniture I have, so this was helpful!

Full Cart Full Wallet

mamawolfe said...

Thanks for the post! I sell some things on Craigs List, but sometimes I prefer eBay for the anonimity and safety issues.
Following you from VB-http://mamawolfe-living.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Great post! Very good tips for Cragislist, which I happen to use quite a bit :)
New follower from VB!


Arizona Girls said...

I've thought of listing things on Craig's list but I've just been kind of leery about it =/ The few times we've found something we would really want only to be informed it was already gone =( Somethings I can't believe they even place up for sale and then post the pictures of it =/ Although sometimes I guess you have to look past the rough exterior to see if it is salvagable..

I love the chaise in the picture so cool would look so nice at the end of our bed! =)

Have a great night! =)

Arizona Girls blog

Terri said...

Really great list of tips, t hanks so much for sharing. You got some beautiful items.

SocialStudiesSoubrette said...

I haven't bought many things on Craigslist so this list is really helpful. Thanks so much for sharing it!

I am visiting from VB :D

jbplbarbara said...

Those are some great finds despite the prices. Sometimes you can find cool things on Craigslist. Thanks for sharing all these tips.
Have a great weekend,
Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

Amee said...

Hi, I enjoyed your article and stumbled, have a nice day.
Amee at www.madamedeals.com

Christine said...

Good advice! I always take someone with me just to make sure we're safe. I'm your newest GFC follower! -Christine at Why We Love Green, http://whywelovegreen.blogspot.com

Tina said...

What great tips! I've yet to purchase furniture on Craigslist, but you bring up some great points! I've SOLD tons of stuff and I have to say, I love it!! Thanks for the post - so glad I found you on the blog hop! I'm now following and am loving all the tips and pics!

mywildcrazyworld said...

I found you on the Frugal Friday blog hop and subscribed via your GFC as masugr. Hope you can stop by and subscribe at my site. Thanks!

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