For every excited “look at what I found on Facebook Marketplace!” message I receive, there’s always a defeated “I never find anything on Marketplace. HELP” message trailing behind it.
I’m the first to point out that there’s an ebb and flow to secondhand furniture hunting and sometimes, there are just slim pickins’. However, if you’re consistently scratching your head while scouring FB MP, there may be a reason (or two) why.
I’m not a Facebook Marketplace expert, but I’ve learned quite a bit through my mistakes and escapades over the years, so today I’m rounding up all the reasons why you’re not getting what you want on Facebook Marketplace.
.01 | YOU’RE NOT USING KEYWORDS
You can read more about the importance of keywords in this post, which is completely dedicated to keywords (because they’re that important).
.02 | YOU’RE NOT SAVING ITEMS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR
Saving relevant items is just as important as keywords, if not more important. Are you looking for an antique chest of drawers with a marble top? Great. Search for “antique chest marble top,” and if you don’t find any you love, start saving items that look similar to what you want.
Eventually, the algorithm will work its’ magic and you’ll likely find yourself casually asking your husband if he wants to take a ride to go look at something while the hair on the back of his neck rises.
I was recently on the hunt for vintage x-ottomans, so I saved a bunch of related items that I wasn’t interested in purchasing.
But each time I saved an x-ottoman, more of them would show up when I hit refresh. Although none of them were quite right, I could feel my search getting warmer.
.03 | YOU’RE NOT DOING YOUR HOMEWORK
Sellers oftentimes don’t realize they have gold in their possession, therefore listing a quality, sought-after item for dirt cheap.
Let’s call this selling gold for the price of dirt.
It’s essential to recognize that Facebook Marketplace is a gold mine, and that other people are also mining for gold.
Going back to my vintage ottoman hunt, I spotted a pair of vintage orange x-base ottomans for $50 – this is an example of gold being sold for dirt.
I understood the situation and I knew what these ottomans go for on Chairish/1stDibs because I had done my homework, so I needed to act fast.
I quickly messaged the guy but he was being rather unresponsive. My stage 4 clinginess evolved to stage 5 when I asked him for dimensions. I must have subconsciously not wanted them that badly, because I know that’s a rookie mistake.
When gold is listed for $50, you don’t ask questions.
I assume this guy probably got a ton of requests, decided to do his homework, and re-listed the ottomans for $600. Blasphemy.
The seller reached out to me offering them for $350 – I kindly passed. I knew something better/less expensive would appear eventually.
.04 | YOU’RE NOT REFRESHING OFTEN ENOUGH
I usually quickly refresh every 1-4 hours, depending on how busy I am. I check more often on the weekends when I have more free time and when people seem to be cleaning out their house. Think of it like refreshing IG…just a quick tap and a 10-second scan (although I do prefer browsing on my desktop – there’s more items visible on a larger screen).
.05 | YOU’RE FOCUSING TOO MUCH ON THE LISTING PHOTOS
Some of my best FB MP finds contained photos that were such poor quality that the mental state of the seller was questionable.
I know it’s easier said than done, but try to imagine the piece styled in your home.
I can’t tell you how to train your eye to look past the blurry, poorly taken photos, I think it just comes with time and consistent browsing.
.06 | YOU’RE TRYING TO BARGAIN ON AN ALREADY GOOD DEAL
90% of the time, I negotiate the price of something. We all want the best deal, and we all have a budget, hence why we’re on marketplace to begin with.
However, in an instance of someone selling gold for the price of dirt – you do not negotiate.
The seller will already have at least 10-20 other messages and the chances of selling a hot item to someone who’s trying to negotiate is slim to none.
.07 | YOU’RE MAKING THINGS COMPLICATED FOR THE SELLER
Too many questions, taking too long to respond, not being available to pick something up for another week….these are all things that may not work in your favor. If I can’t make it somewhere within 1-2 days, I’ll ask the seller if I can Venmo/Paypal a deposit so they know I’m serious.
.08 | YOUR SEARCH RADIUS IS TOO SMALL
You should be searching near and far (as far as you’d be willing to drive). I’ve driven as far as 2.5 hours one way, but I’ve heard from others who have driven up to 8 hours one way.
Your radius should be at least 60 miles, but my default radius is 80 – sometimes 100 miles. You never know what treasures lie within those extra few miles.
If you’re one of those “I never find anything good in my area...” maybe try searching other areas of the country. If you find something you love, you can save it in hopes something similar will soon show up in your local feed, you can get a quote from uShip, or if it’s a smaller item, ask the seller if they would be willing to ship.
.09 | YOU’RE NOT USING THE “MAKE AN OFFER” BUTTON
This is my #1 tip for getting what I want on FB MP. It works most of the time, as long as I’m messaging relatively quickly after an item is posted.
In an instance where a unicorn item shows up that I know will be highly sought after, I use the “make an offer” button and will offer a price over their asking amount – even if it’s just a few bucks.
Here’s a recent example of how using the “make an offer” button paid off (and how I finally snagged a beautiful pair of x-bench ottomans).
I spotted these beauties about 30 minutes after they were posted:
Knowing these “footstools” would be in high demand due to the exceptional quality and filthy cheap cost, I immediately and probably a little too aggressively started firing off messages before using the “make an offer” button.
And I negotiated UP, not down.
I offered Rita $75, which may seem excessive BUT, they were already underpriced. A seller will almost always accept a higher price unless they’ve already agreed to sell it to someone else.
When I picked them up, she mentioned she must’ve gotten at least 10 other messages about the ottomans.
I didn’t ask sweet Rita her what sealed the deal with selling them to me, but I imagine it was the magical offer button.
.10 | YOU’RE IMPATIENT
A few months ago I said:
“The currency in which you can design and furnish a room is with money or with time. Or maybe a mix of both.”
If you haven’t already noticed, furnishing your home with secondhand finds takes time. Just remember…patience and persistence.
Check out my other thrifting + Facebook Marketplace blog posts:
- 4 Questions to ask yourself before buying secondhand
- 7 Tips for selling your items on Facebook Marketplace
- How to shop for secondhand furniture while sticking to a design plan
- 8 Tips for sourcing quality items on Facebook Marketplace
Have a great weekend!
I’ve made a few of these mistakes before too. What I have found is the more cooperative you are, the more likely you are to get the item. thank you for putting this together. good read