Readers' Best Tips for Scoring Items on Craigslist
When it comes to shopping online for a renovation, Craigslist is often the place TOH readers hit up first
Here are a few of your tried-and-true strategies:
• Check often and change your keywords: "It takes a lot of persistence," says Greg Krause, who used a free iPhone app (cPro craigslist client) to search multiple areas for kitchen cabinets every day. Using related terms, like kitchen counter, helped him hunt up hidden offerings.
• Inquire about add-ons: If you're buying kitchen cabinets, ask for touch-up paint the owners might have on hand so that you'll be able to conceal any bumps and bruises the cabinets sustain in the installation process. Asking for the extra pieces to go with any purchase can save you future headaches.
• Share your wist list: Sellers might have other items they haven't gotten a chance to list yet, so it doesn't hurt to ask. For instance, if you're buying a toilet, ask the seller if he may be parting with a sink or a tub in the near future.
• Know when to walk away: For items like wet-location can lights for a bath, which are fairly inexpensive to begin with, save the hassle by buying new.
• Go the extra mile: Increase the distance you're willing to drive—by about 200 miles. "We bought a door in Indiana for $200 that would have been listed at $1,500 or $2,000 in Chicago, says Greg. "It took a little more time, but we made up for it in savings."
Bargains to Brag About
Item: Vintage buffet turned teal coffee bar (shown)
"I knew this sideboard would be perfect for our kitchen—it just needed paint. And it was a lot cheaper than buying extra cabinets."
—Jaime Scott, Fairfax, Virginia
Item: Drop-in bathtub
"I couldn't believe we found a tub for this price. It was the best deal in our bath reno."
—Kat Hertzler, Narvon, Pennsylvania
Item: Shaws white farmhouse sink
"It has a small hairline crack, but that's almost totally hidden by the countertop. It was definitely worth it!"
—Jennifer Cline, Ravenna, Ohio
Item: Granite countertops
"We purchased several slabs of granite from a restaurant in Baltimore, then my husband learned to cut them from an online tutorial."
—Kathleen Nutter, Severna Park, Maryland
Item: Kitchen cabinets (19 uppers, nine lowers), quartz countertops, and pendant lights
"Our cabinets came with countertops and tons of extras. We couldn't have gotten the same deal anywhere else."
—Darla and Greg Krause, Chicago
Item: Two sets of upholstered booths
"The restaurant banquettes were in mint condition. They're perfect for my man cave."
—Paul Ferrari, Billerica, Massachusetts