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Buying real estate, buying automobiles and buying furniture are some of the worst shopping experiences you’re likely to endure over the course of your lifetime. All three require huge amounts of money, which makes your ultimate purchase decision feel extremely important. Unfortunately, because the system in place for buying these things is so unlike other shopping experiences, you are likely to remain confused and unhappy through each ordeal.
Real estate and automobiles are entrenched in laws and regulation, so it’s unlikely that either of those experiences will change for the better anytime soon. However, furniture sales could improve — in fact, a few retailers are already taking strides to alter how you shop, buy and receive your loveseats and dining sets. If you are exhausted by furniture shopping the old way, here’s how you can buy furniture the better way.
Time Your Shopping Right
Just like you should take advantage of the holiday season to buy new and used vehicles, you can pay attention to sales to enjoy major savings on furniture. Generally, furniture manufacturers follow a biannual cycle, with restock periods in February and August. To make room for the new stock, salespeople are desperate to make deals on the old stuff suck on the sales floor in the preceding months. That means you should start looking for furniture in January and July. If you are a risk-taker, you should wait for the last weeks to make your move, but you might miss out on the exact piece you want as other furniture buyers take advantage of the discounts, too.
Consider Non-furniture Stores
You want furniture, so you go to places like IKEA, American Furniture Warehouse and Ashley HomeStore. However, Furniture stores aren’t the only retailers that sell furniture. In fact, you can probably find better deals at some of your favorite big-box shopping spots, like Costco and Target. Typically, non-furniture-focused stores don’t put such a high markup on furniture; they want to maintain your shopping loyalty by passing along savings even on expensive items.
Though this furniture will often come in assemble-it-yourself flat packs, you can find furniture assembly services in big cities like Detroit to make the process easier. Plus, when you do this, you can also request your service providers to install custom details, like fretwork panels or unique feet.
Use Reviews to Your Advantage
Word of mouth remains the best way to find amazing deals on furniture, but if your friends and family members don’t have any hot tips, you can always turn to the internet. Sometimes, online furniture retailers offer pieces that seem too-good-to-be-true — and you can determine whether that’s the case by reading the reviews left by previous purchasers. Often, people satisfied with their furniture don’t bother to rave, but you can learn plenty by the rants of disgruntled customers. A bit of shipping damage is to be expected in some cases, but if an overwhelming number of customers complain about poor packing, lost orders, bad customer service and similar issues, you should turn to another online furniture option.
Start With Simple Pieces
It’s unlikely that your first real estate purchase will be an architectural marvel or a tech-saturated smart home; you’re more likely to gravitate to a smaller, more basic property that you can customize over time. You should apply the same thinking to your furniture shopping: Start with simple and neutral pieces that you can jazz up with other items as you discover them. A fuchsia couch makes a statement, it is also difficult to find at a reasonable price; meanwhile, a gray couch can be dressed up with bright pink accent pillows for much lower cost. You will have more options to choose from when your vision isn’t limited, which means you will have more room to search for deals (and negotiate with salespeople, if you have to).
Invest in Delivery and Installation
Delivery and assembly might seem like unnecessary expenses, especially if you are working within a small furniture budget, but in truth they don’t add much to the cost and they improve the experience significantly. You won’t have to worry about borrowing your brother-in-law’s truck to pick up your pieces; you won’t fret about keeping all the bolts and screws from the flat-pack within sight. You can peruse your options and make decisions purely on style and cost, which is a better way to buy furniture.