Aside from a home or car, furniture is one of the highest-cost items most consumers ever buy locally. Unlike car buying, where reviews, comparison pricing and quality reports are abundant, furniture purchases are often much more mysterious. Is the quality good? Is this a good price?
Unfortunately, you won’t find the answers searching the Internet for wholesale costs on new furniture, says Michael Fugate, a former furniture retailer who provides furniture buying advice to consumers. He says that the furniture industry is much more protective of its wholesale cost information than many other retail categories.
As you shop locally for furniture, here are eight money-saving tips to keep in mind:
If you see the same furniture for different prices at different stores, there could be several reasons. Some furniture sellers might charge a higher price because their costs are higher. Or they simply want to make a higher profit. But there are other possibilities.
Delivery and Setup Charges
Some local furniture retailers include free delivery, setup and services that others charge extra for. Be sure to ask about these items. Always factor these charges in cost comparisons.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Another possibility is that the furniture is not the same, even though it looks like it. “Furniture manufacturers often copy each others best-selling items,” says Fugate. “And when they do, they might remove certain hidden quality features built into the original.” Look closely at each item, including behind and underneath, and check joints and materials for differences. If items that look alike don’t weigh the same, that’s also a tip-off.
All Brands Are Not Equal
Buying name brands is not a quality guarantee either. That’s because many major brands make lines of furniture at different prices points, at “good,” “better” and “best” quality levels. Compare and ask questions. This is where a knowledgeable local store owner or salesclerk can add extra value to your purchase.
Keep in mind that some items may require assembly. Some local stores offer assembly services that are well worth the money if you’re not handy with tools and want to make sure the item will be put together properly in your home or apartment.
Floor Models and Closeouts
Look for special deals on blemished items, floor samples and closeouts. Most people want their new furniture to be perfect – especially at full price. As a result, local dealers may offer items with minor nicks or stains at substantial discounts.
Consider offers of extended warranties or extra fabric protection carefully before you accept. Whether such offers are worthwhile will depend on how you plan to use your furniture and how long you expect to keep it.
Furniture coupons, discount details and cash-back rebates available from stores can save you hundreds of dollars.