It’s the marketplace for Facebook.
Our home is nowhere near completely furnished, and my go-to for finding used and new quality furniture for our home was the Facebook Marketplace.
“I notice “ugh” sometimes. You’re so fortunate that you found that! In the marketplace, I never find something good, and then try a little more and discover that they don’t use MP the way they should be.
So that’s what started the post today. I felt the need to raise awareness about how to shop MP because I really believe that if you use it correctly, it can be a treasure trove.
When browsing the world’s largest and best virtual garage sales, these are my top tips.
01. Patience and constancy
This one is tough for me because, uh… I have no patience.
I’m stubborn, however.
I’m not saying to be a pain in the ass by persistence when you’re asking someone if you can buy their products. I mean, with your quest, be persistent. But I suppose you can send two messages if you want to let someone know that you are very* serious about buying their products. But no more than two of them at a time before they answer… It’s like dating.
My greatest tip is every ~2-3 hours to update the marketplace.
This sounds time-consuming, but all I do is refresh myself and see what pops up. It’s like an Instagram refresher.
I found that the FB algorithm recognizes the things I’ve been searching for more than once, so if I’ve been searching for a green velvet chair and hit refresh, results would appear for green velvet chairs (as long as people identify it correctly and not just post it with the word “chair,” because it’s almost impossible to find them).
I hit refresh sometimes and a hot item pops up for an incredible price, and I was lucky enough to catch it. Like the Milo Baughman burl table I snagged the other night in Greenwich CT:
Bonus tip: On Saturdays and Sundays, people usually go through their things and I find new items popping up every few minutes when I’m always refreshing on the weekends.
Because it’s a hot item that’s priced lower than it should be, I always wonder if in a really nice way) they can do better at the price. This doesn’t mean low-ball sellers, but I ask (again, politely) if I do my research and find that a similar item is going to be a little cheaper if they can do better with the price.
On the opposite, if I see anything that I really like and it’s already fairly priced, I’m going to give the seller a little more than they’re asking for so they know I’m serious. I’ll also tell them if I have time to pick up ASAP and pay cash if I have time.
Remember… please be polite and generous.
03. Verify that a vendor has other things for sale
Click on the seller’s name in the actual item post if you’re interested in an item, and a list of other products that they have for sale will appear.
I usually browse through to see if they have anything else that I’m interested in, and I’ve arranged a few times to pick up 2+ things at a time from them. And even if I see a high-end product that I’m not interested in I can always click on its name to see what else they sell that might interest me.
04. In a big and small radius, search
I have yet to find out the marketplace algorithm because I will often look for “vintage velvet chairs” within a 60-mile radius and I don’t see many choices, and then I’m going to limit the search to 20 miles and come up with so many more. I didn’t quite find out why it was, but I just wanted to assume that you were meant to be looking close and far (as far as you would be able to drive).
I ask myself what is the farthest I would be able to move (usually ~60 miles) if I’m looking for a larger item like a chair. I probably wouldn’t drive any further than ~25 miles if it was a smaller object, like a lamp.
When I drive to pick up anything 30+ minutes away, another thing I do is look for other things in that area to see if there is something worth picking up while I’m there. This is tricky as plans need to match when you’re picking up the original item you drove there for.
Like the other night, I drove 1 hour to Greenwich, CT, and I kept looking for Greenwich for two days before driving there to see if there was anything else worth picking up while I was picking up the Milo table.
I learned one thing, but during the time I was there, that person wasn’t available. A shot was worth it!
05. Keywords are essential words.
Most people don’t know how to explain the item they sell properly, which means that for your search words you need to get creative. Think of all the ways to explain what you’re searching for and check every 2-3 hours using those words.
I’ve searched for “burl chest” countless times and 5-10 things turn up, but then I’ll search for “vintage wood chest” and show up 30+ burl bits.
I keep a list of keywords for things that I’m looking for and use that list every few hours to search quickly. There’s a really long list, but here are some examples:
- Antique mahogany chest
- Modern velvet chairs
- Linen chairs
- Brass lamps
- Vintage oil painting
- English roll arm (insert chair or sofa)
- Natural area rugs
- Brass chandelier
I use variants of those keywords occasionally that include brand names, colors, textures, and designs (i.e. modern green dining chairs, CB2 chairs, or velvet chairs). The use of different and wider keywords means further sorting, but in the rough, there could very well be a gem. Several times it has happened to me!
06. Understanding what consistency looks like
We all know about new brands; West Elm, Anthropologie, CB2, etc., but there are great brands of furniture that have been around for a long time that might have never been heard of by some people.
Sellers often may not understand what furniture brand they sell, but you will be able to identify a brand based on the design and features of that product in time, and the seller does not know what brand it is. For obvious reasons, you should also keep an eye on what’s quality and what’s cheap.
These are a couple of the labels that I always see when scrolling MP, and I think they are high-end (aka they make quality furniture):
- Ethan Allen (I come across this brand the most)
- Century Furniture
- Milo Baughman
- Mitchell Gold
Look, if I had a new Ikea chair, I’d only go to Ikea because it’s cheap to start with so I definitely wouldn’t buy the MP Ikea chair. Instead for a great price, I’d rather purchase a quality piece of furniture that will stand the test of time.
07. Your house will not be furnished immediately,
If you haven’t already noticed, it takes time to browse and purchase MP items. Over the next few months, I don’t intend to be able to furnish our house… let alone within the next year.
There’ll be days when every few hours I’m way too busy to press refresh and there will be times when in one week I get lucky and find a few items. You’re depending on someone else to post what you’re looking for. This is not Wayfair. But you better run all over it when they do.
Only bear in mind… patience and persistence.
08. Safely enable… People Stalk.
This is more of a mysterious tip, but part of the reason I love marketplace over craigslist is how you can stalk the seller. I don’t feel the need to bring my husband with me if the seller is a woman, has pictures of her children, and has real feedback from real people on her page and we’re jiving through a messenger. If not everything checks out either, but I’m *pretty* sure it’s okay, I’ll bring him.
Looking for just about any LOL-worthy finds from the FB marketplace? Check out in my IG bio my “FB Marketplace” story highlight.
Have you ever previously used the FB marketplace? I would love to learn about your discoveries. Even if you haven’t, I hope you have helped!