Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Buying On Craigslist? Here's Some Resources. . .

I found a few free websites that will help you master Craigslist. These will help you if you're buying or selling used merchandise.

The first site allows you to look up the current selling prices on Craigslist of thousands of items by brand and model number. Then you can click on the sell yours button and list the item on Craigslist in your city.

Remember, Craigslist prices might be higher or lower than eBay items so you should take a look at completed auctions on eBay.


The Second Craigslist Resource. . .

Ryan Finlay has a blog about buying and getting free stuff on Craigslist and then reselling it on Craigslist and eBay. Ryan is still working out some of his techniques, but seems honest about his efforts and results.

Not only is the free information on his site better than any of the ebooks I've read about Craigslist, but he doesn't seem to be selling ebooks or anything. He does have a sign up form so you can get announcements of new posts.

One of the good points you can learn from Ryan is that anyone can be successful at this. He seems to have just started out with no idea of what things are worth, but the willingness to check prices on sites like Priceonomics and then go buy things when there looks to be a profit.

One point of disagreement. . . On his page about avoiding stolen items he says,

"In general, it's good to stay away from items without photos or with just stock photo's. The item might not necessarily be stolen, but often times it's got serious cosmetic issues that would drive potential buyers away. I've got (sic) to check out items without pictures before, knowing the risk, and probably 50% of the time I end up walking away."


"'Poor description on the item.' Not only a good way to recognize stolen goods, but a great way to recognize damaged goods. In general, the less people put in the description, the less nice things they could come up with for the item. Remember that! Tiny description, I usually just pass over the item."

Almost all my really great deals from Craigslist have been poorly described or didn't have pictures. (I've never called anyone who used stock photos in a listing because I only buy vintage items where there are no stock photos available.) This difference might be because I specialize in specific items and have years of experience dealing with sellers on the phone so I can qualify them better.

One other point about Ryan's blog. It seems he's trying to figure out how to keep sellers from selling items to others before he gets there. In over 35 years of buying old toys I've never had this happen. I talk to the seller on the phone, make an appointment to meet them, and then show up 10 minutes after I say I'll be there. There have been a few times when the seller had someone else at his house waiting for me because he'd had other calls.

So a few points on making the seller wait until you get there.

  1. I tell the seller if they sell before I get there, they'll never know how much more I would have paid them. Obviously this won't work when the seller set the price.
  2. I tell seller I'll buy EVERYTHING they have and pay cash. I don't cherry pick out the good items, I buy everything.
  3. I tell the seller exactly where I am, and get detailed directions from my location to theirs. This allows them to visualize in their heads exactly how long it will take me to get there.
  4. I attempt to build rapport and trust with the seller while we're on the phone. This is done by letting them talk and then interjecting questions that allow me to demonstrate my knowledge.

After hanging up, I leave with enough time to show up about 10 minutes late, and after ringing the doorbell, I turn away from the door and find something on their porch or lawn to comment about when the door is opened. It's a process.

I bought my VW camper from a seller on Craigslist for $500 from a guy who just wanted it out of his backyard. At that price the first person to show up would be the buyer. (It wasn't a great deal, but even for someone parting it out, rather than rebuilding it like I did, it was a fair deal.)

The seller posted the camper on Craigslist late Friday night. It just happened that I was looking at the listings a few minutes after he posted, so I emailed him my phone number and told him to call me if he was still up. I talked with the seller on the phone for 30 minutes, then set up an appointment for the next morning. (I asked him what time he'd be getting up in the morning, and told him I'd be there 10 minutes later with coffee. I was!)

Check out Ryan's Blog here.

Earlier, I mentioned showing up 10 minutes after I set the appointment, and finding something to talk to the seller about in their front yard. This is the beginning of the second half of the negotiating process. (The first half is setting the appointment on the phone.)

I have an interview I did with a friend about negotiating to buy antiques and collectibles. After reading the transcript, you'll close more deals. It's only $9.00 so one purchase will more than cover your investment.

Improve your negotiation skills with this interview.


A Third Craigslist Resource. . .

PS I got an email from a reader after I sent this out as a newsletter asking if there is a way to search all cities on Craigslist at once. You can use the simple search all cities on Craigslist box I made up, or do an advanced search on Google using instruction under the search box I made up.

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