With the cost of living on the rise, more people are looking for ways to save money where they can. Even celebrities like Jessica Alba, Ellen Degeneres, and Robert Pattinson are turning to Craigslist for deals on furnishing their home or apartment. But using resale sites like Craigslist alone won’t cut it, without the right approach.
While most think haggling and aggressive bargaining will get the cheapest price, we’ve learned the opposite is even more effective. Below are our easy, tried and true tips and tricks you can use in any bargaining situation to guarantee you score the best possible deal without the struggle….we threw in a few to keep you safe too. We call it the no bargaining approach to bargaining.
1.) USE EMAIL AND TEXT
The first step is deciding how to contact a seller. When multiple methods are listed such as email, text, or phone call always choose email or text. It’s not only a better bet because it gives you proof of your exchange with the seller and price they agreed to, but it’s also an easier and less confrontational way to make an offer.
2.) GET ALL OF THE INFO UPFRONT
Know your deal breakers and ask about them first BEFORE making an offer. Be sure to ask any questions such as measurements, condition, history, and pictures if there aren’t any posted. This is especially important if you have to travel a far distance to purchase the item. When buying heavy or bulky items, ask if there are any stairs you’ll have to maneuver for pick up.
3.) HOW TO MAKE YOUR OFFER WITHOUT HAGGLING
Now here’s the secret: It’s not what you ask but the way you ask it. Often times on Craigslist, sellers get some pretty colorful characters contacting them and just like you they’re looking for a safe and smooth sale. The more you can show them that you’re trustworthy and paid attention, especially if they gave specific instructions in their post, the more likely they are to accept an offer that’s less than what they asked for and what others are offering them.
For instance, we came across someone selling a designer Pier 1 Imports Hayworth Jewelry armoire for $100 with some damage to the wood on the side. The piece normally retails for around $449 and the damage was easy for us to disguise.
The seller wrote in her listing that “you must be sure the item will fit in your car, and the item must be taken that day.” Eventhough a price was stated in her post, we made an offer that suited our budget and made sure to address the requirements from her listing. We wrote:
“Hi, is your jewelry armoire still available? If you’re ever pressed to sell it I would take it for $85. I have an SUV and could fit it no problem. Thanks so much.”
The sellers response:
“I’m not majorly pressed but if you are someone who will enjoy it and would take it even today, I’ll let it go for $85. Also, it sounds like you are a highly organized person since you read the part about the vehicle.I am working from home today and can meet anytime today and almost any time.I live near Irvine Spectrum. Let me know a time that would work for you.Thanks,”
“Hi, I’m inquiring about your secretary desk. If it has enough room in the interior to slide a closed laptop under the mail slots, then I’d like to make an offer of $35. I understand if this is too low for you but I was just putting it out there incase you’re ever pressed to sell it. I live not too far away. Thanks so much.”
The seller agreed to our price eventhough he was asking $60. The Secretary desk was solid wood with cedar drawers and probably the most useful piece of furniture we’ve ever owned.
For people who seem like they might not be open to negotiate OR state that they’ll only accept reasonable offers, you can even tell them this variation:
“Hi, I’m not trying to insult you and understand if this is too low for you but I’m just putting it out there. If you’re ever pressed to sell your item and are willing to let it go for $___ I’ll be happy to take it. I really like it but unfortunately that’s all my budget will allow. Thanks so much.”
If you follow these tips you’ll probably score an even better deal than someone who bargains. It’ll be a smooth and swift transaction.
4.) WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU WHEN VIEWING/PICKING UP THE ITEM
Measure the car you’ll be transporting the item in, and bring measuring tape, a flashlight (for inspecting the item for damage), blankets, ties, cash and any other tools you will need to pay for and transport the item.
5.) CHECK ITEM THOROUGHLY
Be sure to check the front, back, and sides for cracks and damage in daylight OR with a flashlight before handing over the cash. Some sellers store the item in the garage so a flashlight may be needed for inspections. Be sure to ask the seller to pull out the item so you can inspect it.
6.) MOVING TIP
If you bought a piece of furniture with drawers, take the drawers out. It’ll make the item lighter to transfer to your car.
Depending on the item you’re searching for you may want to do some research especially when it comes to vehicles, appliances, and designer items. Know your prices, features, and warranties. If you’re buying designer items look up the best way to tell a counterfeit and ask the seller before hand via text or email if it has any of these things.
8.) TALK TO THEM VIA PHONE AT SOME POINT IF YOU’RE CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY
Whether it’s to get their address and directions, set a meeting time, or double check on the condition, for safety reasons talk to the person on the phone before driving over there to see their item. You can get a better feel for the person and their environment when you get to hear their voice. You’ll give your gut instincts an opportunity to tell you if something doesn’t seem quite right.
9.) MORE ON SAFETY
- Make sure someone else knows where you’re going and when.
- Casually mention to the seller that you’ll have to do pick up as quickly as possible because you have an appointment or dinner after, if it’s during the day tell them you’re taking a lunchbreak from work. People will be more cautious about trying any funny business if they know someone is waiting for you to get back.
- Always bring someone with you, and never go alone.
- Turn on GPS and have someone you know track your phone. There are many GPS tracking apps you can use such as google’s Android Device manager or Find My iPhone app.
- It’s relatively easy to shop safely in a metropolitan area because it’s heavily populated, but never agree to meet someone in an isolated area. If you really want the item, agree to meet them at a halfway point with the item (if possible) or a public place near their home FIRST then travel to their home where the item is.
Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll most likely get some of the best deals ever. Have any of your own that you care to share? Don’t hesitate to contact us or leave them in the comments below. Happy hunting!
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