I’ve been a bargain shopper all my life. I get buyer’s remorse when I buy anything over $10. It’s true. I will let it sit on the dresser for days before I decide to commit to the purchase. I’d guess 65% of my purchases go back to the store because my remorse gets the best of me. I don’t have a closet full of shoes or handbags. I have staple pieces that I wear over and over. If I do want something new, it’s likely a bargain shirt or pants that are on sale and that I know I will wear until they fall apart.
Enter Facebook Marketplace. The online marketplace, like an online yard sale, is used in over 70 countries by millions of people to buy and sell items to people in your community and beyond. And it’s sitting right there in your Facebook profile that you check dozens of times a day. Lightly worn soccer uniforms? Check. Used patio furniture? Check. Cat carriers? Check. There is no shortage of items up for grabs, and you can shop with the swipe of a finger.
You decide how far you’re willing to travel for an item — then you aren’t driving across town for a $10 toy. You can also buy online from other cities and states and pay shipping, but I prefer to buy locally in case there are any problems and then you avoid shipping.
Some items go fast, like in five minutes. Some things are priced too good to be true. Many sellers list an item with the caveat that it’s first-come, first-served. So, you have to act fast a lot of times. Other times, you can search for an item, and it could still be available weeks after being posted.
Let me give you an example. We recently bought a boat, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on kids’ life jackets. I searched Marketplace and dozens of listings came up for like-new jackets at a fraction of the price. Some even still had the price tags. I got a lot more for my money, and we had extras for friends.
I actually sell more than I buy. I clean out the kids’ closets and rooms and find things in great condition with plenty of use left. A quick cleaning and a post on Marketplace, and the items are gone in days, sometimes even hours. Another kid gets to enjoy the item, and I make a little money.
Photos are important. It’s not like a yard sale where you can pick up and hold the item to see its condition. If you’re selling, include as many photos as you can and make sure the lighting is good, the photos aren’t blurry, and there are multiple angles of something. Sometimes I even ask for more photos before I spend time and money on purchasing something because I want to ensure it’s as advertised.
Once you decide to purchase, you have to set a place to meet. Messenger makes it easy to communicate with the buyer or seller. Most people arrange to meet at a public place like a parking lot. Others arrange for a “porch pick-up” at their home. I don’t particularly want people to know where I live, but if the item is big or bulky, sometimes that’s the only way.
Don’t always count on people to do what they say. A lot of times people are no-shows, and you waste your time. Then you move on to the next buyer who messaged you.
The nice thing about Marketplace is after seven days of something not selling, you can renew your listing and even change the details or price to make it more appealing. If something doesn’t sell, it goes in the donate pile.
The last thing you should know, is you are rated as a buyer and a seller. Similar to eBay, people can rate you on your communication, timeliness, item description, etc. I only buy from highly rated sellers who have a good online reputation. I got burned a few times early on, but now I’m an expert and even my friends come to me to help them declutter and make some extra money!