Scenic Erie Station Village

Facebook Marketplace Tips

Woman sitting on a sofa using a phone and laptop. Image: Andrea Piacquadio

December 2021


Savvy shoppers know you don’t have to buy everything new. And Facebook Marketplace has made it easier than ever for people to sell their gently used items to each other. It’s like a giant internet garage sale. If you haven’t used it before, it has its own subtle culture and unwritten etiquette. Being in the know can mean the difference between scoring a great deal and losing one. Here are 10 tip to keep in mind.

  1. Write a message. Facebook allows buyers to send automated messages like “Is this still available.” While that saves time, a seller may get that same automated message from several interested buyers. A message you write yourself will stand out.
  2. Respond quickly to messages. Sellers want to move their items quickly and with as little hassle as possible. If you’re interacting with a seller, pay attention to your message notifications and respond to sellers promptly.
  3. Be ready to pick up an item as soon as possible. A motivated seller is not going to wait 3 or 4 days until it’s convenient for you to come. Especially if they have other buyers inquiring.
  4. Ask questions. Don’t bother scheduling time to look at an item without asking questions might rule it out. Need to know dimensions, want more photos, just ask.
  5. Google the price of the item. Knowing what people are paying for an item new and what others are selling it for used can help with spotting a good deal or negotiating one.
  6. Be a respectful negotiator. Most sellers will reduce their price. If they can’t meet the price you offer, handle it gracefully. Either move on or wait it out to see if the seller decides to reduce their price in time.
  7. Be prepared to make an instant payment. Cash, PayPal, or Venmo are the most common forms.
  8. Check the seller’s profile. Sellers are rated by their buyers, so look into what past buyers had to say. Disreputable sellers will make fake profiles (that won’t have buyer reviews) to try to take advantage of others.
  9. Meet in a public place and bring a friend. Regardless of what a seller’s profile looks like, it’s safest to meet in a public place (like a parking lot) and avoid going alone.
  10. Be the buyer you would want to have. Be polite and respectful, arrive on time with the correct form of payment, and if you have to walk away from a sale, do so with grace.