What’s your best second hand find and where did you get it? It’s no secret that searching for and buying secondhand furniture is a passion of mine, and Facebook Marketplace is one of my favorite ways to do that. I think half the things in my house have come from FB Marketplace. My Restoration Hardware canopy bed, side tables, coffee table, office and dining chairs, lamps, mirrors, artwork…all second hand. Or third hand? Maybe even fourth? I love a good deal as much as I love finding unique or antique pieces you can’t just find anywhere else!
But let’s be honest, my Marketplace didn’t always show me the good stuff. Over time I’ve “trained” my Marketplace algorithm to show me things I’d want to see and weed out the things I wouldn’t want to see. Here are a few tips for finding what you want and getting the best price!
Search outside your area.
This is an important one! So many people limit their search to their immediate area, which will then limit the inventory you’re able to see. The chances of someone selling the exact furniture piece you’re looking for is higher when you expand your area. This is super helpful if you’re looking for something extremely specific! I got my dream Restoration Hardware canopy bed for a fraction of the price and it was all the way in Texas! And then to get the item home you can either go pick it up yourself, or, higher movers. We like to use independent movers to help us move items from other cities/states and that’s how we got the bed from Texas to South Carolina.
“Hide” listings that are not relevant to you.
You have to “train” your Marketplace in order for it to start showing you the good stuff. By hiding listings you don’t like, FB will show you less of them in the future.
Save everything that catches your eye.
This works the same way as the tip above. By saving listings, you’re telling the algorithm what you like to see. Then after a little while it will start showing you more things you are interested in or align with your style. So if you see something you like style-wise, save the listing even if you aren’t planning on buying it.
Cash App, Venmo and PayPal are your friends.
Some people are “cash only,” but I prefer paying electronically. With smaller, less expensive items cash can be easy. But this tip is especially true for large items. This way I have a record of payment and I am not traveling with lots of cash.
Start with specific search keywords.
Start by searching for exactly what you are looking for. I’ll use my find of my Visual Comfort Sconces as an example. When I bought them, they were listed as “brass wall lights.”
Specific – “Visual Comfort Light Fixture”
Not finding it? Then go more broad – “Brass Light Fixture”
Still no luck? Go even more broad: “Chandelier”
It helps to think like any type of seller on a range from design-minded to just-wants-it-gone. Someone who isn’t design-minded will try to be specific and they’ll get in the general ballpark, like “brass wall lights,” but they won’t necessarily know the name or exact style of the item. Or sometimes a seller will know exactly what they are selling, but will be less specific in order to get more eyes on it from buyers who aren’t design-minded. When it comes to searching, it’s just best to cover all your bases.
Choose “Shipping and Local.”
Do this for small items that are easy and cost effective to ship! That way your search is opened up to anywhere!
Always take a friend!
If you’re picking items up, ALWAYS take a friend. And this is for multiple reasons. Number one is safety. For home furnishings, odds are you’ll be going to someone’s house. More specifically, a stranger’s house. Take someone with you.
Number two is for an extra set of hands. Furniture is heavy and you will probably need help getting it into your vehicle. You don’t know if the seller will be able to help you lift it, so having a friend there to help is a great idea. But most importantly, for safety reasons!
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS!!!
If it’s too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is. This is where doing your research comes in handy. If you know how much a velvet chair you’ve been eyeing costs and you see one listed for exponentially cheaper than the rest with only one picture and limited info, it’s probably a good idea to pass on it. Because either it’s not in the condition the pictures show or it doesn’t exist. I’m not saying you won’t find a really good deal on something. The listing could be legit, so if you do think it’s real, ask to see more pictures and for more information. If they refuse or don’t respond, pass on it.
Getting the hang of FB Marketplace takes a little bit of time and patience. Mostly because you have to train it to work for you in the way you want it to. But once you do, it’s a treasure trove of unique finds. Don’t get discouraged, the right pieces will find you!