Secrets to scoring the best online deals
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Here's How...1 of 16
We all have that friend who's constantly raving about her latest high-end find on eBay, Etsy or Craigslist. Meanwhile your latest online purchases include a vintage smoke detector and leg warmers for your dog. To avoid making worthless purchases or paying top dollar for so-so pieces, Glo asked top Internet shopping experts how to weed through the wares and get the best deals. Soon enough, friends will be asking you, "Where did you find that?!"
Tip 12 of 16
"I've scored most of my furniture and many key items for budget-conscious clients through Craigslist," says Natalie Myers, interior designer for Veneer Designs. Step one: Download the Craigslist Pro App. "It will save you a lot of time and frustration because you can see the thumb nail photos first without opening the link to the post," says Myers.
Tip 23 of 16
"If you're too vague in your search, you'll get hundreds of useless postings, but if you're too specific about a style and make, you'll find overpriced items by sellers who use Craigslist as a side business," says Myers. The trick? Be vaguely specific: "Instead of search words like 'midcentury' or 'Eames' use 'retro chair' or 'vintage chair.' Chances are you'll find a great piece by someone who doesn't even know what they have!" says Myers.
Tip 34 of 16
"If you see a coffee table at Room and Board or Design Within Reach that you're obsessed with but can't afford the retail price, wait a bit. You'll see someone will have bought it, changed their mind, and posted the practically new item on Craigslist for half the price," says Myers. "Check every day. It may take weeks, or months, but eventually it will pop up and you can pounce."
Tip 45 of 16
Good things never last: "If you see an item you want, contact the seller immediately," says Myers. "Set a definite meeting time and follow through or it's likely to be gone the next time you check."
Tip 56 of 16
"Set your Craigslist filters for $50 to $100 more than you want to spend just to see what's out there," says Myers. "If you find an item you love that's higher than you want to spend, don't be afraid to ask for a price reduction—most sellers assume you'll haggle and will build that into the price," says Myers. Even better: See the item in person first. "It helps to find a small fault, then ask for a price reduction," says Myers. "Once you're there, they won't want to have to deal with another buyer and may be more likely to sell—just be respectful and don’t make a lowball offer."
Tip 67 of 16
Bidding on an eBay auction? "Consider waiting until the last three or four minutes before placing a bid on an item," says Jim "Griff" Griffith, eBay’s dean of education. "Wait until closing time and you may keep the price down and snag a better bargain—plus there's less time for someone else to come along and outbid you."
Tip 78 of 16
When you find an item you may be interested in, click the "watch" button on the website to keep track of its status. "This places it in your personal watch list to help you keep tabs on the bidding status of your favorite items," says Griffith. "The items are automatically ordered by the ones ending soonest to make sure you don't miss your chance to bid—and win."
Tip 89 of 16
If you know you're hunting for something you might not find right away, use the "save your searches" feature. "Anytime something pops up on the site matching your search, eBay will send you an email notification, so you'll never miss out," Griffith says.
Tip 910 of 16
To keep the cost of shipping heavy items like furniture down, reduce your search parameters to look for sellers nearby so you can pick up the item yourself," says Griffith. Still not finding what you're looking for? You can search for sellers that include shipping in their price which helps eliminate the hassle of those logistical details."
Tip 1011 of 16
To make sure items are authentic when buying vintage or antique decor, take a look at the seller's history. "It's always good to read customer feedback. You can also see what they've sold recently, and if they sell a lot of midcentury modern pieces, chances are they know what they're talking about. Don't be afraid to email and ask questions—the more information they can provide before you buy the better," says Griffith.
Tip 1112 of 16
"Reading style blogs and websites can help you pick up on trends before they hit the masses," says Griffith. "Then you can look for similar items on eBay and snatch them up before the seller realizes what they have and prices go up."
Tip 1213 of 16
"Furniture photos can be deceiving, so be sure to request measurements and additional images from different angles to make sure the size and proportion of the items are what you’re looking for," says Griffith.
Tip 1314 of 16
"If you see something you like on Etsy, but the price is more than you want to pay or you want the item in a different color, send the seller a message," says Carissa Black, Etsy seller since 2007 and shop owner of Carissa Black Handbags. "More times than not, the seller will be more than happy to work with you to negotiate a price you are both comfortable with or create a custom order for you with the color you were wanting."
Tip 1415 of 16
"'Like' your favorite Etsy sellers on Facebook and you'll be the first one to hear about new products and special discounts specifically created for their Facebook fans," advises Black.
Tip 1516 of 16
"Use Etsy's Daily Finds Email—you can find it on the left-hand side on the home page," says Black. You can choose between daily or weekly updates that include fashion finds, editor's picks and more items you might otherwise have missed.