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Lessons Learned: How To Buy Furniture At Retail Stores AND Get The Best Deal

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By Andrea

There will come a time when you have to purchase new furniture.

Over time, sofas wear out beyond repair. And slipcovers cannot hold together a failing frame. Chairs will give way. And tables will be damaged beyond repair.

Sure, you could always buy used furniture on consignment, or find free furniture on sites such as freecycle. But sometimes, you just want new.

As difficult as it is to part with your money (especially in this economy), there are some ways that you can buy new furniture without breaking the bank.

Here are 7 furniture buying tips that I learned firsthand recently when I went furniture shopping…

1. Know what you want.

Don’t just decide that you want a leather sofa, then run out and get one. You need to know exactly what kind of leather sofa you want.

  • Should it be traditional?
  • Should it be contemporary?
  • Do you want firm cushions or soft?
  • Do you want wood trim or nail head detail?
  • What size should it be?
  • How tall do you want the back of the sofa to be?

Shop around until you know exactly what you want. However, do not hand over your money yet. You still have some work to do.

2. Be aware of trends.

You want your new furniture to be an investment that lasts 10 or more years. You do not want to buy something that will likely be out of style in 3 years.

Look toward classic shapes, colors, and materials and think about how the furniture item can be re-purposed or used elsewhere in the home should you tire of it before it becomes worn out.

3. Price shop.

After you have narrowed your choice down to one or two exact items, write down the manufacturer and style number. Then, start price shopping.

Go to as many stores in your area that carry the furniture you want and check the model numbers. Be aware that there will be stores that sell the exact same furniture, but they simply assign it a different model number so that you cannot do a price comparison.

4. Check online.

Once you’ve done an exhaustive search locally, take your search online.

Use the style name, manufacturer, and model number to find the item online and compare prices.

In my case, I found many instances of the same furniture online, but only 2 sites that mentioned price. Try to find pricing on furniture available in your state if at all possible.

5. Go in armed.

When you go to make your purchase, take proof of the best prices for the specific items you want.

You will never get a good deal if you simply ask the salesperson “Is that the best price you can offer me?” If you don’t have proof that you can get it cheaper elsewhere, they will have no reason to make a deal with you.

Be prepared to walk away and purchase the furniture elsewhere (including online) if they will not budge of price.

6. Ask lots of questions.

  • Ask about the return policy.
  • Ask about delivery, including how soon the furniture can be delivered.
  • Ask what your options are if an item is not to your satisfaction.
  • Ask what rights you have if delivery is not made on time. Are there are any guarantees?

7. Ask to read the sales contract.

No matter what the salesperson tells you, you need to read the actual sales contract before handing over your money or signing anything.

In my case, I was told that as long as I rejected an item before delivery people left, then I would not be charged a 20% restocking fee. What they failed to mention was that I would be responsible for a 10% restocking fee if I canceled my order after leaving the store. This information was in small print on the back of the sales contract.