Craigslist: Stay Savvy and Skeptical

Author: Kaili T.

I know you know Craig. Craig helped me find my house and roommates, helped me find my little black motorcycle (which I will have Craig help me sell in the spring), and provided me with countless hours of entertainment while bored. It really does not matter what you are looking for – Craigslist has it. You can score a hot date (or a not so hot creeper), a new car/motorcycle, attempt to land a new job, or just window shop for a used treadmill (NOT a terrible idea!).

The BASICS:

Craigslist.com can be a wonderful resource if used with common sense and caution. Anyone remember the Craigslist Killer? We want to avoid that kind of situation. So when meeting up with anyone from a potential date to a potential seller/buyer, you’ll want to meet in a public place and let people know where you are going and how you and the person you are meeting can be contacted. To further protect your pretty faces, you should do your research on the deal/involved parties before making plans to meet them. Yes, Google them and Facebook them to see if anything comes up, or if you may have mutual friends that you can tap for intel in regards to the individual(s). If you have the resources to contact the date/buyer/seller etc. before the interaction DO IT. Every safety precaution taken will be worth it if things do not go as planned.

Watch for scams. They are all over the place. While Craigslist allows you to flag for content that is corrupt or unsavory, they cannot catch it all. Do not put your identity or safety in jeopardy by disclosing personal information that could put you in harms way-this includes financial info. Never disclose credit/debit card number or any account numbers of any kind. Use cash! When I purchased my street bike I paid in cash. This should go both ways regardless of being a buyer or seller. A check won’t cut it either. Nobody wants to sell their motorcycle for 3k and get a check from the buyer that bounces at the bank as the culprit heads south across the border with your (now theirs if you didn’t play your cards right) crotch rocket.

Here are a few GOOD and BAD things that came out of some of my Craigslist transactions.

WHEELIN’ AND DEALIN’

I decided over the summer that I wanted a crotch rocket. The first place I looked was Craigslist. After contacting several sellers, I finally found a great bike at a great price. After several e-mail exchanges, I made plans to go see the bike that I wanted to buy. I made sure to meet the seller in a public parking lot with others nearby. Doing a separate trip to view the item before coughing up the cash gave me the opportunity to make sure that the online ad was accurate and for me to make sure that the bike would fit me well. Meeting the seller in person also showed that I was serious about making the purchase.

When the deal was finally closed we both signed a bill of sale and all titles (both were needed to register the bike), manuals and parts pertaining to the bike were produced. It was a very pleasant and thorough transaction. Because I obtained all of the proper documentation and parts for the bike during the sale, there will be fewer strings attached when I go to sell it this spring. Make sure to check your states laws and regulations for what you are buying, especially any kind of motor vehicle. Consider yourself and the buyer/sellers obligations if it is an out-of-state transaction.

Then I decided to sell it back onto Craigslist. I have listed it a few times this winter, which has turned out to be a lesson all in itself. You can imagine that buying a motorcycle in the winter isn’t exactly high on any to-do list. People get the itch to buy in the spring when the weather is nice. While I am fortunate not to need the money right at this moment, the idea of a decent sum of money added into my savings account momentarily took a front seat to my common sense. I have gotten several offers so far, some serious, some not. I found that most potential buyers were not willing to pay my below-the-blue-book price. Realistically, folks need money most in the winter and are eager to sell bikes during the off season. My most serious buyer was also a motorcycle dealer who was buying to resell (meaning he would need to make a profit). He tried to reason that my bike was worth almost half a grand less than I wanted for it. While any kind of money would be nice, my bike is in great condition and will sell like a hotcake for my asking price (or more) during the spring riding season when bikes are in high demand. Make sure to do your R+D when listing an item on Craigslist. Get the most bang for your buck (and buck for your bang!).

GIMME SHELTER!

 A year and a half ago I spent the summer living in a six bedroom house with three girls and a guy I ran track with as well as someone we pulled from Craigslist. In addition to living together, two of the girls and I were working the same summer job. Sounds like a bad idea? NO WAY! It was a fun summer and our job was wicked mint (oh the glory days). I remember being nervous at first about finding the sixth person on Craigslist, but he turned out to be a great guy who I wish I got the chance to see more often (he is from PA). This is a great example of Craigslist gone right.

After landing my current job at the firm, I waited three months to move out of my Aunts house to the southern half of the city that I work in. Since most of my friends were already situated, and living with my beau at the time was NOT an option, I delved into the enticing world of Craigslist’s rooms/shared classifieds. I safely visited the home that I currently live in, loved it, and moved in within a month. Things started out blissfully and I enjoyed hanging out with the gals who shared it with me, but as months came and went we found that the living situation wasn’t working well at all. Differing personalities and preferences led to nasty fights and thick tension. There are certainly more good times than bad in my first home out of college, but my hasty decision to live with people I didn’t know is a choice that will not be made twice. It seems like a majority of people have great luck with finding roommates on Craigslist, but if you do not know the people with whom you will be setting up an arrangement with (this is relevant to renting as well as sharing) then you will run the risk of conflicts. Conflicts = stress=lack of enjoyment. This is an example of Craigslist gone wrong.

 If you do your research and development, most transactions that originate from Craig can go smoothly as long as you are proactive about safety and use common sense. Without exercising these basics you could find yourself in a place physically, legally or financially that you do not want to be. Who has time for that? Not you!

2 Comments
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