Between the down payment and the closing costs for the mortgage, homebuyers aren’t left with a whole lot of money. Yet, there are still movers to pay and, quite possibly, appliances to purchase and minor fixes to perform.
So, how will you furnish the new digs – especially if you can’t stand the thought of dragging your mismatched furniture from your rental to your new, yes-indeed-I-own-this home? Many of our first-time buying clients aim for something between buying new and keeping the old, so decide what’s worth keeping and then list what you’ll need to purchase.
And, lucky you, we’ve put together a list of places to help you furnish your new home for less.
“Used” means you’ll save money
“Used” doesn’t necessarily mean “nasty.” Especially if you’re a fan of DIY anything, how a piece looks when you first see it may have no resemblance to what it will look like after you work your magic.
If you’re not particularly handy, you may find it more of a challenge to envision a piece of furniture’s possibilities. Before you go shopping, take a stroll through online sites that deal with DIY furniture makeovers – Pinterest is an ideal place to start. The photos alone will open your eyes to the possibilities, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional.
A good rule of thumb is to focus your attention of the furniture’s style, instead of the torn or dated upholstery. Of course anything from a smoker’s home or with pet odors should be passed by – some odors are impossible to remove. Here are 4 tips to get you started shopping for your new home, on the cheap.
1. Estate and garage sales
Both garage and estate sales offer bargains when it comes to purchasing used home goods. Estate sale prices are typically higher than those you’ll find at garage sales, but the merchandise is often more high-end and well maintained.
Check Craigslist for listings of garage and estate sales near you. You may also see signs posted around the neighborhood.
2. Consignment stores
Consignment stores are the middle men (or women) between the owner of the goods and the buyer. Sort of a for-sale-by-owner situation with the benefit of the consignment store owner offering a showroom and taking on the drudgery of the sales process. Yes, the store owner receives a portion of the sale proceeds, so bargains are often hard to find in these stores.
Do a Google search for consignment stores in your ZIP code and pay them a visit. You can find the occasional bargain so don’t count them out in your search for “new” furniture and home goods.
3. Thrift shops
Thrift stores can be hit or miss on the quality of merchandise offered. The good news is that prices are quite low at thrift stores such as Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.
An alternative to thrift shops, especially if you’re looking for something unique to apply your DIY skills to, are salvage yards. Again, Google is your friend when seeking these out.
4. Online shopping
Craigslist is the granddaddy of inexpensive home furnishings and, the best part is that it’s local. You’ll find home goods scattered throughout the many categories on Craigslist, but start in the “For Sale” section. From there, drill down to the “Free” link. You never know what kind of interesting bargains someone is willing to part with for free.
Below the free section you’ll find a link to the site’s furniture listings. Dealer merchandise is lumped in with consumer items but you can select whether or not to show those by using the information on the left side of the page. You can also search by item name so you don’t have to scroll through listings for everything but headboards, or whatever it is you’re looking for.
Other sections to check include the Antique and Household sections, further down the list.
eBay offers furniture and other household goods but, unless the seller is local, the shipping charges may take an otherwise bargain-priced item out of the running. Thankfully, the site has a way to filter your search by miles from your ZIP code. For instance, type “headboards” into eBay’s search box and scroll down the page until you find “Item Location.” You can also limit your search to those items with free shipping.
Etsy is a fun site that sells a lot of interesting handmade items, especially home accessories. Using our headboard example again, type “headboard” into Etsy’s search box. Then, on the left side of the page, under “Refine your Search,” you’ll find the option to “Shop Location,” and a “Choose a Custom Location” link to refine the search even more.
Sure, we’d all love to furnish our new homes with furniture and accessories from the high-end stores, but new houses frequently zap our reserve funds. Shopping frugally allows you to make big, dramatic changes to your new home’s décor without breaking the bank.