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Tips for Buying on Facebook Marketplace to Get the Best Deals

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My best tips to find great deals when buying on Facebook Marketplace! Whether you’re looking for something unique, trying to furnish your home, or just sticking within your budget, here’s how you can find some great deals for your home.

gray painted french dresser with onlays decorated with white ironstone books and art on top

I used to buy a lot on Craigslist, and I still do! But these days, I find more on Facebook Marketplace. Marketplace is where people can buy or sell items, either locally or across the nation. What’s nice about Marketplace is that you can find unique items and great deals. This is perfect if you’re on a tight budget or looking for that one-of-a-kind item to furnish your home.

My Facebook Marketplace Finds

I replaced my IKEA EKTORP sectional with this Pottery Barn one for just $300 on Marketplace!

living room with white slipcovered sectional and blue throw pillows french coffee table with cherry blossoms in a vase on top

I scooped up this Restoration Hardware coffee table for a fraction of the retail price from a couple who was moving out of the country.

neutral living room with wooden top coffee table with old books on top and a vase with olive branches next to santos doll with french wingback chair in background

Then there were these Restoration Hardware velvet dining chairs that I got for just $50!

dining room with french chairs with numbers on the back and white velvet head chairs at trestle table

I’ve actually purchased so many other things on Marketplace, like my kitchen table, my Santos doll, the family room coffee table, multiple dressers, and more!

The Ultimate Guide to Buying on Facebook Marketplace

So what I’m saying is that I spend a lot of time buying on Facebook Marketplace and have found some great things, so I’m sharing all of my best tips with you! This is how you can find gorgeous items at great prices, or unique pieces to fill your home. I’ll share my Search tips, communication guides, and how to stay safe and avoid scams.

kitchen with white cabinets and granite counter with farmhouse table decorated for fall with apples hydrangea and copper accents

Searching on Facebook Marketplace

Search Daily

New items are added every single day, all throughout the day. So if you are actively searching for something or have a deadline, you’ll need to search Marketplace every single day. While some items might sit for days or even weeks, rare or well-priced pieces often move quickly so you’ll have to be more diligent about searching.

Weekends and holidays tend to have the greatest amount of new inventory since people are home and cleaning. If looking for home decor or kids’ items, though, school hours are a great time since that’s when moms have time to list things for sale!

Use Keywords

Okay, so maybe you want to search for a tufted sofa. So you type in “tufted sofa” and don’t see one you like. Should you stop there? No!

You have to think like a seller – what would they have put in their ad?  Because that’s what you need to search for!  

Maybe the seller listed it as a “tufted couch” or maybe even a “Chesterfield”. While Facebook is pretty smart and can figure out similar search terms, always check.

Start your search with specific keywords for what you want, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for, do the search again using more generic terms.  

  • Step 1: A good rule-of-thumb is to start with an Adjective + Noun. So tufted sofa, velvet chair, pine armoire, etc. In large metro areas, you can include brand names in this step, too. And if you want a vintage or antique piece, add that as a third word (i.e. antique brass candleholder)
  • Step 2: If you don’t find what you want, try different adjectives and similar terms (i.e. vintage gold candlestick)
  • Step 3: As a last result, just use the noun for the item you want. This will likely return a lot of search results, maybe too many to go through, but if you’ve been saving items you like and taking Facebook’s surveys, they’ll show you the options most relevant to you first.

Search by Category

One of my favorite categories on Facebook Marketplace is called “Today’s Picks”. It’s usually the very first category that shows on screen. This category is comprised of items selected by Facebook’s algorithm based on your previous search history and saves. The more you use Marketplace, the more this section will be tailored to your specific taste.

Another category to check is “Newly Listed” because it sorts out items that have been recently listed. This is the only way to search the most recent listings, as the other categories are not returned results based on date/time listed.

One problem with the Newly Listed category, though, is that it’s not listed as a category in the sidebar. The only way to find it is from the main Marketplace page and unfortunately, it doesn’t always show!

Change your search area

Expanding your search area will by default, yield more search results. So maybe you said you wanted a 20 mile radius, but then you expand your geographic area and discover that antique French table you’ve been searching for is just 21 miles away! Wouldn’t you drive an extra mile for a one-of-a-kind find?!

And if you find something in another location and the seller doesn’t offer shipping, message them and ask if they’d be willing to ship! If they want to sell their item and you’re willing to pay for shipping, they just might help you out.

Consider Shipping

By default, Facebook Marketplace shows you items available locally and to ship. You can change to one or the other in the filters.

Shipping carries slightly more risk that buying locally because you can’t see the item before purchase. And of course, you have to pay shipping. But thankfully, Facebook has created a rating system for sellers. Ensure you always read the seller reviews before buying.

Take The Surveys

Every once in a while, Facebook will show you items and ask you whether you like them. You can select an “X” or a checkmark to signify “No” and “Yes” respectively. Take these surveys! This is Facebook fine-tuning its algorithm so that it can show you items more relevant to you!

Save Items

Facebook is always watching, but when it comes to Marketplace it’s actually a good thing! When you see something you like, Save it! This tells Marketplace about your style, your likes, and the more the algorithm gets to know you, the more relevant your search results will be.

For example, if I type “French” into Craigslist, it shows me results from every category, French bulldogs to French door refrigerators. Craigslist’s only search criteria is the word “French” that I typed in.

On the other hand, Facebook is smarter and knows I’m not interested in refrigerators or dogs (okay, I really am interested in dogs but three’s a crowd). When I type “French” into Facebook Marketplace, I see results tailored to my previous search history and saves so they are relevant to me personally, like antique furniture, artwork, and decor.

Finding the Perfect Item

Don’t Delay

If you see something you like, message the seller right away! Great items can be sold within minutes, so if you wait to run and measure your space or talk to your significant other, it might be gone! At the very least, message to say you’re interested just to ensure you’re first in line!

Send a Personable Message

By default, Facebook Marketplace gives you preset messages that you can choose to send. Don’t use them.

Instead, send a personal message so that you sound like a nice buyer instead of a potential scammer. “Hi, [insert name]! I love the [item] and am interested. Is it still available?”

Get the Details

Be sure to ask any questions you have that haven’t been answered in the listing, but before asking questions, make sure you’ve thoroughly read the listing and looked at the pictures. Nothing is more annoying to a Seller than when a Buyer asks for dimensions and there’s right there in the item description!

Ask About Payment Options

The more types of payment you’re willing to use, the easier you are for a Seller to work with. Once upon a time, people preferred cash, but these days, electronic options like Venmo, PayPal and Zelle are popular. PayPal does offer some protection in case there’s a problem with the sale, so that’s a great option if you’re concerned.

Offer a Deposit for a Hold

If you can’t make it for a few days to pick up your item, consider offering the Seller a deposit to hold the item for you. Most Sellers are eager to get rid of their items, so if they have to wait days for you to pick up there’s a chance you might change your mind or flake. In these cases, offer a deposit so they know you’re serious.

Use Caution When Negotiating

People selling on Marketplace are not professional retailers; therefore, they are not accustomed to negotiating when it comes to pricing.  If you see something that is exactly what you want and the price is reasonable, buy it.  

If the listing is newly listed, chances are you aren’t the only one contacting the seller and if you start out offering a lower price, you might just put yourself out of the running!  Plus, sometimes Sellers get offended and won’t sell to you based on principle, even if you make a full-price offer later!  Best not to make the seller mad.  

Of course, if you truly feel something is overpriced and you’re willing to lose it at its current price, make an offer!  This is especially true if a listing has become stale {usually a week or more old}.

Be Clear with Your Communication

Try to be crystal clear with your communication so as not to leave a Seller hanging or wondering what you want. If a Seller is confused or has to wait to long to hear back from you, chances are they’ll move on to another person. So, if you want to purchase an item, say “I’d like to buy [item] when is a convenient time for me to pick it up?”

When making arrangements for pickup for large items, make sure you ask the Seller to ensure the item will be out front or in the garage when you arrive. You do not want to have to enter someone’s house.

Picking Up Your Item

Bring Exact Change

If paying cash, bring exact change. The Seller is not a cashier and is not expecting to make change for you.

See Before you Buy

I made this mistake once and will never make it again! Learn from my mistake! Always see the item before you hand over payment when buying in-person. You’ll find most local sellers are pretty honest and accurate with their descriptions, but there are a few who are willing to be shady.

Don’t Feel Pressured

Sometimes people feel pressured to buy because there’s a rapor with the Seller and you’ve been communicating, but if it’s not what you want once you see the item, let the Seller know. Simply politely tell them that it won’t work out after all and thank them for their time.

Don’t Flake!

I can’t tell you how much flakey people annoy me. Don’t tell me you’re coming and then text me an hour before to tell me your truck sob story, only to flake again when we reschedule! I’m onto you, there never was a truck problem! I actually block anyone that flakes on me from ever seeing my items for sale so that I don’t ever risk having to deal with them again.

If you make arrangements to pick up an item, message the seller when you’re on your way, give them an ETA, and message when you arrive. If you really do need to reschedule, let the seller know as soon as possible and pick a new time/date. But don’t flake on that second time!

Don’t be that person!

Use Google Earth and Stay Safe

If you’re picking up something big and need to rent a truck, or you live in an area where certain parts might not be safe to visit alone, check Google Earth to get a detailed look at where you’ll be going for pickup.  You might find that the streets are too narrow for a truck or the house sits atop a big hill!  Best to know exactly what the pickup situation will be before you head out.

Many towns now have local meeting spots specifically for these types of transactions so try to meet somewhere you know you’ll be safe. And if you have to go to their house, don’t go alone and don’t go inside.

Have you found some great things when buying on Facebook Marketplace? I’d love to hear!

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