08/03/2013 09:28 am ET

8 Craigslist Shopping Tips To Get What You Want Every Time


We're huge fans of shopping for used furniture and other housewares on Craigslist. Yes, you may have to do some weeding through a whole lot of ugly to find the prizes, but you can score great deals and unique pieces with lots more character than what you'd find in retail shops. There are some drawbacks, of course. Read through our Craigslist shopping tips for finding what you want (and getting it home) every time.

1. Search smart. Craigslist isn't the most user-friendly site, so thankfully there are some tools that make finding your dream items a bit easier. First, set up an RSS feed with the specific key words you're looking for, so you'll be the first to know it's hit the boards. For example, type "Black Eames lounge chair and ottoman." Then, you wait.

2. Be patient. Chances are you aren't going to find exactly what you're looking for on day one. But using an app like Craigslist Preview allows you to search in half the time because you can easily browse photos without clicking on each link. Amazing invention, right?

3. Act quickly. When you see the item of your heart's desire, email or call the seller immediately. Chances are, they're going to give it up to the first quality offer they receive, and most sellers won't hold items. So, drop what you are doing, and GO!

4. Ask for info. You found a piece that may be right, but there's not enough information to be sure. If the seller didn't include important details like dimensions or displayed a retailer's photo instead of one of the actual item, you shouldn't be afraid to speak up. Remember, they want to sell just as badly as you want to buy.

5. See it first. It's really important to check it out the item in person before paying for it. Look for any damages or issues and make sure it's exactly what you bargained for before you agree to pay. Don't feel bad if it's not the one for you.

6. Wait to bargain. If you haggle before you meet with the seller, they may ignore your request. They'll be more likely to lower the price when your SUV's in the driveway ready to take their sofa off their hands.

7. Bring cash. And make sure it's the correct change. There's nothing worse than paying over asking price because the seller can't break your fifty.

8. Be safe. This is a given, but don't do anything dumb. Don't go into a stranger's home alone if you aren't comfortable and let people know where you're going. Be wary of anyone who wants your credit card information or asks you to wire funds.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any other good advice for shopping Craigslist, and click through our slideshow of hilarious posts below.

There's A Reason It's Free On Craigslist

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