At least half the items in our home have been purchased off of Facebook Marketplace, thrifted, or bought at a garage sale. Because of Marketplace, we were able to save $3000 on our truck, hundreds on our refrigerator, $400 on our kitchen sink, and $1000 on a John Deere garden tractor, just to name a few! We’re going to share our top tips for scoring deals on Facebook Marketplace so that you can use the exact techniques that we’ve used to save some money, too!
Reasons for scoring deals on Facebook Marketplace (the only reasons you’re ever going to get a deal)
There are generally only a few reasons why you’d be able to score a killer deal on Marketplace. Here they are:
- It doesn’t work and you have the time, energy, and/or knowledge to fix it
- The seller doesn’t know the real value of the item (or they’re selling it for someone else who doesn’t know) and just wants to get rid of it
- The seller needs quick cash (this is rare, and is usually a sign of a scam)
- The item was listed incorrectly and no one else can find the item for sale
We’ll expound on all of these situations and give you a step-by-step explanation of how you can use each of these reasons to score a deal!
My favorite deal to date: a free John Deere 325
Last year, I was looking for a John Deere snowblower attachment for my JD 335. Using the methods I’ll share with you below, I ended up with not only the snowblower (worth $400), but also a JD tiller (worth $1000+), wheel weights (worth $150), and a FREE JD 325, all for $320. I’m always in the market for a good JD deal, so I’ll use that as an example throughout the post. I’ll also fill you in on the story of how I got this particular deal!
Tip #1: Understand the market for the product you’re buying
You can’t get a deal unless you understand whether or not something is a deal. Before you go messaging sellers, do some research. Search the product you want to buy on Marketplace, Ebay, Google, and any other relevant sites.
If I’m looking for a John Deere, I’ll search around on all of these as well as sites like tractorhouse.com. Get a good understanding of what the item is going for both in your area and in surrounding areas.
Tip #2: Expand your search radius
If you’re really on the hunt for a specific item, decide how far you’re willing to drive for it. Often, the item won’t be available in your town, but you could drive an hour or perhaps three hours to get it. Expand your search radius on Facebook Marketplace to see what’s available outside your area.
If you’re willing to drive for it, be sure to take into account your gas and drive time. Taking a three-hour round trip for a John Deere not only costs me $30 in gas, but also takes away valuable time that I could be spending with my family or working on something else. You’ll have to weigh whether or not the gas and time is worth it.
Tip #3: Check Marketplace often and set alerts
The best way to score a deal is to get there first. And no, you don’t have to spend every waking moment on Facebook in order to do this!
First of all, set an alert for the item. Facebook will automatically let you know when something gets posted using your alert keyword(s).
Sometimes, however, an alert doesn’t do the trick. Maybe the algorithm doesn’t work right, you miss the notification, or the seller didn’t label the item correctly.
To overcome this, check Marketplace often. You don’t have to do a thorough search every time. Just a quick, 5-10 second search can show you if your item pops up.
The other benefit of lots of quick searches is that you’ll often find deals that you weren’t explicitly searching for. For example, I may have my eye out for a John Deere 335, but as I’m checking the Marketplace homepage, the algorithm shows me a JD LX 172. This isn’t what I want for my property, but if it’s a good deal, I could flip it and make some extra cash. Use the algorithm to your advantage. Check that homepage and keep your eye out for items you might be interested in but aren’t your main search.
There are two types of deals: something you need right away, and something you aren’t necessarily looking for. When we were on the hunt for a van, I searched every single day because I was in a hurry to get one before our second child was born. The second type of deal is something that the algorithm presents that you don’t necessarily need but could flip and make some cash.
Another way to be the first one there is to offer the seller a better deal. If I see a great deal during my lunch break but I’m stuck at work until 5, I might offer the seller $5-50 more (depending on the item) to hold it for me for a few hours. (This technique only works if you’re quite sure that you want the item, so make sure to do your homework first.)
Tip #4: Adjust your search
In addition to checking the keywords you think you’re looking for, change it up a bit and search related keywords. For example, instead of “John Deere”, try “riding mower”. Often, a seller either doesn’t know exactly what they have or has mislabeled the item.
I scored a great deal on my GMC Sierra because the seller had mislabeled the item and no one else had found it yet. The seller had put the number of miles in the “year” slot. This would have made it impossible to find if I hadn’t expanded my search parameters. The seller knew what the truck was worth. I believe I got this deal simply because I was the first one to find it.
Tip #5: Check out the seller
The great thing about Facebook is that you can get some information on the type of person you’re working with. When you find what looks like a deal, do a little research to see whether or not the seller looks sketchy. Check out their Facebook Marketplace reviews. Look at other items they’re selling.
If they’re selling a bunch of the same item (for example, a collection of John Deeres or JD products), they know the value. If they know the value and the item’s priced below value, there’s something wrong with it.
Tip #6: Know how to communicate on Facebook Marketplace
Never start a conversation with the one-click Facebook button “is this available?”. This is an immediate signal to the seller that you’re probably not that interested. As a seller, I don’t even respond to this type of message anymore.
If you don’t know yet whether you want to buy it, ask for relevant details. Don’t expect the post to be 100% thorough. For example, I’ve gone to look at vehicles without first asking if they had been smoked in. Smoke smell is an immediate turn-off for me, and I’ve now learned my lesson and always ask this question before making a drive to see a car.
If you already have enough information, start the chat with something like, “Can I come tomorrow? I have cash in hand.” You can also offer a reasonable price if the item has been up for awhile. For example, “I noticed you’ve had this up for 4 weeks. Would you take $35 instead of $50? I can come tomorrow.”
If something needs to be fixed on the item, take that into account. The snowblower I found had a belt that I knew needed to be replaced. I did some research and found the belt for $80. Instead of offering $400 like it was listed for, I offered $320 and let them know that the belt would cost me $80 to replace. (This worked, by the way!)
Don’t lowball someone without a sufficient reason. No one wants a buyer like that!
Tip #7: Show up!
Remember, you’re building your Facebook Marketplace reviews, too! If you want to be successful, having good reviews is a huge help—whether you’re buying or selling. Be polite, treat people well, and of course, show up if you say you’re going to be there.
More top tips for scoring deals on Facebook Marketplace to come!
Next time we’ll share the step-by-step process for how to score deals on Facebook Marketplace. I’ll also finish the story of how I got my free John Deere 335 and what I did with it.
If you want to learn more about how to avoid scams on Facebook Marketplace, check out this post.
What’s been your favorite secondhand deal to date? Let us know in the comments!
Leave a Reply