The last time someone woke up and said, “I can’t wait to stumble through all the websites and 2nd hand stores blindly in search of a lightly used piece of furniture,” was literally never. Every marketplace/store has different standards for what they will sell. Photos on Craigslist are never accurate, and the description online never have the right info. DON’T PANIC YET. We’ve tracked down some of the best tips for buying used furniture online and at second hand stores:
- Know exactly what you are looking for
- Do Plenty Of Research
- Be Picky
- Furniture to avoid
- Pay attention to brand names
- Ask for a test drive
- Get it home
Know Exactly What You're Looking For
Before you lay eyes on any furniture, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to buy. Starting with laser focus will help you avoid any unnecessary buys or wasted time wondering if you need an antique, all leather wingback chair that looks like it came straight out of a villain’s lair. It’s easy to complicate this process, but keep it simple. Do yourself a favor and write down a specific list of features you want from the piece you will buy. This list should have 4-5 bullet points on it to help define and refine your search.
Do Plenty of Research
The good news when buying used furniture is there’s a lot to choose from. Between all of the marketplace apps, Craigslist, and local thrift stores, you’ve got plenty of options. Online postings change daily so if you don’t find something right away you should check back regularly. Set an alarm on your phone and make it a habit to check once daily until you come across something worth seeing face-to-face.
If thrift stores and online marketplaces aren’t working out for you, try to get creative and look up local yard sales or estate sales. Estate sales are a great place to find deals and they often have high end pieces available. Check out estatesales.net to find upcoming events in your area.
If you need some more info on estate sales, check out our helpful guide on how they work.
Now is not the time to lower your standards! Look back at your list of qualities and features you want in a piece and stick to your guns. If it is made of wood, it’s always a good sign if it is solid wood rather than composite or particle board. Even a piece that is solid wood with a few scratches or imperfections is better in the long run. Nothing a quick refinish can’t handle.
If the furniture you’re looking at has cushions or is upholstered, make sure to expect it very closely for bed bugs. Bring a flashlight, magnifying glass, and something to scrape the surface of the furniture for a thorough investigation. If there is any sign of bed bugs or infestation in the cushioning, get out of there as fast as you can. There is no cheap way to fully get rid of them and is definitely not worth another second of your time.
Furniture to avoid
Buying furniture second hand can save you money. But if you are in the market for any of the following pieces or notice these features, it’s a good idea to skip and buy new:
- Upholstered furniture with extreme wear and tear
- Furniture that smells
- Any item with missing pieces (the manufacturer may no longer make the replacement pieces)
Pay Attention to brand names
The main mission for buying used furniture is to save money and get great value. The easiest way to check the quality of a piece is to find out who made it. Search for tags and labels so you can gain some context for how much it was worth when it was bought new. A quick google search of the brand and model name will give you a big advantage in the decision making process. If you can’t see a tag or label, it’s worth pestering the seller to find out the brand.
ask for a test drive
The right angle or lighting can make any piece of furniture look comfortable. This means your potential purchase needs to pass the could-I-accidentally-fall-asleep-on-this-thing? test. What we mean to say is be critical and see if the piece in question lives up to your standards of comfort and practicality. Ask yourself if the item will improve your current furniture collection. The last thing you want is to buy something and finding out later it’s not all that and a bag of chips.
If you’re buying from Facebook Marketplace or peer-to-peer selling app, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Often, sellers want to move their item fast. This means if they have an interested buyer they are willing to lower the price to secure a buyer and save themselves the hassle of keeping it posted. It never hurts to see how low the seller will go. There is nothing better than buying a piece you really love lower than the list price. It somehow adds to the comfy-factor of any couch or chair.
Get It Home
You did your research, you didn’t compromise, found the perfect piece, tested it out, even negotiated the price down a bit, but now you have to get your new armoire home. Not gonna happen in your Camry. We’ve got the perfect solution: Use Bungii.
Bungii is an on-demand delivery app that will connect you with a local, certified driver with a pickup truck in your area. Bungii can help you get your new purchase home faster and more convenient than other rental services. You can download the app and receive an estimate instantly.
There are dangers of buying used furniture, but following our best tips for buying used furniture will make your experience, dare I say, Fun? It could happen.