Finding Gems on Craigslist: Part Two: Sealing the Deal

If you missed part one of this little mini-series, check it out here:

Finding Gems on Craigslist: Part One: The Search

Yesterday, I covered tips for searching and finding the hidden gems among the junk. Today, I’ll cover the tips on sealing the deal. For the really coveted items or great deals, it can become a competitive back and forth between buyers and sellers. Here are a few of my favorite tips for securing your find and getting a good deal.

Sealing the deal:

  • Act fast: if you see something you want, get in contact with the seller right away. Competitively priced items (and especially free items) tend to go very quickly, so write them a quick email or text and let them know you’re interested. 
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  • Offer cash and a quick pick up: One of the biggest pains for sellers (I know from enough Craigslist selling experience) is the flaky, non-committal buyers. It’s fine to ask questions or for more photos, measurements, etc. but don’t go back and forth forever and waste the seller’s time. This sounds dumb and ridiculous, but SHOW UP. I’ve encountered far too many people who commit to buying and schedule a time to pick up and then never show or give notice that they changed their mind, etc. If you find something you really love, get in contact with the seller quickly, offer cash and same day or next day pick up. The seller will be far more motivated to choose you over someone who is unsure and wants to pick up in a week. 
  • Be polite: In the same vein as the tips below, be polite and gracious, no one wants to sell to a jerk
  • Negotiate: Do your research and try to figure out what the item is worth or what is a fair price, compared to new retail price, etc. Sometimes I’ll offer full price if it’s reasonable, sometimes I’ll ask slightly less, and if I feel it’s really not worth what they’re asking, I’ll send a low offer. Also, establish a final price before pick up. Don’t negotiate once you get there. Another tip to look out for is when the listing was first added to Craigslist (little button screen shot below). If you notice that it’s been up for a week or more, offer lower than the asking price. If it’s been up for awhile, the seller will likely want to move it out quickly and won’t be as set on the price if no one else has made an offer. 
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I’ll leave you with a coincidental perfect example that just happened last night… I noticed a great rattan outdoor side table in the free section of craigslist just before leaving work and it had only been live for 30 minutes. I emailed the seller right away and told her that I could pick it up in a couple hours. It was still available and I went and nabbed it last night! It’s in excellent condition, just needed a light cleaning, and will be perfect for my future balcony. IMG_5751

 

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