It’s Anthony and since I am different type of negotiator then Sara I wanted to bring to you some of my tips for success in paying the least possible (but fair) amount for furniture to flip or keep.
I’m going to cover Craigslist negotiation techniques in this post but they could easily be OfferUp techniques or Facebook Group techniques. I will most likely cover the intricities of those sites in depth in a later post.
The buyer’s dilemma:
You want something, it’s beautiful, it’s rad, it’s so amazing you have to have it. But… the seller wants $200 and you know you don’t want to pay more than $100. How do we make this deal happen??
These are the best tips and tricks that I have used to consistently save money and add value to my transactions on Craigslist.
#1. First contact:
Your initial contact with the seller is absolutely the most important part of the negotiation process. This is where we introduce our desire for the item and potentially lay groundwork for getting the price reduced.
Try to be friendly and cordial. Leading your Craigslist email with “What’s the lowest you’ll take?” is a great way to get the seller to instantly hate you. Trust me I’ve done a lot of deals and if you even get a response from me it’s probably going to be my asking price.
A positive strategy would look like (for a crib).
“Hi there so and so, we just had a new baby and were looking for a crib and yours popped up. Do you mind if I ask you some questions?”
This lays groundwork for conversation and removes a buyer/seller dynamic. Diffusing the tension for the other party is a great way to help you both get a screaming deal.
REMEMBER CRAIGSLIST PEOPLE ARE JUST NORMAL PEOPLE TRYING TO GET SOME CASH FOR THEIR STUFF. DON’T BE A JERK.
#2. Don’t be overly excited.
Keep that poker face, as many negotiation masters say, “He who cares least wins.” This is sooooo true because for us experienced sellers and buyers nothing says profit like someone who has to have an item or has got to get rid of this freaking piece of furniture.
Try to be cool if you love it and if you are trying to buy something for resale be prepared to keep that poker face on when you make your ideal (and low) offer.
#3. Ask a bunch of questions:
Try to answer all of your questions before you take the time to go and get an item.
Nothing is worse than driving all over creation to show up and look at a couch and not noticing the terrible scratches and holes that were conveniently left out of the picture because it was at just the right angle or just the right lighting.
Ask for more pics, ask for details on all damage, asks how long they’ve had it, dogs, cats, canaries! I don’t care but ask the questions.
On that note for the love of all that is holy please make sure of the measurements and if it will fit in your vehicle! Nothing kills a negotiation like the item being impossible to haul. They are trying to get rid of this thing, not wait for you to get your act together.
#4. Pretravel Negotiations:
Negotiate as much as possible before you head out. This will reduce the amount of awkward standing around at the person’s house. I like asking for any damage and then offering my lowest reasonable price.
Ok so your couch has some scratches and you’ve had it for 8 years and you have a dog. You originally bought it for 900 but now want 300. It does look pretty nice, but I think that I could do $200 cash and come and get it right now. How does that sound?
This alone can cause people to realize that what they are asking is a little crazy and even if it’s not it sets you up to make a good buy.
#5. Be on time.
That’s it be on time. Respect my time and I will be happy, disrespect it and you can forget about any haggling.
#6. Be on time.
Seriously this is everyone’s biggest pet peeve with purchasers of the internet. Don’t be that person.
#7. Have cash in 2 pockets.
This was a technique a guy used on me to try to get a couch for $50 less than what we agreed on in emails.
He showed up and did the whole kicking the tires thing and then went for the $300 vs. $350. I told him that we were all set with holding on to it because it was a beautiful couch and I wasn’t in a hurry to give it away.
He stalled for another couple minutes and then pulled cash out of 2 pockets $300 out of 1 and $50 out of another.
Why is this smart? When you separate your money, you try a bit harder to keep the money in your other pocket.
If I show up for a desk and you and I have talked and are around $200 bucks I might do $40 in a pocket and the rest of the money in the other. This $40 is my incentive to wheel and deal with you and could likely be a big part of my profit margin.
I never lie or cheat people, but they are adults and if my Jedi mind tricks work on them I may go home $40 richer.
#8. Ask and then SHUT UP.
This is so easy to remember and can be so hard to do. It goes with our first quote of “He who cares least wins.” “He who speaks first loses.” Try it some time even with a friend or spouse.
Most people can’t stand the awkward silence and when they start talking will talk themselves into a corner.
Ok John it’s a nice dresser but can you do $175 instead of $225?……………….
That’s it. That’s all you say. Now John has to deal with the internal stress of taking the $50 off or possibly losing the deal. Most of the time people will at least cut the price if they start talking.
All of the sudden $225 becomes $200 because people want to be liked or whatever. It just HAPPENS.
Plus, I just saved $25 for speaking a sentence. That’s like $100,000 an hour if I could do it full time lol.
Be aware of any side deals you can set up to bundle. If you ever watch American pickers Frank loves to pick up multiple items at once in a bundle.
If you are trying to fill up on items before a sale or because you are running out of inventory, ask the seller if they have anything else they are trying to sell.
You might get lucky enough to score another item for essentially nothing. I have done this and walked out with more than $500 in items for 0 dollars and 0 cents.
#10. Walk Away:
Have your mind made up on when too much is too much. Sometimes you get to an item and you know what? It’s garbage $50 for a recliner sounds good until you smell and it’s got a cat’s pee all over it.
I have walked several times because stuff just wasn’t what I wanted it to be or was overpriced and I got excited about it before I asked the questions.
Sometimes the best deal is the one you don’t make.
For Profit and Design,
Anthony and Sara
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