If you’re new to Facebook Marketplace, you might think it’s just a place to buy and sell used furniture, clothing, and other household items. But with a little creativity, this virtual flea market can be a gold mine for home-improvement deals. Marketplace is a great place to find cheap home-renovation projects.
Whether you’re looking for original vintage light fixtures for your kitchen or some affordable reclaimed wood for your living room wall, you can find almost anything on Marketplace. Most of the sellers are individuals who have renovated their homes or are downsizing from larger properties and need to sell their excess furnishings.
But getting great deals requires more than just clicking on a few interesting listings and hoping that someone will respond positively to your message about a potential purchase. Here are our top 10 tips for using Facebook Marketplace effectively and getting the best deals.
1. Always Be Searching
The best deals are often hidden in plain sight, so always be searching Facebook Marketplace for items you need. If you have a specific project in mind, search for items related to that project and save them to a wish list. This will help you organize your research and keep track of all the items you’re interested in.
You can also use the Marketplace filters to narrow down your results according to your needs, such as price and location. If you’re trying to find something very specific, like a vintage light fixture, it might take a little longer to find the right item.
You might be better off searching for a general term like “lighting” and then using the filters to narrow down the results by price and other factors.
2. Ask the Seller for a Lower Price
When you find the item you want and message the seller to set up a meeting time, don’t wait until the end of your transaction to ask for a lower price. You have nothing to lose by asking, and you’re more likely to get the price you want. If the seller balks at your request, you can go ahead with the transaction at the original price.
But if you’re lucky enough to find a seller who is willing to negotiate, you’ll have one less expense to worry about on your next home-improvement project. Another way to save on the cost of an item you find on Facebook Marketplace is to ask the seller if they’ll take a check or money order instead of a PayPal payment.
This is especially important when dealing with a seller outside your state, since you can’t use your credit card to send money to someone in another country.
3. Be Careful of “Free” Deals
Some sellers may try to entice you with a “free” item or service, but those are often traps that can end up costing you more in the long run. You may be offered a free installation or repair for a new item you buy, for example, or a seller may offer to throw in a “free” antique piece to sweeten the deal on an item that you’re buying.
While these may sound like great deals, they often come with strings attached. For example, if you buy a new appliance and the seller offers to install it for free, they may insist that you pay them with a cash-only transaction.
Or if they offer to throw in the antique item, they may expect you to pay a higher price for the main item you’re buying. Be careful of these “free” deals, and always read the fine print to see if there are any hidden costs associated with them.
4. Negotiate By Offering a Discount Instead
Even if the seller is unwilling to lower their price, you can still save money on your next home-improvement project by offering to buy an item “as is” with no warranty. This will save you the cost of repairing or replacing the item if it breaks soon after you buy it.
If you’re buying an item with moving parts, such as a vintage clock or a fan, it’s especially important to buy it “as is.” Offering to buy an item “as is” is a nice middle ground between asking for a lower price and buying it “as is” without any warranty at all.
The seller knows that they can still profit from the sale, but they also don’t have to worry about being stuck with a broken item that they can’t repair or replace.
5. Don’t Forget About Shipping Costs
One of the biggest expenses you may incur when you buy items from a seller on Facebook Marketplace is the cost of shipping those items to your home. When you’re negotiating a lower price or offering a discount, be sure to factor in the cost of shipping the item to your address.
Most sellers who deal in authentic antiques will require you to pick up the item in person, so don’t forget to take travel costs into consideration when you’re negotiating a lower price. And if you see an item in another state that you want to buy, be sure to take into account the cost of driving to that state to pick it up.
6. Check the Seller’s Ratings and Reviews
Before you agree to a deal, always check the seller’s ratings and reviews. Ratings and reviews provide insight into how other buyers have felt about the quality of the seller’s items and their customer service.
If a seller has a low rating, it’s best to avoid doing business with them, even if they have items that you desperately need. If you see a seller has a low rating, you can always send them a private message to see if there are any issues you can help them with.
This can be a great way to build a good relationship with a seller who has had a bad experience with other customers. If other customers have a problem with a seller, you can also report that seller to Facebook to help keep Marketplace safe.
7. Use Facebook Messenger to Discuss the Deal
When you first start a conversation with a seller, try to avoid email, since you’ll have very little proof that the seller agreed to your terms in writing. Instead, use Facebook Messenger to start all negotiations.
Messenger is a protected, end-to-end encrypted platform that can be used to discuss an item’s price, shipping costs, and a time and place to pick up the item. By having this information in writing, you can avoid any confusion later on. If you use Messenger, you can also save a copy of these messages as proof if the seller decides to try to back out of the deal.
8. Negotiate the Price
Once you’ve agreed on a price with the seller, you can try to negotiate the price even lower. You can do this by offering to pay for the item in cash. If the seller really needs the money immediately, they may be willing to lower the price even more to make a quick sale.
You can also negotiate the price by offering to take a smaller item in exchange for the larger item that you want. For example, if the seller has a dining table that you want but it’s too big for your space, you can offer to take a smaller table in exchange for the full price of the larger table.
9. Don’t Forget to Inspect What You’re Buying
Before you agree to buy an item and make a payment, always inspect it thoroughly. First, make sure that it’s the same item you saw listed on Facebook Marketplace. Also, make sure that it’s in good condition and that all of the parts are present.
If you’re buying a second-hand item, you may still have to pay a small amount towards repairs, such as replacing a faulty switch or fixing a broken hinge. You can ask the seller for an estimate of these repair costs before you agree to the deal.
10. Take Advantage of Special Offers
Many sellers on Facebook Marketplace offer special deals to entice customers to buy from them. Before you buy from a seller, check their item listings to see if they’re offering any special deals.
If a seller is offering a special deal, such as “buy one, get one free,” make sure that you read the fine print and understand how that deal works. If a seller is offering a special deal, it’s likely that they’re trying to clear out