Craig's List Tips
When looking for anything on Craig's List it can be hard to weed out the real deals from the fake ones. When someone has
something for sale and they say "New" ask them how new it is and what they mean by new. Is it new in the box, only a few days, weeks, months old etc.
Cars, Trucks, SUV's, RV's, Motor Cycles
These are one of the hardest things to decipher in Craig's List. There are good cars, bad cars and indifferent cars. Make sure to have any car you are considering buying checked out by a mechanic. That alone can save you a lot of money and heart ache in the long run. Try to stay away from cars that have a salvage title. Most of the people that post an ad for cars that have salvage titles say the same things like "It was in a minor accident, has salvage title". Try to ascertain why it was issued a salvage title. And remember that once a car is put into salvage title it can never be put back into regular title. It can be issued what is called a "Rebuilt Salvage Title". And typically a car like that is never worth as much as book value or fair market value. Only in certain cases would it be worth the same a book valued car. Such as a classic car etc.
Furniture is also one of the hardest things on Craig's List too. I have had lots of experience with furniture on Craig's List. There are many variations on furniture quality. By that I mean there are several types. Real solid high quality wood, solid second quality wood, veneer, solid wood trimmed, ply wood, particle board. Most people un be knownced to them are not selling the real solid high quality wood furniture. I cannot tell you how many times I personally have bought something that someone told me was "Solid Oak", "Solid Cherry" etc. And it turned out to be ply wood with veneer or stained to resemble oak, cherry, pine etc. Even though they bought it a so called furniture store. You really have to look at what you are buying and look for the tell tail signs of plywood, particle board etc. This is particularly the case when it comes to entertainment centers, computer desks and desks. So when looking at that $1200.00 oak entertainment center really check it over. Just because the owner says it's solid oak doesn't mean that it is. They them selves might have been told it was. It doesn't necessarily mean they are trying to pull a fast one on you. People generally go by what they are told when they bought the piece of furniture. Here are some tips to tell.
Real solid high quality wood
This will look, feel, smell like the real thing. Look at edges, pull put drawers and look at dove tails. Knock on it to listen for a solid hard sound. If there is any part that you can take apart and look at the edges. Ask if the person has a receipt or documentation etc.
Real solid second quality wood
This will be about the same as real solid high quality wood and all the inspection technique is the same.
Veneer can be most nay type of base wood like ply wood or particle board, but has a thin cover or real wood or plastic wood simulation on top. You can tell by look at edges to look for veneer top.
Solid Wood Trimmed
This is a lot like Veneer in that you have a bas wood such as plywood or particle board. It will have the trim pieces made of real wood like oak, pine, cherry etc.
Plywood is can be hard to tell from real solid wood in that it is heavy and will have a solid sound when knocked on. And in a lot of cases will have a real wood veneer no top like oak and stained to look like a solid piece of wood. You will need to look at edges and might have to take a part a piece to look at a non seen edge.
Particle board is about the same as plywood, but is made of small to medium size particles of base wood. Use the same inspection techniques as plywood.
When it comes to electronics make sure when you are buying works. Plug it in and test it and all of its functions. People tend to buy something without trying it out. Taking the word of the person selling it that it works. If it does work then the person selling it should not have a problem with you testing it out.
Computers are about the same as electronics. Test it out and make sure everything works and make sure it is as described. If the person selling it says it has a certain video card make sure that video card is there and it's the same one as described in the posting. Make sure you get the operating system disk. And make sure the operating system is not bootleg. Computers generally go down in value weekly and monthly as parts become cheaper and out dated. There are lots of people selling new in the box computers. The problem with that is they go down in price weekly. What was bought at the beginning of the month for $1000.00 is some times $800.00 at the end of the month. Yet this person is still trying to get $1000.00. You may end up buying something that you can otherwise get at the store for a couple hundred cheaper.
New In The Box
If you are buying something that is claimed to be new in the box from someone. Insist on opening the box. If you are genuinely going to buy it from them. Then they should not have a problem with you opening the box and looking to make sure everything is there. If it is new in the box try to get the receipt from them. It can't be that old if it's new in the box. And they should still have the receipt. A receipt will go a long way in showing you that it is legitimate and not stolen. I once bought a computer that was supposed to be new in the box. Once I opened it the next day it was empty and literally had bricks in it. Someone just got a good box packed it and carefully taped it up to make it look like new.
Pricing Your Item
It can be hard to asses the price on an item that you might not have any idea on. Good research can go a long way. Research your item to see what it sells for not just other peoples asking price. Try looking at Completed Listings on eBay. And select the same year, make, model and condition of your item and select what the items sold the highest for. Not the cheapest. We all know if something is worth $1000.00 it's worth a Penney. It doesn't matter what it's worth to the buyer. What matters is what fair market value says your item is worth. To one person you have worthless junk. While to others you have a great and valuable item. Decide if you are in a hurry to sell or doesn't matter if it takes weeks or months to sell. I've had items take as long as 3 years to sell, but I got my asking price because it was a hard to find rare classic car part. Some items take longer than other to sell. It might only takes days or less to sell your TV. Or it could take months or longer to sell that 1955 Buick or that old piano.
Setting Up The Deal
When setting up the time and place to meet someone to sell your item. There is nothing worse than people who flake on you. You give them your address and directions and tell you a time they will be there and you never see or hear from them again. It happens more times than not these days. In general do not give out your address until the buyer is literally ready to get in their car and come to you. And get their first name, phone number and real email address. If they are a legitimate buyer then they should have no problem giving you this information. This way you can contact them if they are late and you can ask them if they are still coming. If your item is portable try meeting at a public place like police station parking lot, Star Bucks etc. Try having a friend or family member be with you at the time the person is there.
If You Are The Buyer
If you are the one buying don't be a flake. If you are legitimately interested in someone's item give them your first name, phone number and real email address. And don't ask for the sellers address until you are literally ready to get in your car and go see them. Let the seller know that you are very serious and not going to flake out on them. And if you are going to be running late or need to set up a different day or not going to show at all. Have the decency to call the seller and tell them so. After all, you would want the same courtesy.
If you would like any further help with tips please feel free to email me.
Updated 8/28/14 4:30 PM