I have a friend named Ann and she is an expert at finding furniture deals on Craigslist. Her Los Angeles County home is styled with design elements that resemble an Italian casa.
Ann purchased almost all of her home’s ornate and antique furniture from the popular buy-sell-trade website. Craigslist is perfect for trolling for well-crafted European designs.
Here are Ann’s tips on scoring deals as a Craigslist Furniture Connoisseur.
- Check often. Sometimes listings are scarce and sometimes you’ll have a lot to look through. Scouring Craigslist is like browsing through flea markets (brocantes.) in Paris. You’ll never know what treasures you’ll find. You just have to be at the right place at the right time. Checking listings often, increases your chances of finding a good deal. For example, Ann recently scored a nearly-new, three-piece living room set (chair, sofa, and loveseat) for $300.
- Look for listings from older neighborhoods. Older neighborhoods more than likely have older residents and that means antique furniture.
- Zoom in. You can zoom in on most photos to see if furniture pieces have stains or scratches. Then you’ll know whether or not you want to buy.
- Make the purchase before you drive. Ann said she seals every deal via phone or email before she picks up furniture.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle. “If you say you’ve got cash for a certain amount, then there’s a good chance that you’ll make a deal,” Ann said. Listers who also say they’re moving and must be out by a certain date may also be willing to lower their prices just so they can start clearing out.
- Patterns and loud colors are good. These items are usually hard to sell because they only appeal to certain people. That gives you more bidding power. If you are willing to re-upholster or can incorporate them in your decor – go for it and make an offer!
- Be patient and follow up. If a seller doesn’t accept your offer at first, wait a while and check back to see if the item has been sold. Ann said one seller asked for $300 for a Queen Anne style chair. The seller declined Ann’s offer of $125 cash. Ann kept tabs on the listing and waited a month before calling the seller again. By then, because the chair had not sold, the seller was willing to let the chair go for $125.
- Don’t sound desperate. Keeping cool when your offer is declined and simply saying “no problem. If you change your mind, I’ll have the cash for you,” could be a win for you in the long run.
- Be willing to drive for the pick up. If you make a great deal on a good piece of furniture, the total price for the furniture (including gas for pick up) could still be cheaper than paying full price for the piece. Ann said she and her husband once drove out of their way to Orange County to pick up a wrought-iron patio set (valued at more than $1,000). What did Ann pay for the set? $40.
- Be safe. Never pick up furniture by yourself. Have a friend or family member accompany you. If you and a companion can’t pick up your purchase, Ann said there are people who list their serivices on Craigslist to pick up and deliver your purchase for a fee.