If you like a good bargain, you might want to look to your neighbors.
There is an app called NextDoor that lets you connect with your neighbors. It’s a private social network that lets you access information about crime and safety, local events, get local business recommendations, and of course, buy and sell goods.
In order to sign up for NextDoor you need to provide your real name and phone number for them to verify you, That means you can trust that the people on the site are, in fact, your neighbors. The trust factor makes buying and selling safer.
NextDoor is available in most areas and there are so many bargains to to do had. Everyday your neighbors are posting things they want to get rid of and those items might just be something you are looking for.
I have gotten the most amazing finds for free or practically nothing. I’ve bought more than 50 items over the last 18 months. I’ve practically redecorated my place using NextDoor. I’ve also had local friends ask me to be on lookout for specific items for them. I scored a dishwasher for my BFF.
Here are some of my best deals:
- A 1-year old Room & Board sectional sofa (shown above): New $3,000. My cost – FREE.
- 4 nearly new Elfa complete shelving/drawer systems: New about $1,000. My cost – FREE.
- A Crate & Barrel upholstered headboard: New $800. My cost – FREE.
- A queen-size Purple mattress (never used and couldn’t be returned). New $1,200. My cost – FREE.
- A 1-year old mid-century modern coffee table (parents of newly-crawling toddler wanted to get rid of everything with sharp corners; shown below): New $1,500. My cost – $50.
I’ve also paid under $20 for some great items including lamps, kitchen appliances, a wine fridge, camping equipment, and more.
Granted, I have several advantages. I live in a major metropolitan area and not every location has as many people in such a dense area, which can change up the amount and quality of what’s available. I’m lucky enough to live in San Francisco and have adjoining neighborhoods with very well-to-do folks that often want to discard items for free or so cheap it’s head spinning. And, I work from home and can often run out on a moment’s notice to pick up something.
Browsing is good. But you should have a list of things that you might be looking for. Currently, on my personal wish list is an adjustable height desk and a ceiling light fixture for my kitchen.
My secret is that most times, I am often replacing an item I don't love. This means that I can wait until I see exactly what I want. This strategy might not work, if you need a juicer or a crib today. But if you can sit tight for a while, the item you want will likely eventually become available.
There are a variety of ways to find good deal. You can look at what was posted for the day. But you can also sort by categories including all, furniture, baby, appliances, electronics, home decor, pets, sporting goods and more. You can also search just free items, items that have been recently discounted, or by entering what you’re looking for directly into a search box.
NextDoor also has a feature that once you’ve clicked on an item, you can see related or similar items.
In This Post:
Tips for scoring amazing NextDoor deals
- Many people are moving at the end of the month, so after the 15th items for sale start to appear more frequently. As the end of the month approaches you’ll also find that people are more eager to unload items and often at a big discount.
- If you see something you are interested in, respond immediately by asking if it’s available. Being first counts for a lot.
- But, even if you’re not first, you can let the seller know that if they don’t sell it to the first person, you’re happy to be contacted. Sellers love having a back up.
- Be flexible and available for pick up at the seller’s convenience.
Communication is Key
- While being first is great, politeness goes a long way. I always use the basics of addressing the person in email by name and saying “thank you” or “have a great day”.
- Make the transaction as easy as possible for the seller. Too many messages is annoying. I once had a buyer who sent me 50 (yes, 50 emails) to coordinate the deal. It was a huge hassle and not really worth my time.
- I also always say something personal in the message. Like, “I love this couch” or “this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
- I have also used my adorable dog when I’m not first. For example, 20 people wanted that Room & Board sectional. I replied knowing that (you can see how many others are interested) and said “Benny really needs a new place to lounge.” I included his photo. It worked.The seller was a dog lover and also had a terrier mix. Benny got his new sofa. They even asked me to bring Benny so they could meet him.
- I also try to ask any and all pertinent questions (like dimensions, if they haven’t provided them, or for additional photos or the manufacturer of the item). Read the listing carefully and don’t ask for information they’ve already included in the ad (that’s just irritating).
- If you’re setting up a pickup or just want to see the item, be specific about your level of interest.
- Remember, you’re not obligated to buy an item. But don’t leave the seller in limbo. If you decide you don’t want the item (even if you’ve committed to a pickup time) you can politely decline. But not showing up is just plain rude.
- And, if I know I can’t pick up and item until the weekend, I’ll let the seller know that I really want the item, but I understand they are eager to get rid of it and they should feel free to go with another buyer that might willing to pick it up sooner. Most times, they’ll wait for me, or tell them to email me later in the week, if it doesn’t get picked up.
Make the Transaction Simple
- When setting the pickup times, be specific about when you are available, but ask what would be most convenient for the seller.
- Be on time when picking up.
- If you need to change the time or day, give as much notice as possible. Don’t leave the seller hanging.
- I always give my cell number, if they say the item is available. This is just so they know I can be trusted.
- And I always ask for their cell number, so I can text them before arriving for pickup or if plans change.
- Pay in cash in the exact amount. Don’t expect the seller to make change.
- Don’t haggle on price unless they note “or best offer” in the listing.
Be Prepared for the pickup
- Ask about weight and size if you are concerned about fitting the item in your vehicle.
- If I’m picking up and not using a service (such as Lugg.com), I’ll usually ask if they think the item will fit in a regular-sized 4-door Honda. If not, I might decline to buy.
- I also have tools in my car. And bungee cords.You never know when you might have to pull a MacGyver to get things home.
- Know if you’ll need a friend. I never expect the seller to help me carry or load anything – especially if stairs are involved.
- When arranging for a third party pickup, consult with the seller about the timing. Unless you pay the seller online (like with Apple Pay, Venmo or PayPal), you’ll still need to meet them in person to get them their money.
If you follow these rules, you should be able to get some great deals and maybe even meet some new neighbors.
Stay tuned for a upcoming post on how to sell your items on NextDoor.