3 Signs Your Craigslist Negotiating Skills Might Suck

Mean muggin.

I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with Craigslist, but I am. I’m apparently so taken with the online marketplace that I write about it on this very blog — quite frequently.

But while I’ve discussed how to be good at Craigslist, what I hate about Craigslist, and how to NOT rent an apartment on Craigslist, there’s one aspect of buying and selling that I have no yet addressed: the art of the Craigslist negotiation.

Fortunately for all of you (right?), I’ve garnered many a cautionary in my many years of buying and selling, and now I’m going to share them with you. Here are a few signs you might not be so good at Craigslist negotiating.

1. You seem to think this is Macy*s.
Listen, I get it. You paid hundreds of dollars for that [insert name of furniture/appliance/etc.]. It hurts your heart — and bank account — to even think about selling it for half what you paid for it. But you know what? You are not a department store. I did not drive to your establishment, park in your sprawling parking complex, and brave a stroll through your perfume department to get to this [furniture/appliance/etc.], whereupon I then bought it brand new out of a box. I found it on a semi-shady, over-grown garage sale website. After you had used it for a couple of years. So, alas, you cannot sell it to me for what you paid for it.

There’s nothing worse than a Craigslist seller who won’t budge on their listing price. This is why I always list at least $10 higher than what I ultimately want to get for the item — that way, I can negotiate without feeling too great of a loss. Any time I encounter a seller who won’t drop at least $10 from their price, I immediately move on. Stop acting offended and remember where we are right now.

2. You think you have Jedi mind control.
There are few things more annoying than a buyer trying to trick you into a low-ball offer. When you email me and just say, “What will you sell this to me for?”, my immediate mental response is to send you a “Let Me Google That For You”-type response where I just re-send you the original ad. Howsabout we start at that number, huh pal?

As I just said, I have no issues with haggling. I encourage it, in fact. But you have to at least make me a real offer. You’re not going to fool me into giving my best and final right off the bat. This ain’t my first rodeo, cowboy.

3. You take the low-ball offer to a subterranean level.
I feel like I should repeat the fact that I am not above bargaining. I expect you to reply to my ad with an offer. What really irks me? An offer that is 50 percent or less than what I listed for.

Come on, guys. Be respectful. If I really didn’t care how much I sold it for, I would just drop it in the free section to be done with it. I make a habit of offering at least 75 percent of whatever it was originally listed for, in expectation that the seller will come back closer to 80-85 percent. The only exception is if something is already priced super low — then I might just offer whatever it’s listed for (because I’m not a psychopath).

There’s nothing more annoying than listing something for $80 and getting an offer for $30. Like, what do you think this is? And stop acting wide-eyed and shocked when I say “no, thanks.”

I feel like I may have exhausted my Craigslist tips at this point, but I’m sure there are more great ideas out there. What are your best buying and selling secrets?

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4 thoughts on “3 Signs Your Craigslist Negotiating Skills Might Suck

  1. “Let Me Google That For You”-type response where I just re-send you the original ad. Howsabout we start at that number, huh pal?” um OMG YES. Also, if we agree on a price via email and you show up with less than that amount of money, I *will* send you to the nearest ATM. You are the one who got in your car and drove all the way to my apartment to buy this thing. All I have to do is go back upstairs and email the next person on the list. While standing in my vestibule is not the time to negotiate because you are at distinct disadvantage at that point, pal.

    • Seriously. This happened to my fiance a while ago. Not only did the guy try to give him less money AFTER fiance had already disassembled the bedframe and helped him load it, but he had a buddy with him and they tried to get tough and intimidating. Thankfully, my guy didn’t fall for it (and he is a decent size and can be scary when needed), and those dorks had the rest of the money in their other pocket.

      • Oh my goodness! Things like that always make me question my faith in humanity — why can’t people just be decent? So glad you ended up getting all your money!

  2. A practice I wouldn’t recommend, although effective, is acting like a straight up crazy person. I had a box of stuff listed at $10, and I was prepared to go down to $5 (like you said, if I was just going to give it away, I would have dropped it at Goodwill or put it in the free section). A woman arranged to come buy it, and when she showed up, she was terrifying. Like, super insane. And when she walked out of our apartment with the box and I asked, um, so that was $10, she yelled that it was free and that was that. I was not going to fight her over $10, and really, I was just thankful she was gone. So there’s that. It would probably take a special, and terrible, person to get away with that though 🙂

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