Recently, I’ve posted several of my Facebook Marketplace finds on Instagram which always leads to the question “How do you find the good stuff??”. I’m not sure there’s any magic to my method but I’m here to offer a few tips and insights after spending the last several months shopping Marketplace like a madwoman. I’m answering your most-asked questions and sharing some of my favorite thrifted finds.
What’s your very best tip for shopping Facebook Marketplace?
How do use search terms to find the best stuff?
I usually just shop by category (i.e., furniture, home decor, etc.) but if I do use a search term, I’ve found it’s best to keep it very general. You have to remember that a lot of sellers don’t scour design blogs and Pinterest in their free time, have never heard of “chinoiserie” or “ikat”, and are just trying to get stuff out of their houses. (You’ll usually get the best deals when people don’t know the treasures they have!) I’ve seen upholstered armchairs listed as “cloth seats”, for example. . .
I recently spent a month or more looking for a TV stand for upstairs. Pieces like that can be a little trickier because people call them so many different things. In that case, I tried to come up with any possible way a seller might have listed their item (TV cabinet, TV stand, TV console, media stand, credenza, sideboard). I’m happy to report I finally found “the one.”
One additional note about all of this: The Facebook algorithm could be your friend (it’ll show you lots of similar items once you click on one listing) or it can be your enemy, showing you more than you ever wanted to see. As far as I know, there’s still no way to reset this. Even if I clear my search history, the algorithm still seems to be in effect.
Is there a way to “favorite” a good seller or avoid a bad one?
How often do you suggest checking new listings?
Very often. Sometimes 3-4 times a day. Okay, that’s probably underestimating. If I’m really on the hunt, I may check 10-15 times a day. You just never know. . .
Do you always try to negotiate the price?
Not always. I don’t mess with offers if I know it’s a good price and that I definitely want it. Time is of the essence! Sellers want to work with the easiest buyers so if you find the right piece, jump on it. That being said, most sellers are expecting some negotiation so it’s definitely not rude to ask. If I’m on the fence about an item, I may send an offer and just see what happens.
Any other advice for communicating with sellers?
I know from experience that buyers can be shady. Some are very enthusiastic at first and then completely drop off the radar. To let a seller know I’m serious, I usually include my phone number in my messages once I’ve made initial communication with them. I feel like it makes me more “legit” and sometimes, it’s easier to just text each other.
How far would you drive for a purchase?
I’m fortunate to live near a bigger city so I normally haven’t had to drive more than 30 minutes for any pick up. Over Christmas, I did drive an hour and a half to pick up a dresser because I felt it was unique enough to make it worth the drive and honestly, I needed to get out of the house for a minute. . . . :) Also–you can set the maximum mile radius for the listings you want to see.
Do you ever sell pieces online or just buy?
I very rarely sell. I’ve done it a few times but we had a weird Craigslist transaction several years ago and it made me a little weary of selling anything that requires someone coming to our house. The guy showed up really late (almost 10 pm) and would not leave our house. (He didn’t even end up buying anything.) It was strange.
On the flip side, I always take someone with me to pick up. Please do this.
What has been your best find so far?
I’m going to have to give it to this chinoiserie secretary I found a month or so ago. I saw it listed and contacted the seller immediately. She told me it had just sold. Fast forward three weeks later and I saw it again so I reached out to her just to double check. Lucky for me, the buyer never showed up and the seller was ready to move it out. I paid a whopping $75 and Venmo’d her immediately. My husband and son were a little less thrilled when they had to haul it home and upstairs. . .
I’m sharing a quick video of some of my favorite thrifted finds on Instagram today. What’s the best thing you’ve ever found for your home by thrifting online? Also, feel free to add any other Marketplace tips in the comments below!