5 Facebook Marketplace Buying Tips You May Not Know About

Fill your home with discounted finds from Facebook Marketplace. This pro shares tips and tricks for getting the best deals.

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Photo: Vincent Besnault/Getty Images

Facebook Marketplace may not be the first service you think of when it's time to start shopping 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 stylishly furnish their home while staying within a reasonable budget and soon found Facebook Marketplace. Mundo says she found pieces with a lot of character and the desired aesthetic that also fit her budget. At first, Mundo used FB Marketplace to stock her own home, but her success led her to develop a business (a side-hustle, if you will) styling homes for friends and family in her free time.

Mundo was drawn to Facebook Marketplace for its effective search function and accessibility: She already had the Facebook app installed, and switching between her feed and Marketplace was as easy as clicking on the page. "I could tune in during my lunch break and make a quick search, and that would be it," Mundo 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," Mundo says. She didn't have to wait for extended periods (in most cases) for a response to a bid or a request for more information; communication moved more quickly than it may on other buying and selling sites.

Want to test Facebook Marketplace for yourself? Mundo shares 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. This avoids becoming overwhelmed and prevents the possibility of fielding several conversations about different items at the same time.

2. Join a Group

In her journey, Mundo quickly discovered specialized buying and selling Facebook groups focused on a particular category, such as hardwood furniture or location. Joining these groups often requires 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, vs. 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 occasionally does)—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, Mundo says, and seeing an item in person can help you decide if it's a good purchase—or not. If it's a larger, more expensive piece, Mundo recommends checking the quality: 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 you should always put safety first: Make sure someone knows where you will be and with whom you will be meeting. If you're nervous about going alone, take someone with you.

4. Try to Negotiate

It may not come naturally to you, but negotiating the price of an item can earn you an even bigger 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. 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 far, far less than requested. (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 more cash.

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. (Mundo got 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," Mundo says. "And at half, if not a quarter, of the price."

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

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