I’ve always used Facebook Marketplace, for both buying and selling, but COVID-19 lockdown kicked it into overdrive—OF COURSE my daughter had the growth spurt of her life when stores were closed and deliveries were slow. Great! So I did a lot of no-contact porch pickups to get her new clothes and shoes. And then because we were home all the time for months on end, I started getting more things for the house and filling in some gaps we never took care of when we moved in last year.
My dudes, I’ve become a Facebook Marketplace expert.
As I shared my finds on Instagram this summer, I got a lot of questions about HOW I scored everything. So here you go! My top 7 tips for finding the best deals on Facebook Marketplace:
1. Check often. This is the most important one. Think of Facebook Marketplace like any other social media: for the algorithm to work, you have to use it. Make it part of your routine; after you scroll through Pinterest, hop onto Marketplace for a couple of minutes. Even if you’re not looking for anything in particular, click around and see what’s new. This helps the algorithm learn what you want—and mine is eerily perfect now, so it really does work. When I open Marketplace, I see a bunch of mid century furniture, toys for my daughter, and craft supplies. It knows! And it saves me time.
2. Use various search terms. Maybe you’re looking for a coffee table. Obviously you’d search for “coffee table” but also try “cocktail table,” “occasional table,” and even plain old “table.” You never know what people are going to call things. For a specific style, throw in some adjectives like “mid century” or “farmhouse.” If you’re in the market for a DIY project, a lot of people include “project” in their listing titles.
3. Broaden your search area. Facebook Marketplace has a default area that’s either 5 or 7 miles from your location (it’s been so long since I changed mine that I don’t remember!). Even adding an additional mile will bring more products into your feed, but if you’re looking for something really special or rare, you might be willing to take a drive. Recently, I drove half an hour each way (in Chicago traffic that’s only about 10 miles) to get a pair of chairs for $30 TOTAL. Here’s one in my office:
If I had kept the default settings, I would’ve missed out on a STEAL.
4. Don’t worry about bothering the seller. Some people have told me they feel weird reaching out with a question, but sellers who list items expect some communication before making a sale. So if you need to know something, fire away. It’s better to ask and rule out an item ahead of time than to arrive for pickup and realize it’s not going to work.
5. Respond promptly. Similarly, if you’re talking to a seller about an item, don’t leave them hanging. Not only is that annoying from their perspective (ask me how I know) but depending on the listing, there might be several other people who are interested. If one person is taking a long time to respond, the seller might move on to someone else. I got a pair of tables for the basement recently and it was a multiple-interested-buyers situation—but I didn’t know that until the seller mentioned it in passing after we agreed on a pickup time! Had I not been paying attention to my phone, I probably would’ve missed my chance. And that would’ve been a bummer because look at how cute this is:
6. Be willing to pick up the same day. The best deals go fast and some sellers do prioritize a quick pickup. I only browse seriously when I’m available to go get a purchase. I’ve been disappointed before and told after the fact that my coming in the evening is off the table because somebody else was willing to go RIGHT THEN. It does happen. If you really love an item but aren’t available because of work, kids, whatever, be up front about it in your first message. I’ve encountered sellers who are flexible and willing to wait, but just know that not everyone is.
7. Be polite. Obvious to most, but just in case somebody needs a reminder, here you go.
As far as what I’ve purchased on Marketplace, here’s what I’ve gotten on there in the last four months: curtain panels for the front room, a pair of cane-back chairs, some toys, a pair of side tables, a kid-sized Adirondack chair, two toddler bikes because my daughter is picky and wouldn’t ride the first one, decorative boxes, a mountain of craft supplies, and an IKEA Flisat table with two chairs. Not to mention all of the 3T clothes I had to buy in April. Truly, if you’re not giving Marketplace a fair shake, you might be missing out.
Do you have any tips to add? What’s the best thing you’ve bought on Facebook?