The Art of Buying Secondhand Furniture

When you first set up your own home, chances are that you are not going to begin your new life with a fortune at your disposal unless you are either a wealthy heiress, married to one, or the son or daughter of a famous film star. Most of us ordinary mortals may be lucky if we have some savings or a bit of wedding money when we start out. For this reason, although we may dream of beginning with a beautifully furnished living room with a rosewood table, chairs, and breakfront, silken drapes, oak wood flooring or marble tile flooring with a brand-new leather sofa, for the vast majority of people this is a far-off dream.

Even if we grew up with it, the above mentioned luxury furniture was something that our parents worked for over many years. For now, we can make do with secondhand furniture until we have gradually worked and saved to furnish the home of our dreams.

Buying secondhand furniture can be a game of hit and miss. If you are lucky and find good quality pieces, no one has to know that your furniture was ever used by anyone else. But if you are not careful, you could end up with a pile of garbage that you have paid for at considerable expense. Here are some useful tips that will help you make the right choices:

  • Never buy anything without seeing it first. Very often, products are advertised, with attractive pictures on the Internet and very tempting prices, causing potential buyers to abandon all caution. But if a seller tells you to trust them and that there’s no need to look first, beware. Similarly, if they say that there are fifty customers ahead of you and you need to make a clear decision without seeing it, this is a clear warning sign.
  • Before you agree to pay for anything at all, look over the piece of furniture very carefully. Do the doors open and close properly? Are all the hinges in place? Check any handles – are they properly attached? Are any of the parts or accessories missing? Look for any signs of mold, mildew, or decay inside and out.
  • If you are looking at a secondhand appliance, think very carefully when the owner tells you that, “It’s in perfect working order. All you need to do is replace the motor/fan/battery and it will run like new.” Do you have the money to do that? And even if you do, price it out. It might actually be cheaper in the long run to buy a brand new one or find another secondhand one that doesn’t have these problems rather than investing in repairs.
  • Why is the item being sold? If you’re lucky, it’s because the owners are moving house and don’t have room for it. But if it’s because it is not in good condition or needs fixing, you may find you are simply paying for someone else’s garbage.

With a little caution, you can furnish your home very well with secondhand furniture. But just be careful before you part with your hard-earned cash.

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