Everyone knows that scouring the classifieds is a risky game. Repeat after us: blurry photos are not your friend. But what about when you suspect you've uncovered a gem? Here's how to make sure it's legit before you make the trek to the seller.
1. Are you meeting any other potential buyers before me? You need to be very clear about exactly when and how your transaction will take place. If you're dropping by at noon and someone shows up with cash at 11:30, you may be out of luck so make sure to nail down as much of a commitment as is possible as close as possible to your appointment.
2. Are there stairs or other obstacles between the item and the street? Some sellers may conveniently forget to mention they live in a 6th floor walk-up so as not to scare off potential buyers (that's you). But sometimes you should be scared off or at least know what you're getting into so you can bring the appropriate manpower.
3. What's our agreed-upon price? If both parties are on the up and up (i.e., item details discussed and any flaws disclosed), setting a fair price ahead of time is good for everyone. The seller won't have to deal with anyone trying to lowball them, and for you, it means that there won't be any surprises once you've put time and/or money into picking up your purchase. Win-win!
4. Has the item been exposed to smoke and/or pets? Especially on upholstery, pet hair and smoky smells tend to linger. Forever. Even if you don't notice a smell or hair at the seller's house, chances are, when you arrive home in your non-smoking and well-lit home, you could be in for a disappointment.
5. What are the exact dimensions? Even if you do uncover a great deal in perfect conditon, it's only perfect for you if it fits in your car and/or home. Get the measurements and map it out at home before you commit to making the trek.
Now go. Find deals. Furnish!