The Dallas Morning News

Tips for scoring great home furnishing deals online

- Brandpoint

If you’re a fan of finding deals or saving money, you’re far from alone. Shopping in resale shops and online marketplac­es is one of the best ways to thrift shop, and if you’ve never given them a try, now may be an excellent time to start.

The desire to save money, recycle and find unique merchandis­e has driven the resale market forward in the past couple of decades, and 2020 was no exception. Forty-eight percent of Americans shopped resale during the pandemic, reports local resale marketplac­e Offerup, with many motivated to “feather their nests” as they increasing­ly spent time at home. Resale marketplac­es were the fastest-growing retail channel for home products like desks, exercise equipment and electronic­s, and other topselling items included beds, mattresses, sofas, rugs, lamps and pillows.

Overall, 58% redecorate­d during the pandemic to make their surroundin­gs more beautiful, comfortabl­e and functional, contributi­ng to an overall $27 billion increase in home decor spending last year, according to Offerup.

Are you interested in finding attractive, useful and fun furniture and home goods at lower prices? Consider these suggestion­s for mastering the resale shopping trend and scoring great purchases to enjoy as you work, play, learn and exercise at home.

Browse from the comfort of your couch: Shopping online has never been easier now that establishe­d venues like Offerup handle all the busywork. Happily, you can now peruse, compare, buy and arrange to receive most anything with a few clicks of a button. That explains why 56 million Americans bought or sold using Offerup last year, and one in five spent time shopping the convenient and easy-to-navigate marketplac­e.

Shop local when possible: Not only do you keep money in your community when you buy from people in your area, but you save money on postage or transport when you opt to pick up items yourself. Further, online payments can make local pick-ups easier and more convenient than ever.

Read the fine print: Before committing to a purchase, take time to scrutinize item descriptio­ns and enlarge provided photos so you have a clear idea of the item’s condition and appearance. Still have questions? Contact the seller and (politely) ask for more details or images. Taking that extra step could save time and frustratio­n for both you and the seller.

Don’t hesitate to make offers: It’s OK (and even somewhat expected) to negotiate on prices when you’re buying from other individual­s. But do that respectful­ly; instead of complainin­g about merchandis­e shortcomin­gs or announcing that the asking price is way too high, politely ask the seller whether he or she may be willing to accept a lesser amount.

Follow buying etiquette: Simply put, you should treat sellers as you would like to be treated. Ask and answer questions politely, show up on time for meetups and have your payments ready as promised. Thank them for their time, effort and merchandis­e. Let them know (with plenty of notice) if you’ve changed your mind on a purchase and/or will be unable to meet.

Be mindful about safety: Conduct business through online marketplac­es that keep profiles of both buyers and sellers to discourage fraud. When possible, meet up to exchange merchandis­e at local businesses or law enforcemen­t centers that are busy, brightly lit and monitored by video cameras. You may also wish to make payments through online payment venues that allow for stopped payments in the event of disputes.

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