Would you like to find amazing furniture pieces for your home for really cheap prices? Or maybe you’d like to make some money by flipping or refinishing then flipping furniture. Then it’s time to master the online search. Here are 8 CraigsList hacks to find great furniture for cheap.
I’ve been buying, refinishing, and flipping furniture for about 5 years now. It’s also the way I furnished 50% of my own home. About 1/3 of the pieces I take in were found on CraigsList. Over the years, I’ve learned how to search for and spot great pieces and know right away if I can refinish them into amazing, like-new furniture. Here’s are my best tips on how to search…
Search Multiple Categories.
CraigsList sites are broken down by location. Choose the CraigsList site that’s nearest your hometown. Since I’m in Massachusetts, I search “Boston.CraigsList.org”. Once on the correct site, review the categories under “For Sale”. The main category to search is “furniture”, but then search other categories. People that don’t post to CraigsList often, may put furniture pieces under “antiques”, “farm & garden”, “free”, “garage sale”, and “general”.
In the left column you’ll find some presets. Choose “has image” and “bundle duplicates” to narrow your search. If you don’t mind traveling a little further out, choose “include nearby areas” to expand your search area. Sometimes people accidentally post to the wrong territory. Unfortunately for them, it means people aren’t seeing their post and it may sit around for quite a while. Fortunately for you, this usually means the seller is more willing to negotiate on price and you can snag it at a deal.
Use Super Simple Search Terms
Chances are if someone is selling a great piece of furniture on CraigsList for cheap, then they don’t really know what that great piece of furniture is worth. They most likely don’t know maker names, designs, or materials. If you’re searching for a pedestal table with an inlay, search “round wood table”. If you’re looking for lucite furniture, search “clear” or “plexiglass”. Use simple terms like “wood”, “bar cart”, “wine bar”, “on wheels”.
Search by Color or Finish
Are you looking for a particular color furniture? Search “blue”, “navy”, “turquoise”, or “seafoam”. Are you looking for raw wood furniture? Search “wood”, “stained”, “oak”, “maple”, “natural”, “unfinished”.
Vary Search Terms
Some of my most common search terms are “dresser”, “buffet”, and “armoire”. But to capture more results, I also change it up and search “bureau”, “armoire”, “sideboard”, and “credenza”.
Search With Different Spellings
Search singular and plural spellings. Search misspellings of the same item – “bufet” instead of “buffet”, or “lusite” instead of “lucite”. Search variations, abbreviations, and with apostrophes and without them – “1950”, “1950s”, 1950’s, “50s”, “’50’s”, “mid-century”, “midcentury”, and “mcm”.
Save Your Search
If there’s a search term you find works well for you, save and turn on notifications so you receive an email when someone posts a piece of furniture that matches your search. For example, if you want to be immediately notified every time someone posts something for “free”, choose “For Sale”, then type “free” in the search bar. Next to the search bar, click “save search”. Here, you can turn on email notifications. It’s super valuable when you can be the first one to respond to a great furniture post!
Use These Tips On Different Platforms
Expand your search to different online platforms. These search tips don’t just work on CraigsList, they also work on Google Search, OfferUp, Instagram, and Facebook Yard Sale pages. Please tell me you know about Facebook Yard Sale pages! Go to Facebook and search “Your Town + yard sale” for your local page.
Tips on Negotiating Price
I’ve been buying and selling furniture on CraigsList for a few years so I’ve learned a few things about contacting sellers and negotiating and I expect buyers of my furniture to do the same. Here are a few tips:
- Reply to CraigsList ads using the CraigsList relay email
- Include your name and cell phone number
- Re-state the product from the ad so they know you read the ad
- It’s nice to know if the buyer is local to the seller so it’s nice if you state where you’re traveling from
- If you’d like to make a lower offer, it’s ok to offer 10-25% lower than the asking price, but I always find offers 50% below my asking price to be insulting.
Tips on Selling on CraigsList
If you’re planning to the flip the furniture you bought, CraigsList is a great place to advertise. Here are a few tips for posting and responding to buyers:
First, use caution, but understand that negotiations do take a bit of trust from both buyer and seller.. Yes, there are scams on CraigsList, but the key is doing your best to recognize them.
CraigsList allows you to post an ad and use their email relay system. This means that Buyers and Sellers don’t see each other’s real email addresses. Instead, they use a CraigsList generated email. Never respond to a buyer’s initial email to you that asks you to email or text them directly. Here’s an actual scam email that I would never respond to:
- “I’m very interested to buy. Today I’ll be busy coz I’ve some works today. So it’s not possible to pick it up today. So tomorrow around 5:00 PM, I will be able to meet you.Please send me your last price and contact information to my email [they inserted their personal email here].
This email has so many red flags that it’s a scam. A few things to notice: Misspelled words. Asking you to respond to a direct email (not a CL relay email) or text number. Does not make mention of the exact item you’re selling. Asks the seller for their low price, instead of making a direct offer.
The people I’m most likely to answer have included a message stating the type of furniture I posted, their name (and preferably their phone number), and a short, polite note.
Enjoy the New-To-You Furniture
Now that you’ve found a great piece of furniture, it’s time to clean it up or refinish to customize it to fit perfectly in your home. You’ll find lots of refinishing tips on Entri Ways under “Refinished Home“.