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The Ultimate Guide to Buying on Facebook Marketplace

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Buying on Facebook Marketplace makes is like thrift shopping from your couch. You can find literally anything for sale. I’ve purchased furniture, clothing, power tools, children’s toys and even houseplants through Facebook Marketplace!

I love secondhand shopping and buying on Facebook Marketplace makes it super easy to find great items that fit within my budget. After countless transactions through Facebook Marketplace I’ve learned the best ways to get my messages seen by sellers and score awesome items at awesome prices.

Today I’m sharing all those lessons with you in my Ultimate Guide to Buying on Facebook Marketplace! 

The Ultimate Guide for Buying on Facebook Marketplace

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facebook marketplace the ultimate guide how to score the best stuff at the best price

Tips for Messaging with Facebook Marketplace Sellers

The way that you message a seller when buying on Facebook Marketplace can make a big difference in whether the seller decides to sell to you. Often times sellers receive many messages in a short amount of time after listing an item. Don’t let your message get passed over!

Write your own message - don’t use the automated messages

One way to let a seller know that you are serious about wanting to purchase an item is to start the conversation with your own message. I don’t recommend using the generic messages that Facebook messenger automatically populates. Instead, write your own message letting the seller know that you are interested. 

“Hi, I’m interested in the _____ you’re selling. I can pick up today.”

“Good morning, I’d like to purchase the _____ you have listed. Are you available tomorrow for pick up?”

Telling the seller right away that you can pick up soon makes you an attractive buyer. Usually sellers are trying to get rid of items quickly. After you have initiated the conversation and gotten a response you can start asking questions about the item.

Respond to messages quickly

Sellers on Facebook Marketplace are often trying to get rid of items quickly. Responding quickly to messages lets the seller know that you are serious about purchasing and that you are reliable. If you wait too long to respond to a message the seller may move on to the next interested person. I recommend responding to messages as promptly as possible.

Also, as a side note, if you are no longer interested in an item tell the seller! It’s just the polite thing to do so that the seller can move on to the next interested person instead of waiting for your response. Send a quick, simple message like, “Sorry, but I’ve changed my mind. Good luck with your sale!” 

Marketplace Finds
I snatched this $200 NEW child carrier off of Facebook Marketplace the day before we left for vacation for only $15!

Schedule Pick up Promptly

By now you know that the best way to get your name at the top of a seller’s list is to be quick and intentional with your messaging. The same goes for scheduling a pick up time. 

I like to offer the seller 2 times for pick up and let them pick the one that works best for them. This isn’t necessary, but it usually moves the conversation along faster. For example I might send a message like, “I can pick up either this evening or tomorrow before 2pm. Is there a time that works best for you?” Then, I’ll schedule an exact time based on the seller’s response. 

Often sellers on Facebook Marketplace are wary to hold items for more than a couple days. This is because many times during that holding period people will change their minds, leaving the seller without a buyer. I recommend scheduling pick up for the soonest time you are available. I always try to schedule pick up for the same day or the following day if I can. 

I have also had the experience where I have scheduled pick up for an item several days after the initial messaging. Then, on the day of pick up I messaged the seller to confirm the pick up time and location only to find out that they had sold the item to someone else. I was so annoyed! So to avoid that experience again I try to schedule pick up for as soon as possible.

Questions to Ask When Buying on Facebook Marketplace

Sometimes a seller will post every detail of what their are selling in their sales post. This makes buying on Facebook Marketplace a walk in the park! But, more often sellers just put the basics or no information at all in the post description. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Before committing to buying a piece, make sure it is the size, quality and price that you are looking for. Especially ask questions if the piece is expensive or if it is located far away from you. It is your responsibility (not the seller’s) to make sure you are buying something that is a quality and price you are comfortable with.

Dimensions

If you are purchasing a piece of furniture and the dimensions are important to you, be sure to ask about the size of the piece! Don’t just assume that it will be a perfect fit for the spot you are picturing it in your home. Ask about length, height and width. 

If the seller says they don’t have a tape measure or can’t give you the dimensions, you still have some options for determining the size. You could ask them to compare it something else. For example, “Do you think the table is wider than a normal doorway?” 

Or, you could ask for a photo with something else for size comparison. “Could you take a picture of the painting next to a pen so I can get an idea of the size?” Or, you can just bring a tape measure with you to purchase to take measurements yourself and make a final decision.

Quality

A seller should disclose any imperfections with potential buyers, but that doesn’t always happen. It is still your responsibility to ask questions about the quality of a piece and inspect it before making a purchase. 

Usually a general question like, “Is there anything wrong with it?” is enough. If a seller says yes there is damage it is totally reasonable to ask for pictures of the damage before committing to purchasing an item.

Here are some more specific questions you can ask:

  • Are there any rips or snags?
  • Is there any water damage?
  • Does this come from a smoke-free home?
  • Were pets allowed on this? (especially for couches and other furniture)
  • Are there any stains?
  • Does it work? (for things that plug in or take batteries)
  • Has it been professionally cleaned? (formal wear)

Other questions you may want to ask to determine the quality of the item are:

  • How old is it?
  • Are you the only owner?
  • Where did you purchase it?

I don’t recommend asking all of these questions to a single seller. Asking too many questions may turn off the seller. But, if the item you’re trying to purchase is expensive it is totally reasonable to ask lots of questions. 

I recommend limiting your questions to about 3 and then inspecting the item in person before you purchase it. This is just a recommendation. Sometimes you may need to ask more than 3 questions. Other times you might not need to ask any questions. Use your best judgement and remember that it is your responsibility to make sure the item is in an acceptable condition before you purchase it.

Marketplace Finds
I have a big supply of paint and stain that I've picked up completely free from Facebook Marketplace!

Negotiating Price when Buying on Facebook Marketplace

A great thing about buying on Facebook Marketplace is that often prices are negotiable. For many people it is easier to negotiate price over messaging than it is in person. I always decide on a price with the seller through messaging before setting up a time to purchase an item. I recommend that you do the same so that both you and the seller are coming to the scheduled pick up with the same expectations.

To negotiate a price you can ask the seller, “Is the price negotiable?” or you can just message them with your offer. For example, “Will you take $20 for this item?” I prefer to just message with the offer, because I like to move things along quickly.

The seller might say yes or no or respond with a counter offer. It’s up to you if you want to accept the counter offer or try to keep bartering. 

When I am buying through Facebook Marketplace I ALWAYS try to negotiate price. The worst that can happen is that the seller says no. The best that can happen is that I save a little more money.

I recommend making an offer for a little bit below what you actually want to pay. But, don’t make your offer so low that it is insulting to the seller. Usually the seller will respond with an offer that is right in the middle of my offer and their listing price. Or, sometimes they accept my low offer right away!

Marketplace Finds

Not long ago I purchased a used jogging stroller through Facebook Marketplace. This was a high end stroller that retails for $400-$500. The seller had listed it $160 and I was comfortable paying $140 so I messaged her and offered $120. I also let her know that I could pick up right away because I knew that it would sell fast. Much to my surprise, she accepted my offer and I picked it up just a few hours later! When I picked up she told me that she accepted my offer even though it was lower than other people’s because I could pick up immediately. If I hadn’t included that in my messages she would have passed right over me!

stroller bought on facebook marketplace
My toddler snoozing away in the stroller I snagged off of Facebook Marketplace.

Bundling Items

Lastly, when buying on Facebook Marketplace you can view other items the seller has posted. If there are multiple items that you would like to buy from a seller, ask for a bundled price. Many sellers will say yes because it means they can get rid of items quickly.

For example, say a seller has listings for 3 pieces of home decor and each item is $10. It is totally reasonable to ask if you can purchase all 3 items for $22. The seller might agree right away or come back with a counter offer of $25. Or, the seller might say no they are firm on the price.

I recommend always making an offer or asking if the pricing is negotiable. The worst that can happen is the seller tells you no. Asking about bundling items is another way to save a little more money when buying on Facebook Marketplace.

Marketplace Finds
I was able to score these amazing vintage cane back chairs on Facebook Marketplace for a lower price than listed by bundling multiple items together.

Picking up Your Facebook Marketplace Item

So you’ve found the perfect item, negotiated the perfect price and now you’re ready to make the purchase. Woohoo! Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your pick up.

Location

The safest pick up location is a public location. Busy store parking lots are usually good spots for this. Decide on a central location with the seller and then let them know how to find you. I usually tell them what type of car I will be driving and where I will be parked (near the trees on the left side, next to the car return in the second row, in last row of parking in the back, etc.)

That being said, I’ve picked up directly from someone’s home many times. I live in a relatively safe, mostly rural area and I feel safe doing this. If you don’t feel safe picking up from someone’s home, don’t do it! A cheap dresser is not worth your safety.

Before I go to pick up an item I always let my husband know where I’m going and when I’ll be back. This way someone knows where I am. If he’s available I sometimes ask him to come along. I especially do this if the item I’m picking up is at a location I’m unfamiliar with or if it’s super heavy.

Ultimately, your safety is your responsibility! If a situation seems unsafe, leave! If you pull up to a house and get that icky, something-is-wrong feeling, leave! Use common sense and make your safety your top priority.

Confirm Time & Location

On the day of your pick up message the seller to confirm the time and location. I always do this because I don’t want the seller to forget, making my trip for nothing. 

I just send a quick message a couple hours before the pick up that says something like, “See you at 2pm at the address you sent earlier.” If I don’t hear back I’ll usually send a follow up message when I’m leaving my house letting the seller know my estimated arrival time. That message usually looks like, “I’m just leaving my house. I should be there in about 20 minutes.”

Sending little reminders is my way of making sure that the appointment isn’t forgotten and confirming that there was no miscommunication when we set the pick up time. There’s nothing worse than driving to a pick up location only to get a message from the seller that say, “Oops I forgot.” I do whatever I can to avoid that.

Have exact change

Don’t expect the seller to have change. Bring cash in the exact amount that you agreed upon in your price negotiations. 

Plan ahead for everything you need

If you’re buying something large or heavy, bring help with you to load it. Don’t expect that the seller will be able to assist you in moving an item.

Also, think ahead about anything else you might need for transporting your item. If you’re placing things in the back of a truck, consider bringing a tarp to protect it from rain and straps to hold the tarps down. You may need blankets to lay the item you’re purchasing on to prevent scratches. You may need straps to hold the item in the truck bed and keep it from moving around. Try to think ahead for anything you’ll need for the pick up and transportation of your purchase and plan accordingly.

Marketplace Finds
fence mounted flower box & window unique garden design

The old window that I used for my DIY Fence Mounted Window & Flower Box was a Facebook Marketplace find.

Inspect the item before purchase

Always inspect an item before paying for it. Tell them you would like to look over the item quickly before making your final decision. Check the quality of the item – is it what was described? Look for imperfections. Check for smells. (yes, seriously)

If you arrive to pick up an item and find that it is not something you want for any reason at all you are not obligated to buy it! Don’t feel guilted into purchasing something that isn’t what you want just because you already went through the trouble of arranging the pick up time. Scheduling a pick up is not an obligation to purchase if after you view the item you realize it is not what you are looking for. 

Undisclosed Damage

If after inspecting the item you find damage that wasn’t disclosed you have a couple options. 

You can tell the seller, “Sorry, but there is some damage on this item and I’m going to have to pass. Thank you so much for your time and I really appreciate you letting me look at it. Good luck with your sale.” 

Or, you can be less direct if it’s easier for you and say something like, “Sorry, but I’m actually going to have to pass on this item. Seeing it in person made me realize that is just isn’t quite what I’m looking for. Thank you so much for your time.”

Or, if you are still interested in the item you can try to negotiate a lower price. Show the seller where the damage is and say something along the lines of, “There is some damage to the item that I wasn’t aware of when we talked about price before. Would take $___ instead?” 

Buying on Facebook Marketplace

Buying on Facebook Marketplace is one of my favorite ways to secondhand shop while sticking to my budget. I love finding treasures and the thrill of snagging up an item for a really good deal! I’ve included every tip I could think of in this Ultimate Guide to Buying on Facebook Marketplace, but if you still have an unanswered question, please ask it below! I’ve been shopping on Facebook Marketplace regularly for years and I’d love to help guide you to secondhand shopping success! 

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