After a bunch of you requested a post about this, we’re finally writing a loooong rundown about how we use Craiglist to score affordable secondhand finds as well as to sell things we no longer need.
Sherry scratched the surface with a few tips on buying back in this post, but we wanted to share more info that was specific to interacting with sellers/buyers and writing up your listings, so here it goes. Craigslist can definitely be intimidating for first-timers. It doesn’t boast the glossy interface that makes using sites like Facebook feel so welcoming.
Plus, some few-and-far-between but no-less scary crime stories are enough to make anyone wary of it. Even Sherry and I had a slightly unnerving experience in our early days of Craigslisting in New York City. The man who showed up at Sherry’s apartment to buy a TV from her before we moved to Virginia pulled out the money to pay us from his pocket… and the hunting knife that he was also carrying came out along with it accidentally. It was a harmless encounter, but just the presence of that weapon was enough to make us realize that we needed to be smarter about using the site.
Buying On Craigslist
Obviously there’s tons of stuff for sale (or even for free!) on Craigslist everyday. It’s always one of our go-to spots when we’re looking for a piece of furniture because you’re bound to find things that are reasonably priced and decently cared for among the crowd. Here’s just a snapshot of some of the items that we’ve scored thanks to Mr. Craig and his list (you can read more about each purchase here, here, here and here).
So when you’re on the hunt for something, here are our tips:
- Be patient. Just because the item you’re looking for doesn’t show up today, that doesn’t mean someone won’t be posting it tomorrow. So don’t give up if you come up empty on your first try. We usually like to camp out and check frequently over a few days or weeks (and it might take 20-30 clicks over time to find what we’re looking for, so we just try to keep calm and search on).
- Search smarter. Sherry is a die-hard fan of the original Craigslist site, but I’ve started using the Craigslist iPhone and iPad app too. There are also apps out there by others (like cPRO) that make it easier to browse and search (especially by putting pictures more front and center). Even when Sherry uses the basic site, she clicks the button to show thumbnail images next to each listing so she doesn’t have to click into each one to see the pics… so that’s a tip for you old school folks.
- Remember that prices are negotiable. We never put a maximum limit on price when searching because we know things that are listed above our budget can be negotiated into an acceptable range. While simply asking a buyer to accept a lower price is perfectly fine (“would you take $45 instead of $60?”) you can also make a stronger case by referencing similar Craigslist listings for lower prices or even compare it to how much the item retails for originally (“I could buy it new for just $20 more than your listing, so could you come down a little?”). Never hurts to ask.
- Be synonym happy when you search. If you’re hunting for a buffet for your dining room, be sure to search a whole slew of similar terms because you never know how sellers might describe the item you want. So hunt for buffet, sideboard, console, entry table, and even broader terms like dining set, dining table, or simply “wood furniture.”
- Be willing to travel. Depending on where you live, you may need to cast a wide search net to have the best shot at finding the right piece. We check the Richmond listings first, but sometimes we expand to Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, DC, and the Norfolk area (all 1 – 2 hours away) since some craigslist values can make the drive worth it.
Once you’ve located the item that you want, here’s how we’d suggest going about making it yours.
- Start slow. Don’t inundate the buyer with a million questions in your first email. Just a simple “is it still available, if so I’d like to come by tonight with cash” can be enough to get the ball rolling and not scare the seller into thinking you’re too high maintenance for them by asking a bunch of questions.
- Ask for the info you need. Once you’ve confirmed that the item is still available, don’t hesitate to contact the seller for more information. Just remember to ask specific questions (“could you please provide dimensions?” or “is the color in the photos accurate?”) because you may not get the answers you want by simply asking for “more information.”
- Sound ready and willing. Most sellers just want this to be easy, so appeal to that sense by telling them that you’re flexible about pick up times, you have the money ready, and you’re eager to get it home. Saying “I can pick it up in two weeks” is a quick way for them to look for another buyer.
- Be prepared to get it home. Some sellers will offer delivery, but in most cases you need to think about how you’ll transport the item home – even if it means borrowing or renting a vehicle big enough. Ask questions about the size and weight of the item before you arrive and be sure to bring enough manpower to maneuver the piece yourself (don’t assume the seller will be able to lend a hand).
- Stay safe. We like to buy from people who we’ve talked to on the phone. It means there’s a record that we called them on our house phone/cell phone (which makes someone less likely to do anything creepy), and that way we’ve at least heard their voice, which usually sets us at ease. We also email a relative with their phone number and address to tell them we’re going there (so there’s someone else on the planet who knows where we’re going and when we’re going there) and we also prefer to pick up things outside (just because being outside to do the transaction can feel more “public”).
- Bring cash. Cash is the one-and-only currency of Craigslist transactions (at least in our world) so hit up the ATM before you head out.
- Be ready to take a risk. No matter how much info you’re able to get on a piece beforehand, at some point you’ll just have to go for it and make the drive to see it in person. There’s only so much you can learn about a purchase by email, so you may have to decide if it’s really what you want when you see it in person.
- Feel free to say no thank you. If you arrive and the piece isn’t quite what you expected (or what the seller described) you have ever right to say “nevermind” and leave empty handed (well, except for the cash you saved). The seller may be disappointed or frustrated, so just be prepared to explain why and stand your ground. You can also offer to still take it, but at a lower price.
Selling On Craigslist
Now, as much fun as we have discovering great stuff on Craigslist, the thrill of selling something we no longer need is almost more exciting for me personally. Something about de-cluttering and getting cash in return presses all the right buttons. And it never ceases to amaze me the stuff that people will search for on Craigslist. From bushes and gravel to granite counters, we’ve gotten rid of tons of stuff on the ol’ CL.
So if you want to get a piece of that action, let’s start with our tips for making a successful listing.
- Don’t be brief. We personally love listings that are robust. We’re not talking novels, but nothing turns me off more than a clipped, non-descriptive five word listing. Not only do detailed descriptions help buyers understand your item better, writing in complete sentences can help paint the picture that you’re a smart, respectable seller.
- Play salesman. Remember you’re selling something, so don’t hesitate to remind people that it’s “a gorgeous color” or “in great condition” or whatever other selling point you might have up your sleeve. And be sure to include some of this in your listing title too.
- But be honest. Don’t oversell your item so much that the buyer is mislead. If your item is worn or damaged somewhere, be upfront about that. We have found that people love and appreciate this honesty (and probably don’t expect mint items on craigslist anyway). If you worry this is undercutting your sale potential, just remember it’s much less trouble to lose a sale at the listing than once you’ve coordinated a pick up time and the buyer has come to pick it up (you might have a disgruntled person on your hands!).
- Explain yourself. We always like to head off the assumption that we’re selling it because it’s broken / ugly / haunted by explaining our reason for no longer wanting it ourselves. Sometimes it’s a simple “we moved and it doesn’t fit our living room anymore” can help set someone at ease who worries it’s infested with bedbugs or something crazy. Oh and speaking of bedbugs, my apartment in NY had them years ago (worst time ever) but thankfully I now know what to look for while buying something – so there’s more on that here.
- Price things reasonably. If you’re having trouble determining a sales price, try to find similar items on Craigslist and go a tad lower in order to compete (many times others will overprice something, so cutting your price below that may not be underpricing it, it could just be a fair price that someone will actually take you up on). If the item is available at retail stores, link to that so people can see how much they’re saving by buying it used (you also benefit from the photos and details they feature if you link up). And know that people may negotiate for a lower price, but you don’t have to agree to anything that you don’t want to (sometimes we’re firm, and other times we’re happy to be flexible).
- Pictures. Pictures. Pictures! We usually don’t even bother looking at listings without pictures, so we wouldn’t dare post one without a picture… or two… or four. These are your best sales asset, so put time into making them good and helpful. Show the whole piece. Show it in situation. Show details. Even show close-ups of where it’s worn or damaged so people won’t have an excuse to cancel the sale when they arrive.
- Feel free to point out some of your parameters. If you want to, feel free to include conditions like “weekend pick-ups only,” “bring cash,” or “call, don’t email” within your listing. Sherry and I sometimes save these for once we’ve started an email exchange or a phone chat with an interested party though, just so we don’t scare them off with too many rules upfront.
You can click the image below to see some actual listings that we’ve posted as some point. None of them have images since Craiglist removes those shortly after a listing has become inactive, so ignore the fact that they appear to violate that suggestion above.
Once you’ve got your listing up and made it live to the world, here’s our usual plan of action from there:
- Commit to a fair system. As much as a “Highest Bidder” system might get the best price, we just like to work on a “First Come, First Served” basis. This means whoever is able to schedule the first full-price pick-up has claim to it. We’re not shy about telling people if they ask because it we think it helps conduct the fairest transaction possible (ex: no one thinks we’re dallying in order to hold out for a higher bidder).
- Choose a safe pick-up location. You guys know we’re protective our address, but it’s not realistic for us to transport every item that we sell to another location for pick up (although sometimes we do that). So when we sell directly from our house, we like to do it in the safest way possible. I don’t provide our address until I’ve scheduled a pick-up time, which means it only goes to the most serious buyers. And whenever possible, we move the item into our carport or outside so the buyer doesn’t enter our home to make the transaction (and it’s out in “public” so no one tries anything funny). This also means they don’t see our alarm system, which helps us feel more secure since no one has “cased” our house while buying something.
- Don’t go it alone. We only schedule pick-ups when both of us can be present. And we make it clear to buyers that there will be more than one of us here. It’s not like Sherry says “my husband is home, so don’t try anything” but a nice subtle “both my husband and I will be home to help you lift it” mention helps. Hint successfully dropped. This tip goes for when you’re a buyer too – always try to bring someone with you, even if just for safety reasons.
- Be ready to stand your ground. Sometimes we find buyers trying to take advantage of the fact that they’re with us in person with cash and others are not, so if someone says “how ’bout just $40 instead of $50” it’s really your call. If you’ve got other buyers waiting the wings, feel free to respond with “we agreed to $50, so we’d like to stick to that please” or even “I have others interested for the full price, so we’re afraid we’re firm on it.”
- Expect cash. If you haven’t made it clear upfront that cash is expected and the person shows up with a check, don’t be shy about telling the person that you’re happy to wait while they go to the bank. Because if you take a check and it bounces, you may be out the money and the item you listed.
Obviously all of these tips are just what works for us, so feel free to tailor them to whatever’s comfortable for you. And we’re always happy to learn new things, so if anyone else has Craigslist tips to share, we’d love to hear them!
all good advice, esp. on the safety thing. we don’t give address until the very last minute, either, and even then, we usually say things like that we’re ‘in and out’ and ‘kids napping’ or whatever in order to make it clear that the house isn’t going to be empty for hours on end. not that we’ve ever sold anything particularly valuable, but…
Also, on the oversell. THere’s nothing more frustrating, as a buyer, to get to something and discover it’s been overhyped and the photo is old. What, did they think we wouldn’t notice? Or that we’d buy because we’d made the trip? So as a result, we’re pretty straight ahead with our own pitches: if it needs work, we’ll say that. If it’s in good condition then we’ll say that. If it’s almost brand new then we’ll say that. And we always price to sell, because that’s our goal, in the end.
As for buying, the waiting game is what’s important – it’s just like any second hand store shopping: monitor what’s on the go with a 5 minute peruse of the ads daily and other than that go about your business. What you want will show up. Sooner or later.
I sell lots of stuff, including furniture, on Craigslist. Unless the piece is far too big to get into my car, I always ask people to meet me at the local police station. In most communities the police station is in a central area, and is about as safe as you can get. It also immediately scares off people who might want to do you harm. I highly recommend it.
I also use a marker that makes sure the money is legit. Especially for higher price items.
I’ve found that people are more eager to give you a deal if you say “will you accept…” instead of “will you take…”. It’s just one simple word difference but it changes the attitude of it, I think! Just something we do (we love flea markets and garage sales…way cheaper than craigs sometimes!)
john – you said….
November 1, 2012 at 11:49 am
We don’t seem to get a lot of it, but I tend not to reply to the “is this still available” emails until I’ve gotten through the ones that are bit more descriptive in their requests.
But then Sherry says in the post:
Start slow. Don’t inundate the buyer with a million questions in your first email. Just a simple “is it still available, if so I’d like to come by tonight with cash” can be enough to get the ball rolling and not scare the seller into thinking you’re too high maintenance for them by asking a bunch of questions.
Okay – So the key here is, I need to add a little blurb to the “Is it still available?” so someone will answer my reply…
Yes! Sorry to be confusing! The approach that has worked for us is to say “is it available? If so I can get it tonight and pay cash.”
So it’s more than just “is it still there?” but not overwhelming with five million questions.
I would add to, “Be synonym happy when you search.” that you should try common (and/or creative) misspellings of the item you’re looking for. When we were shopping for a new refrigerator I don’t think there was a single “refrigerator” listed in our area, but trying refridgerator, frig, frige and refridgerador all yielded results. I can’t tell you how many dinning tables I see for sale on my local craigslist. Sigh.
SO TRUE!!! Good point.
Jen R. says
Craigslist has been very good to us over the last couple of years, too. I patiently searched for a harvest/plank table for about a year. We needed 7-8 chairs for our family of 7 so I thought it was probably hopeless. I was also hoping for black chairs. 2 years ago yesterday, I searched again and there it was “Harvest plank table with 8 black chairs.” Woohoo! We contacted them, and they were a really nice family who had taken really good care of it and were moving out of state. My husband picked it up for me and it has been in my dining room ever since. My mom recovered the chairs for me to help modernize it a bit, and it looks great. It was a blessing! And much better on the budget than having to by from Pottery Barn, etc. :)
I search for items every week on Craigslist. I basically don’t buy new furniture anymore. One thing that really bothers me is when sellers only post pictures of the item from a store’s website, IKEA mostly. That is fine but I want to also see a picture of the actual item, even if it has already been taken apart.
I won’t even consider buying items when they don’t post “real item” pictures. It makes me wonder what is wrong with their piece.
One of the biggest issues I’ve encountered as a seller on Craigslist are no-shows! In the past few months I’ve had no less than four people simply fail to show up at the time/place we set up. It’s so frustrating, especially when there had been a lot of communication between us previously. Have you ever had this happen?
Oh no! Thats so annoying. We have had that happen occasionally but not too often.
Because if you take a check and it bounces, you may be out the money and the item you listed.
PLUS, a possible banking fee for a returned check. Heaven forbid that you wrote checks expecting the buyer’s check to clear and you overdraw your account. That would spell fees fees fees!!!
So true! Thanks for all the awesome tips everyone. You’re a wealth of Craigslist knowledge.
I love craigslist and i have gotten many good deals there but last year we bought a loveseat and became infested with bedbugs (we live in richmond also) so it has completely scared me off because you can’t always inspect a piece of furniture and see them and they can live on the furniture for 18 months without having to bit a person, that being said i am a lot more careful with what i buy…
Oh good grief, I had NO IDEA about the images button. Thanks for making craigslist a million times easier! :)
Thanks for the info. I’d add that for selling, cleaning an item before pickup goes a long way.
***Past participle of mislead = misled, not mislead.
Love the big CL! I recently sold my Ikea Malm king sized bed and side tables. A few years ago, I sold my truck as well. I”ve also purchased a ton of things and rarely have I had a bad experience. Most recently, I picked up two different but wonderful antique sofas for a song! They are at the upholsterers right now and I can’t WAIT to get them. I’ve picked up outdoor furniture, gag gifts, craft supplies, decor items. I’ve been exceptionally pleased with my CLing experiences.
Great tips. I’d add these tips for selling or giving away stuff:
*DIMENSIONS, DIMENSIONS, DIMENSIONS – It’s amazing how many people don’t list furniture dimensions. It’s second only to pictures.
*For smaller items, offer them not at home. Y’all mentioned this. I’ve actually found it very convenient to list stuff from the neighboring town where I work. Especially for stuff I’m giving away for free…I just leave it on the picnic table outside and give out the address.
Hannah Bowen says
This was so helpful! Thanks for all the tips!
WHAT how have I never noticed that “show images” link before?! I love Craigslist and have used it since college.. but you’ve shared a great tip I did not know existed. Duh!
I just purchased a dresser through Craigslist that was in much worse shape than I had expected. When I first saw it, I was so excited about it and thrilled that it was still available since the seller had other interest. I pleaded with them to hold it till I could come look at it. When I saw it in person, I was not nearly as impressed. It had a lot of dings and flaws that I hadn’t seen in the pictures. I wanted to say “no thanks” but I was too embarrassed to after I had made such a big deal about them holding it for me. So I took it at their asking price. I felt so stupid afterwards. Wish I had more of a backbone!! With some touch-ups and repainting, it will work fine and the price was still decent, but if I could do it over again, I think I would have left it. :(
Thanks so much for the tips! I’ve been using Craigslist to sell household stuff for awhile but tonight I’m selling my car on it and these were a good reminder to be safe!
Good article. I love CL. One hint I have is to not JUST check under “furniture”, you wouldn’t believe the furniture I see under “general” or “household”.
We live in Chicago – a city of small irregularly shaped apartments, condos, former commercial space, and “coach houses”.
Since the loft or converted garage – er, um, I mean “coach house” you live in now will definitely NOT fit your window treatments, cabinets, furniture and shelves you used to gussy up your last place, people post a lot on craigslist. Or as my husband calls it, “ikea redux” since Chicago is a hop skip and a jump away from not one but two ikea stores! (Schaumburg & Bollingbrook)
I obsess about more than bed bugs. In our area a lot of people resell items on craigslist for profit. They buy at storage bin auctions, work as trash out movers, or are savvy dumpster divers. So you have to be very careful and really give things a good look (and a good smell).
We take the additional step of “bagging it”. When we buy something, we bag it! Our hardware store carries “contractor bags” which are apparently the worlds strongest garbage bags and they come in sizes large enough to bag a couch (one bag on each side, duct tape the middle). If it is small enough it stays bagged in the back of our Subaru for a few weeks (we don’t drive much in our area unless we are going to the ‘burbs). In the summer or winter the bed bugs get baked or frozen to death in the bag (especially int he summer the temperatures in the car get VERY high). If it is more temperate, the bagged item gets to sit in the garage for a few weeks. Then I unbag and if there is still no evidence of bedbugs, roaches, or gross smells it gets a scrubbing (or a steam cleaning with our handheld) and becomes part of casa de familia!
Also if on the phone or in email I get a funny vibe from a seller or buyer – I just pass. It isn’t worth the risk to save a few bucks.
Cannot tell you how much I love Craigslist. 90% of my furnishings and decor are from Craiglist and I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to items that I think are great but wouldn’t work for me. The only thing that I didn’t see listed already is that I always leave my cash in the car and either go back to get the exact amount (if I decide to purchase) or I pay as the item is getting loaded into the car. For some reason this makes me feel more secure. My mantra to get over any craigslist frustration is thinking that some things just aren’t meant to be. :)
my bf and i love love love craigslist! both for buying and selling. for selling, usually we make sure that the buyer is committed to purchasing the piece for an agreed upon price before setting up the meeting – I don’t like negotiating once they’ve arrived & we don’t want people wasting our time by showing up but then not buying (barring any major discrepancies in the listing or what have you). also if the item is heavy or awkward and we don’t want to have to help them with it, we make sure we say that in the emails leading up to the transaction (ie, do you have a truck big enough & someone to help you?). we have both done our fair share of solo CL transactions, and have never had a problem, but yes, I do agree that it is much safer to have another person present, just in case.
i am really good at finding deals on CL and my bf is really good at closing the deal & arranging the pick up so its great that we each have a role that we like, and are good at, in the transaction. as for selling, i definitely take the cake on that one!
thanks for your tips (and you too, fellow commentors!)
oh, and sherry – i love the original CL site too! xo
CL and Kijiji stories…
We live in a pretty nice residential suburb of Toronto and I have sold so many of our things – in the beginning on CL about 7 years ago, but now I don’t even bother with CL, it’s all Kijiji. I have never met buyers elsewhere but at home. The few times buyers proposed meeting me in a parking lot to buy stuff I just ignored them. At home I have neighbours, a spouse, a phone in hand… and if the buyer is a no-show, as so many are, then I have not wasted my time driving around.
Spam – yes, particularly for brand name items like purses. I was trying to reduce my purse collection (it had grown to that extent) and had people email with great stories, offering to pay with PayPal and even received what looked like authentic PayPal payments. But they were not. Luckily I have been an eBayer for a long time (back when the fees were not insane, now it is not worth it anymore) and was suspicious enough to email and check with PayPal. The fake buyer had the nerve to blast me with emails asking where is the item and why isn’t is mailed yet… so I say just cash in hand at the door. Nothing else.
Pics – OK, lots of people will post pics – taken in the dark, in the garage, and say something like “gorgeous”. Sorry but if your pic is crummy… you won’t get a buyer or you risk a buyer coming to your door only to walk away if the item is not matching the description. And please put in the measurements and age and condition and any other details. That saves you from lots of emails. I also add “if pic is up the item is still available” (but still get at least a few questions whether it is available or not…) Finally – if you sold it, please remove the ad. Saves us both the bother.
As a seller, my advice to buyers who fall in love with something is to go and pick it up ASAP. It is not fair to expect a seller to hold something for you unless you leave a cash deposit – say if an item is big and you need a truck and some strong guys to carry it. Ask for a receipt, and yes, you may risk $20 but it’s not likely the seller will then cheat you – heck, you know where they live. I sold the stones from our old pathway once and had a lot of interested parties. One lady emailed me and asked if she can pick up Friday. I said sure. After her I had ten more people call and email and one promptly came with cash in hand. He took the stones away. Later the lady sent me a horrible email about how the world is going to hell because of people like me… Really? For $50 worth of paving stones? If they mattered that much you should have called, explained why it mattered, offered to send an email payment (I sold PB children bedding to an out-of-town buyer like that). It is secure, and there is a trace, and for an item that you really want, it is worth the $1.50 fee.
Finally… the best is getting a long term deal out of an ad. I was / am lucky enough to now have long term buyers for children stuff; a few moms who appreciated the deals and quality and have kids a few years younger now make a couple of shopping trips a year and we are all happy. They get a steal and I declutter. It works the other way too. I met an elderly couple who own an antique shop in the country. I email them with my list of wishes and they send me pics.. when they have what I need we rent a truck and drive to pick them up. We may pay a bit more than a regular CL deal but still end up with great quality, save time and we know we get what we want rather than driving all the way to be disappointed.
Finally – if you have some really great items that you think are worth the money you are asking and you have the space – be patient. I once waited almost two years for an armoire and a double headboard set to sell. But I had the space in my basement, and in the end I sold them for my asking price. I would rather lose a sale than have someone come to pick up a $300 item and then trying to lowball me at the door or in an email offering $60. No thanks…
Overall I have never really felt unsafe or had any trouble so far – but I do communicate quiet a bit via email before giving out our home address and I always mention that I need to discuss timing with my DH who works from home and he’ll be the one actually here to complete the transaction. After reading your stories though I will try to be a bit more cautious!!
Something happened to me kinda crazy, as I live in a small town, and never gave much thought emailing a seller a simple question about a dresser that simply said, “Is the dresser still available?”
The next day the lady was calling my house and leaving voicemails about the dresser.
I then realized, the header on my outgoing emails is my full name, she then looked up my number (internet or phonebook etc…) and called me, as our last name is rather unusual and we are not “unlisted..”
the whole thing freaked me out.
I didn’t buy the dresser, and just have plain old stranger danger feelings… Thanks for some insight on craiglist…
as well as making me walk around my house all day after reading your post singing a little Montell Jordan-esque “THIS IS HOW WE CRAIGSLIST” :)
CANNOT WAIT to see you in Dallas.
Thankful you are safe from the storm….
Natalie in Oklahoma
I actually sang it in the “This is how we sooonnic” tune! Too funny!
Bedbugs… one of my biggest fears. I think I would have to just up and move and leave all my stuff. but then again, when your young and poor you don’t have much choice. glad you made it through with your sanity:)
Christina @ Floridays Mom says
I’m obsessed with craigslist..I’ve sold more than I’ve bought but I’m still on it daily always looking for deals. Friends are always teasing me about it because I literally sell everything!! I’m amazed what people will just give away. I’ve seen a people mention it, but your lawn story is by far the best craigslist story I’ve heard, I’m trying to get my mom to do the same thing with a small tree she needs removed from her back yard. Why not give it a shot, right!?!?
This post encouraged me to try Craigslist again and to stick with it til I find what I want.
Would you believe that I thought, I really want a desk that has a faux bamboo look, and there it was on CL, for a song, AND in my neighborhood?!
I wouldn’t have been inspired to look today if it wasn’t for your post and I’m just so grateful for the perfect timing!!!
I have the PayPal app on my phone, and have in a pinch said I could show up and PayPal money on the spot if we agree to the sale. Some people are cool with it, others think I’m weird, others just say they don’t have a PayPal. Usually I phrase it in such a way that I indicate Paypal is more convenient for me, but cash is good too. I just hate stopping for change if I’m trying to be the first-come to be first-served.
This is soooooo HELPFUL! Thank you!!!!! Ethics question for everyone: do you ever disappear Clara’s ( your child’s) stuff, the stuff that she would say she wants if you asked her, but she hasn’t played with in months/years and clearly has no sentimental value??? My daughter will not part with anything if asked. NOT ONE THING. Got a storage room full of Doras, chik fillet (sp????) toys, paper fast food crowns, found indianapolis mascot toys (don’t know anyone there, never been) etc. Please advise.
PS no appealing to her charitable side (maybe there isn’t one?) works. She won’t sell, swap or donate.
Oh yes if she outgrows a toy or just doesn’t seem to play with it we’ll switch it out for something she loves and uses and either donate it to another kid who could use it (or store it in the attic for possible future kiddo).
Love these tips, and your approach! Here in Canada we use Kijiji, which is like Craiglist. We always agree on a public meeting spot, normally near the sellers home since he/she is not really responsible for delivery. When I sell something, the PO just around the corner is a great place! It works well for us here.
Great tips! We’ve conducted many a transaction on CL, but I’m always up for more tips. :)
And John, I feel you on the bedbugs … we had them in one of our apartments when we lived in Boston. Not. cool. at. all.
Elizabeth @Food Ramblings says
GREAT POST! I love Craigslist but haven’t figured out the transport part– I need a bigger car!
Also, keep an eye out for email collecting scams on craigslist. I am *very* computer scam/virus savvy but almost got taken when I responded to an ad and the woman wanted me to verify myself, for her safety, through a third party website by entering my email address (and probably o ther info). I *almost* did, since it sounded like a real person and seemed to make sense – but it is just a scam to collect email addresses for spam email lists! I think they reuse real ads to get people to respond. Be wary and use your spam-catcher email accounts for craigslist!
How did I not know about the viewing thumbnail images thing?! You have just saved me so much time!
Emily R says
I love the tip about having a record of a phone call. I’ve always been frustrated when people write back asking me to call…but now I know why and I’ll do the same.
Question – do you ever provide receipts or ask others to give one to you when you’re the buyer?
We have never done that or been asked. Anyone else?
“Good night, sleep tight… don’t let the bedbugs bite” …
That phrase will forever haunt me. Two weeks before I gave birth to my daughter, we moved in to a two bedroom apartment. We should have been suspicious, given that it was a great apartment in a nice area of the city for less than we were expecting, however we were just happy to have finally found a place we liked and I wanted to get to work “nesting”. We didn’t notice any bites or bugs, likely due to the previous tenants taking most of them with them and the apartment being cleaned before we moved in. And then we brought my daughter home.
Remembering that first night still brings tears to my eyes and ignites a fury towards that landlord for renting an apartment infested with bedbugs to a couple who was expecting a baby any day (or anyone, for that matter)! I woke to feed my daughter and found four bedbugs on her. Biting her. I had no idea what the hell they were and killed as many as I could find, but the same thing happened two hours later at the next feeding. Bedbugs. Horrifying. I felt like the worst mother in the world because I had brought my baby home only to be cause her pain and discomfort. :-(
There were 18 apartments in our building and 13 of them were infested – the previous tenants had moved out specifically because of them and he refused to allow us to break our lease. It took three weeks of fighting with the landlord before I rented a megaphone and stood out on the sidewalk telling everyone who passed that our apartment was infested with bedbugs and the landlord refused to have the complex treated. After two hours, he showed up with the paperwork to release us from the contract. Three days later, we put all of our belongings (that we didn’t throw away) into a 12×12 storage unit and rented two Ready Heaters… bedbugs can’t survive more than 30 minutes above 130 degrees… we heated the unit to 140 and left if that was for an hour. A year later, we haven’t had any more signs of them.
I still have nightmares.
This post inspired me to check Craigslist this week and I managed to snag a free side table! Apparently a newly mobile toddler was using it as a jumping platform, so now I was able to add it to a new reading corner in our living room. Thanks for the reminders and inspiration!
Amanda @ The Scacchi House says
We buy and sell on CL all the time. I sold everything in our house (and rented the house) on CL before we moved to Alaska. I usually don’t have any problem.
About a month ago, my husband went to buy us a used car. He met the guy in the grocery store parking lot with a friend. The man with the car pulled up, along with 2 ADDITIONAL cars full of people. My husband made it known that he had a gun (everyone in Alaska has one). The man didn’t have the title, so my husband left. My husband thinks the car was stolen. I’m just glad I wasn’t with him and that he came home safe. There are crazy people out there!
Do you have any CL buy regrets?
I just bought a pair of vintage cane chairs that I think I overpaid for but I drove an hour 15 mins to get there and it seem like a waste to leave empty handed.
I love the chairs ESP once I get them reupholstered but I think I could have been a better negotiator.
Ooh I bet they’re going to look amazing! I think we might regret the rocking chair that we got, and then I painstakingly upholstered it, and we could never find the right spot for it so we later sold it (for the price we spent on it though, so at least we didn’t lose money) but it probably would have been “the one that got away” if I didn’t get it since I never could have known, so it’s not too bad! Haha.
I posted a large drafting table.. I posted very clearly .. This table is LARGE and HEAVY.. this table is 4 foot x 8 foot and very heavy you will need a truck and two people to move this.. I still had many people show up and say oh wow I did not think it was going to be that big.. really how big did you think 4 foot by 8 foot was…
Tory Ganser says
C est pour cela qu il vaut mieux se rendre dans des soir es lesbiennes et non mixtes pour en avoir tent les deux, je peux t assurer que la premi re et dix fois mieux et plus respectueuses
Love these tips, thank you. I’m especially grateful that you published the safety tips with this post as well. Picking up furniture is challenging when you need to meet in a neutral place. My sister was murdered after she answered a babysitting ad on Craigslist. (the first CL-affiliated murder) She talked to the person on the phone and thought she was going to a safe place, but…it wasn’t. One really cannot go to too much trouble to be safe. It’s worth it.
Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry for your loss Sarah. What a terrible tragedy. Thinking of you and your family.
Great tips, I think I just sold a fridge in under 12 hours! Will wait to victory dance until after pick-up.
My husband and I recently moved and we had a few items that no longer worked in our house so I instantly thought of all the great luck you guys have had with Craigslist and decided to try it. I must say I have been a little disappointed. I’m yet to find a buyer and I have been significantly creeped out by at least 10 different people contacting me with half-dressed photos of themselves. Do you guys have any pointers on how to avoid being contacted by people who aren’t serious buyers/creeps?
We try to share lots of pics and write descriptive posts so there aren’t many questions to be asked and have just had good luck with sweet people for the most part. One rule for us is that we’re both home so no one is alone :)
A very old post to comment on, but I’ve been trying to sell things on Craigslist recently and have a question about etiquette. For example, I received seven replies to a posting of bar stools for sale, and replied to the first person who contacted me. How long do I have to wait until I move on from her to the second person? I’d like to go in order of first come, first served, but I’m not sure how long I should wait. Is it ok to reply to everyone, and just inform them all that whoever is able to pick them up first will get them? I’m lost! I don’t want to offend any of them, but I need to get this stuff out of my house before I move.
Oh yes we have done that! Just send them all the same “first person to arrange a pickup and grab it gets it” thing!
Does anyone know what POMS stands for? I’ve seen it in multiple furniture listings on craigslist and it’s driving me crazy..
I don’t know that term either. Anyone know?