This pro filled her new home with discounted finds from Facebook Marketplace—and she’s sharing her tips and tricks to getting the best deals.

By Lauren Phillips
July 12, 2018
Vincent Besnault/Getty Images

Facebook Marketplace may not be the first service you think of when it’s time to start shopping around for a new couch or rug, but maybe it should be.

When Kansas City–based Katie Mundo moved into her first home with her husband, she quickly realized that furnishing a new home was a huge (and expensive) undertaking.

“My husband and I were young professionals. We weren’t in a position yet to be spending a ton of money on furniture,” Mundo says.

Mundo hoped to furnish their home stylishly, while staying within a reasonable budget, and soon found Facebook Marketplace. There, she says, she found pieces that had a lot of character and the aesthetic she was looking for but also fit her budget. At first, Mundo used FB Marketplace to stock her own home, but her success there led her to develop a business (a side-hustle, if you will, dubbed Highwood Home) styling homes for friends and family in her free time and on weekends.

Related: 8 Genius Tricks to Online Furniture Shopping With No Regrets

Mundo was drawn to Facebook Marketplace for its effective search function and its accessibility: She already had the Facebook app on her phone, and switching between her feed and Marketplace was as easy as clicking to the page. “I could tune in during my lunch break and make a quick search, and that would be it,” she says. “It’s much easier to use than others out there.”

Another bonus? The fact that almost everyone is constantly plugged into Facebook. “Everyone’s on social media on a daily basis,” she says. She didn’t have to wait for extended periods of time (in most cases) to get a response to a bid or a request for more information; communication moved more quickly than it may on other buying and selling sites.

Interested in testing out Facebook Marketplace for yourself? Mundo shared her top tips for getting a great deal, finding quality items, and more:

1. Narrow Your Search

“When I first started using the platform, I had specific pieces in mind,” Mundo says. “I had pieces that I had seen in retail stores in mind, certain styles or fabrics or colors, that I was really looking to replicate. I think that it can become overwhelming if you don’t have a specific list of items you’re looking for.”

Mundo suggests making a list to narrow your search to a small number of items at a time, to avoid this overwhelmed feeling, and to prevent the possibility of fielding several different conversations about different items at the same time.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Buying and Selling Furniture Online

2. Join a Group

In her Facebook Marketplace journey, Mundo quickly discovered specialized buying and selling Facebook groups that were focused on a particular category, such as hardwood furniture, or location. Joining these groups often requires requesting permission, but they can provide special access to for-sale items or deals.

“You’re not just searching in the feature and being connected with people who are near your location,” Mundo says. “You’re also joining a community. You become more of a part of the smaller community, versus the massive search feature on Marketplace.”

If you plan to use Facebook Marketplace often, either for a side business like Mundo’s, for a total home makeover, or even to flip furniture and resell it (something else Mundo does on occasion), specialized buying and selling groups may offer access you couldn’t get otherwise.

3. Make a Visit

“If you find something [you like] and you’re super anxious to get it, or maybe you’re slightly interested and you think it’s a really good price but you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to message the person and set up an appointment or a time when you can go look at the piece,” Mundo says.

Expressing interest doesn’t mean you’ve committed to making a purchase, she says, and seeing an item in person can help you decide if it’s a good purchase—or if it’s not. If it’s a larger, more expensive piece, Mundo recommends checking on the quality of it: Pulling out drawers on a dresser, checking that all the hardware is there, making sure wood isn’t split, etc. And if you’re still interested in a slightly damaged piece, pointing out that damage could help you negotiate a lower price.

Mundo notes, though, that you should always put safety first: Make sure someone knows where you will be and who you will be meeting with, and if you’re nervous about going alone, take someone with you.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

It may not come naturally to you, but negotiating the price of an item can earn you an even larger discount, especially if the piece needs a little TLC. “The people who are listing their items are, in most cases, wanting to get rid of them,” Mundo says. This means they may be willing to negotiate if it means an earlier pick-up.

That doesn’t mean you can ask someone if they’ll accept a price that’s far, far less than what they asked for, though. (This is particularly important if you’re negotiating with members of a buying and selling group that you’ll be in communication with often.)

“You always want to be polite,” Mundo says. “Don’t be too aggressive when you’re negotiating. We’re all people on there, looking for a bargain or a profit, so you want to be respectful and polite. But, in most cases, depending on the cost of the piece, you could maybe get a 10 to 20 percent discount on the original list price.”

Just be prepared to put a little work into a piece. If you get an antique dresser for a great price, it may need a little work, like a paint job or new hardware. If you don’t want any DIY work, be prepared to cough up a little more cash.

Related: The 13 Best Spots to Buy Affordable Home Décor Online

5. Be Persistent

Mundo understands that constantly searching and bidding on items can be exhausting, but if you eventually get the piece you’ve been looking for, it can be worth it. (She managed to get a high-end chair, worth thousands of dollars, on Facebook Marketplace for around $200.)

“If you keep with the search, you could really find an item that is exactly what you were looking for,” she says. “And at half, if not a quarter, of the price.”

Facebook Marketplace can be found both on the Facebook website and on the app; in the menu, look for the storefront icon and click to see items for sale in your area.