With the rise of online furniture stores and free two-day shipping, consumers have more options than ever before. However, convenience doesn’t always equal quality, just as retail prices don’t always guarantee you ’re buying furniture that will last. And what about buying furniture online? These are the warning signs the furniture you’re considering may be overpriced.
Don’t Chain Yourself to a Chain Store
When you think of the first furniture store that comes to mind, it’s most likely a chain store. You’ve already seen their advertisements everywhere, from weekly mailers to television and web advertisements.
Consider your local independent retailers—they may be more willing to negotiate on price. Look into regional and national wholesale distributors who sell the same piece as many chains with less markup.
Research Before Shopping
Before researching where to buy furniture, it’s best to research what you want to buy. Taking note of your needs, your budget, and your initial questions will help you better prepare when you’re confronted with a pushy sales representative in a maze-like showroom. Even if you’re shopping online, research can help you be better prepared with the right expectations.
Having the language to describe your style will make you more efficient in searching for your furniture.
There’s more synthetic materials than ever before, so consider how these materials affect cost, quality, and comfort.
Compare prices online
Do enough digging to determine the low and high ends of what this furniture could cost and decide what you’re willing to spend.
If you’re looking at a specific piece of furniture, read what other people are saying. Keep in mind some reviews may focus on customer service, shipping, or convenience rather than the actual piece of furniture.
Whether you decide to shop the box stores or buy online, use the web to your advantage. If you find the barcode for a piece of furniture, shop around online for other retailers who may be selling the same piece at a lower price.
Be Cautious of Big Sales
Your gut may be telling you the opposite, but think about it this way: the bigger the sale, the greater the potential markup. When furniture retailers sell their products at a discounted price, they still need to retain their profit margins.
It’s impossible to avoid sales altogether, but don’t let the sale force you to buy before you’re ready. While sales are used to create a sense of urgency, they’re never really gone for good. If there isn’t a sale going on now, there’s another coming just around the corner.
Run from 0% Down
While financing options are convenient, they can also hurt your credit, and in some cases, they’re just as misleading as the big sales.
When you see “0% Down,” for example, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re paying less money in the long run. Many financing options come with hidden padding to maintain profit margins. You may not pay anything up front, but that doesn’t mean you won’t pay for it later.
Drawbacks to Online Shopping
While it’s tempting to avoid the showroom and sales reps altogether, turning to online furniture shopping may leave you on your own—in more ways than one. While online shopping may cut out sales commission, it doesn’t mean there’s no markup, and there’s no room for negotiation.
If you find furniture priced too good to be true, it just might be. The lowest prices often mean “some assembly required,” and can often translate to lower quality and decreased durability.