Every once in a while, I remember Facebook Marketplace exists and I become completely obsessed with it until I get to the end of the internet. This is also, just generally, my personality type. This time around it was sparked by my interest in a wooden fireplace mantle. 11 pieces later, we’re here.
This is Part 1 of a two-part post: Today I’m sharing a few of my Facebook Marketplace tips for acquiring hidden gems and sharing the pieces I’ve purchased over the last few weeks! Mid-May I’ll be sharing any additional tips you share (in the Comments section of this post), any new finds, and how I styled these pieces in my new space.
Create a budget
Create a budget and stick to it. This is probably the area that gets people into the most trouble and the easiest place to negotiate your way out of–don’t do it. I get questions about how I’m able to find great pieces at such low prices and it’s because I only purchase items that fall within a certain price point. This means I’m not going for those $700 tables because they’re not within my budget. I wait for the price to drop on those $700 tables and then make my move.
Playing this waiting game, I do run the risk of losing out on an item that someone else is willing to pay a higher price for but that just means it wasn’t meant to be. Don’t compromise your budget.
Make a list
I paid $200 for a $1,846 chandelier I’ve been coveting for over a year because it was on my list and I was specifically searching for it.
Make a list and be as specific as you can. Know you want the IKEA KIVIK chaise? Write down, “IKEA KIVIK chaise”.
Don’t go in there without a plan–you’ll end up justifying used gardening tools when you live in a 30-story city apartment.
Identify your style
Marketplace is vast. It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole. Identify and commit to your style so it’s easy to stay laser-focused and not end up with a great deal on a farmhouse dining table when your home is exclusively minimalist modern.
Be specific in your search
Train the algorithm to work for you. The more you search within your specific style or for specific items, the more of those items will be shown to you in the “For You” tab within Marketplace.
The style I’m going for in my new space is minimalist-natural-restoration-hardware-west-elm-pottery-barn-mcm-maybe-boho-mixed-with-modern. It will depend on the words the seller uses to list the item but search for those specific terms. Not all at once. For example, I found my new entry table by simply searching “Pottery Barn”. It was listed as a Pottery Barn Hearst bar table but actually ended up being the Erie bar table from Burke Decor. Which looks like the same table to me… It’s currently listed on their site for $1700 – I paid $200 for it. Use specific search terms.
Research the item
I recently purchased two light fixtures from Marketplace. The first was that previously mentioned $1,846 chandelier from Hudson Valley Lighting that I’d had my eye on for a while. I’d dig around for it often so when I saw it listed for $250, I jumped on it immediately. I offered $200 and next-day pickup. The seller accepted. In this situation, I’d previously done my research and was ready for if and when it popped up.
The second fixture, I stumbled upon. I knew nothing about it so I did a little research and realized the seller was listing it for only $7 less than the current sale price and only $40 less than the original price. I was confident in offering 50% less than the list price (since I now knew what it was) and next day pickup.
Carefully curate your message to the seller
In my experience, I’ve found that sellers are most interested in all information in one place. More often than not, they’ve listed something that’s taking up space and they want it out.
In your initial offer message, include all relevant info:
- State your interest
- State the amount you’re offering, if different than list price
- Share when you’re available to pick up OR exact pickup time if the seller gives a specific window
- Identify your payment method
I typically always offer to Venmo half of the final price in order to hold the item and request the seller mark it as “pending”.
Save the items you’re interested in
Marketplace has a “Save” function so you’re able to keep everything in one place. This option provides quick and easy accessibility and allows you to see all items of interest in one place. It makes adding up potential costs and ensuring you’re staying true to your style, among other things, super simple.
Most importantly, you can use this list as a little cheat sheet to check in on price changes over time. If I don’t have space for a piece of furniture or the price is too high, I’ll still save it and then check back often to see if the price has changed. Sometimes, if the price falls into my sweet spot, I’ll deal with the space issue in order to acquire that piece.
Go in focused.
Sort searches by selecting “Local”. This eliminates all those obnoxious ads and serves you listings from people who are local.
Similarly, widen your radius to however far you’re willing to drive. Live in Chicago but willing to drive to Indianapolis to pick up a perfectly-priced vintage burlwood console table? Make sure your search area includes Indianapolis.
Use keywords and sort through the same kinds of items to train the algorithm. It will recommend similar pieces, similar styles, etc. For example, I’d been searching for vintage pieces + modern lamps but not vintage lamps. Because of those search terms I’d been using, the algorithm suggested a vintage lamp (image below) under the “For You” section. Purchased!
I’ve discovered that the way a seller lists something may show how inclined they will be to lower the price. If someone is listing an originally-priced $1,000 coffee table “like new” for $800 but has visible damage to the top, they may not entertain a $300 offer. But if this seller is listing the table as “good” or “fair”, discloses the damage, and lists it at $400, they may be more inclined to entertain that $300 offer.
Please share any tips you have in the Comments section below!
Recent Marketplace purchases: