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'If you see something you like, you better be ready.' Here's what's moving on Facebook Marketplace

Posted at 4:31 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 16:31:08-04

(WSYM) — When the pandemic made some things hard to find and hopping from store to store wasn’t really an option, Facebook Marketplace was open for business.

"I think people have turned to the community in many ways to try to help each other with information, in this case it's to try to help each other buying and selling," said Sonia Sroka, a Facebook spokesperson.

Sonia said people scooped up things like office chairs early on through Marketplace. Today, Facebook says more than 1 billion people visit Marketplace each month.

And during the pandemic, other trends have emerged. As far as the hot ticket items right now ...

"We're seeing RVs and anything that has to do with camping-related listings, because people want to get out. I mean, really, when you look at Facebook Marketplace and you look at the way people are behaving in the platform, it's also a way that you can see what's happening in communities ... and people are ready for a break. They're ready to go out with their family," said Sonia.

Sarah Lemp of Livonia runs the "All Things With Purpose" blog, where she shares DIY tutorials, travel tips and more. She specializes in renovating old RVs. She's been buying and selling on Marketplace for years.

Photo courtesy Sarah Lemp, All Things With Purpose

"It's definitely become more cutthroat ... if you see something you like, you better be ready, be the first person to contact the seller, have your cash in hand and just head there," said Sarah.

That’s just one piece of advice from Sarah. Another: don’t get too attached.

"We're trying to buy bikes for the kids and they were going so fast, so the kids would go look at it and we show them and say, 'do you like this one?' And they'd be like, 'oh, I love that.' That's perfect.' And then it would be gone. So they kind of know the drill," she said.

Photo courtesy Sarah Lemp, All Things With Purpose

Speaking as a reporter who lost out on a beautiful patio couch listed at a fraction of its retail price, Facebook Marketplace can be cold sometimes.

But it makes the victories that much sweeter.

Tamika Littles of St. Clair Shores said she scored a dining room table for $100, the perfect piece for her pandemic DIY project.

Photos courtesy Tamika Littles

"We were doing our kitchen remodel last year ... my husband thought I was crazy for wanting to buy this table, but it was in really rough shape. And I said, 'well, I can paint it. I can reupholster it.' And I did, and it turned out beautiful and so, it's sitting in the kitchen now," said Tamika.

Her next search, Tamika said, is for new French doors for her office.

Facebook says as of January 2021, furniture is one of the top 3 most popular listing categories on marketplace in the U.S.

"Couches, dressers, anything that relates back to your home. Some people have had to change the configuration of their home depending if they were going to be home schooling their children or if they had to create a work space," said Sonia.

For sellers with those desirable items, Sarah said to be ready.

"Be prepared for lots of interest, respond as quickly as possible," she said. "I would say doing things as porch pickups has been great, having your items ready, having them wrapped and ready to go."

If you want to increase your odds of scoring a deal, Sarah and Sonia both say to go the extra mile in the conversation.

"Don't be the person that just hits, 'is this available?' said Sarah.

Sonia agrees.

"Sometimes people will only tell you, 'is this still available?' But they don't really tell you how much they want it. I think that makes a difference, to be honest with you," said Sonia.

In case you're wondering, I eventually scored some patio furniture on Facebook Marketplace: $100, some new cushions and we’re in business.

Whether you’re a buyer or seller, experts say being kind and courteous in your interactions is key.

For more Facebook Marketplace tips, check out the "All Things With Purpose" blog here.