Buying Appliances Off Craigslist

So, I am very pleased to tell you, I have had about 4 or 5 very successful purchases off Craigslist since moving to Santa Rosa. There have been several things we needed and craigslist has come to our rescue. My favorite two purchases so far have been Evy’s Ikea bed that we bought for $60 and then repainted, and a GORGEOUS Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic table base that we are going to add a top too….more on that soon.
Anyway, despite some really successful transactions {buying and selling}, I have to say I learned my lesson when it comes to buying appliances off Craigslist. :( Boo. I thought I would blog about it so that none of you make the same mistake. How’s that for friendship?!? ha. 
So here’s the low down…as I mentioned before, our home was a foreclosed home. The bank had come and done some very interesting improvements to it. Namely, paint {HORRIBLE}, new carpet {livable}, and appliances {black. need I say more?}
Here is what our kitchen looked like before we moved in:
Right. Not bad, but not great. The house was built in 1985, can you tell? :) The bank added all black appliances. Here’s a very bad picture of the dishwasher:

It was a bottom of the line GE, although a decent bottom of the line. When we painted everything white, the poor kitchen lookd so sad with the black appliances. Since the painter took almost every cent we owned {literally} we needed to do an upgrade to the kitchen on a dime. We had $200 to put towards the dishwasher, and obviously that wouldn’t buy us much. So we listed the above dishwasher on craigslist for $200 and got a buyer pretty quickly. Now we had about $400 to put towards a new one.
We started searching craiglist. I knew I wanted to go stainless steel, so that’s what we put in the search bar. I found an add for a stainless steel GE dishwasher for $550 about an hour an a half away from us. It was listed as “new” and in a “model home” and had a picture of a generic dishwasher. It did list the model number so I googled it and found out it was selling for $799, so the $550 was a good deal, but not what I could afford. I emailed him and asked if he would take $400. He said no. Oh well.
About a week later he emailed me back and said he would take the $400. Here’s where I should have stopped and thought about it all. I wish I had googled the model number again, but I didn’t. I did ask for actual pictures though and here’s what I got:

And the original picture he sent me, from some website.

They look decent, I guess. The fact that they weren’t in a house should have kinda concerned me, but oh well. Anyway, we agreed we would go. We didn’t think about the gas it would cost us to get there, which was a result of the fact that he emailed me the week we moved to Santa Rosa, and we were a bit brain dead. That it would cost us at least $45 in gas never crossed my mind. 
We followed the address and ended up at a storage center around 6:30 PM. It was dark. The man let us in the storage unit and there were tons of appliances. We felt a little silly as we really had no idea what to look for as we had never shopped appliances before. There was a piece slightly cracked in back, which ended up being the drain pump, but it looked like it would work, so we didn’t make a big deal about it. The man said in the emails that he had the owners manual {even put it in the pictures} but when we got there, there was no owners manual. He must have staged that one well. We did take the dishwasher, and when we paid him, he didn’t even count the money. 
The whole thing was sketchy. 
When we got home, we had to order a new $50 part for the cracked pump, new $45 hoses {since it didn’t come with any} and it still didn’t work, we had to call the GE reapairman to come out and look at it. $99 later, our dishwasher worked, but according to the repairman, it was not new…it had food in the filter. 
 And here’s the kicker…why did the guy come back and say he’d take $400? GE just came out with a new dishwasher that week and marked that model down to $550. By the time we finished paying for all the “extras” we could have bought the exact one NEW from Home Depot.
So here’s my foolproof buying appliances from Craigslist steps:
1. Always ask for model numbers AND serial numbers. I would suggest asking for a picture of it. I didn’t realize this, but you can call GE {or any brand} and ask for info on the exact product. They will tell you when it was produced and possibly even sold. They can also tell you if there are any recalls on the item that might cause it not to work properly. Here’s what you are looking for:
2. Google the model and serial number and make sure the prices you find online are current before you buy. If the same item is going for what you are about to pay for it, it probably isn’t worth it. 
3. If you can’t plug the appliance in to see if it works, then don’t buy it. That is unless you know the person and feel comfortable with the transaction and/or its worth the amount of money you might lose if it doesn’t work.
4. Ask for the owners manual. If they don’t have it, think twice about buying it, or at least ask for a discount.
5. If anything is cracked or broken. Ask for at least $50 off. Most parts for appliances will run pretty close to that. 
6. Remember that if you have to call the repairman, in most cases its $99 right off the bat. Keep that in mind when purchasing.
7. Make sure you see the appliance during the daylight. Trying to look at an appliance at night will really cause you to over look small details.
8. Buy local. Or add in the cost of gas to the price and make sure it’s worth it.
And don’t forget to clean your appliance. You’ll want to factor that into your cost. For the dishwasher, its pretty cheap. I found this when we moved from Stockton and its AWESOME! Makes everything feel so clean. You can purchase it HERE or at Target, like me. :) It’s around $5.00.

Anyway, I am by no means an expert on this, but this is just my experience. Would love any other suggestions you all might have. Have any of you purchased appliances off Craigslist? Or maybe have some great Craigslist suggestions in general? Feel free to hop in on the convo.

Much Love!

4 thoughts on “Buying Appliances Off Craigslist

  1. 1
    Jenni says:

    great tips my friend! haven't ever bought appliances on craiglist, but will know what to look for when i do!

    thank you!

  2. 2
    Kelley says:

    You sound like an expert to me! This post is priceless for those in the market for buying on Craigslist. Absolutely wonderful job, girl. That took some time, effort, and intelligence. A++ Wiser. Done!

  3. 3
    Barbara says:

    Thanks for the post. We’re getting ready to move soon and will need to purchase “temporary” appliances off of craigslist. We will definitely be using this list. Super informative.

  4. 4
    Zero Angel says:

    A lot of people make a killing off of ‘refurbishing’ old appliances. In fact, appliance stores which have appliances which suffer even the smallest amount of cosmetic damage, or are recalled, will have to pay someone to haul away that item. This is good for entrepeneurs who are knowledgeable about appliance repair and can fix appliances, but not everyone who is payed to haul away appliances will fix them, and not everyone will actually throw them away, but some will sell them. Your advice is good advice. Shopping online you have the benefit of being able to do research. Make use of that benefit!

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