I can spend hours scouring Craigslist for goodies. I’ve found everything to my job, my first rental home, a lovely pair of mauve velvet wingback chairs for my wedding and even my sweet pup Cooper. You might say Craigslist has been the key to many of my life events, which is crazy to consider. The problem with Craigslist is that if the deal is good, you need to be at the head of the pack to get the item you want. In other words, you need to be the first to contact the owner or to even arrive onsite to actually get the goods before someone else snags them. This can be tough. New items are constantly being posted to the site at all hours of the day, which means, to get in early, you may need to be constantly searching to catch the latest listings. Stalking craigslist like that can be time consuming, plus, who really has the time or availability to do this? This is where learning how to setup a Craigslist Alert comes in handy.
What is a Craigslist Alert?
A Craigslist Alert is a notification email that is sent to you via Craigslist based on a saved search. The email alerts you when an item or items you are searching for get posted to Craigslist. Once it’s setup, all you have to do is sit back and let Craigslist do all of the searching legwork for you.
How to setup a Craigslist Alert
Sign up for a Craigslist account
The basic setup of a Craigslist Alert is easy. First you need to setup an account with Craigslist if you don’t have one already. Go to “my account” on the Craigslist homepage for your area. From here you can setup your email and password or login to an existing account. If you’re signing up for a new account, Craigslist will send you a verification email.
Do a normal Craigslist search for what you want
Once you have the account setup, start by doing a normal search on Craigslist for what you want to find. I recommend using clearly defined search terms to help narrow your results. For Example, searching for “primitive cupboard” vs “cupboard” will narrow your search results and give you more specific listings. Whatever listings are currently showing up within your search will get delivered to your inbox. If the search description isn’t narrow, Craigslist’s Alert may come back with a TON of results that you will have to filter through in your email. Ooh, that first cupboard in my search pretty cute!
Save your search
At the top of the page to the right of the search box there is a link that says “save search”. Click this to save your search terms. By clicking this, Craigslist will automatically save your search to your account. You can always change or delete this later.
Review your saved searches
Once you click to save your search you will be taken to a page that lists your saved searches. You can get here at any time by clicking “my account” and hitting the “searches” tab at the top of the page. This page will show when your search was created, the name of your search and search terms, the number of hits or listings it’s currently getting, an area to manage or delete your saved search and a place to turn on or off an alert. If you save multiple searches, a list of all of them will appear here.
Set up the alert
Click the checkbox in the “alert” column to turn on an alert for your saved search. After you’ve done that, click the “edit” button under “manage”. In this dialog box, you can adjust the name of your search and also choose to have email notifications. Make sure the button next to “Email” is checked. The search will get sent to the email you used to setup your account. If you have multiple saved searches, you can choose which searches you’d like to have alerts for. Easily uncheck the alert button to stop receiving emails for a saved search.
Check your email
If there were hits (listings) on your search when you set it up, Craigslist will send you an email right away. This email will list with photos all of the items that are already appearing online under your search term/s. Once a new item is posted under this listing, Craigslist will send you updated emails to show the new results since the last alert. And voila, you get a heads up on what you want when it gets posted!
Refined results right to your inbox
Congrats, you now know how to setup a Craigslist Alert! By getting alerts through email you will be able to be one of the first to know when an item you’re looking for gets posted to Craigslist. This way, you’ll avoid wasting time with constant searching and get in early to score the items you want. Good luck searching!
Have any other helpful Craigslist tips or advice? I’d love to hear it!