How to Flawlessly Shop Facebook Marketplace on Mobile

Key takeaways:

  • Facebook Marketplace makes it easy to buy and sell locally from your phone
  • Use specific search terms, set alerts, and check listings often to find the best deals
  • Always meet in a safe public place and use secure payment methods like cash or PayPal

Facebook Marketplace has exploded in popularity as a convenient way to buy and sell items locally. With over 1 billion monthly users worldwide, it’s now bigger than competitors like eBay, Craigslist and OfferUp.[3] As an avid Marketplace shopper myself, I’ve scored amazing deals on furniture, home decor, electronics and more, all from the convenience of my phone.

Whether you’re looking to furnish your apartment on a budget, find unique vintage pieces, or declutter and make some extra cash, Marketplace is the place to do it. Here’s my expert guide on how to shop Facebook Marketplace like a pro directly from your mobile device.

Getting Started on Mobile

To access Marketplace, open the Facebook app on your iOS or Android phone. Tap the shop icon at the bottom of the screen (it looks like a little storefront).[1] This will bring you to the Marketplace home page.

From here you can:

  • Browse featured items and categories
  • Search for specific items
  • View your saved items, products you’re selling, and past purchases
  • Adjust your location and marketplace settings

The mobile interface is very user-friendly and intuitive to navigate. You can scroll through the main feed of listings, filter your results, and message sellers, all without leaving the app.

Searching for Items

The key to finding great deals is using the right search terms. Marketplace’s search function is pretty basic, so it helps to get creative.[2] A few tips:

  • Keep it broad: Instead of searching for something very specific like “mid-century modern teak sideboard,” start with a more general term like “sideboard” or “buffet.” Many sellers don’t know the exact style names.[4]
  • Think like a seller: Consider how the average person might list an item, not just design terminology. For example, search “couch” in addition to “sofa.”[4]
  • Set alerts: When you perform a search, toggle on the “Notify me” switch to get alerts for new items matching your query. You can manage your notifications in the settings.[2]
  • Search often: Marketplace moves fast, with thousands of new listings daily. Check a few times per day so you don’t miss out on any gems.[2] The more you engage, the more the algorithm will surface items you like.

Evaluating Items and Sellers

Once some appealing listings catch your eye, it’s time to evaluate them more closely. Carefully review the photos first. Sellers aren’t required to show any flaws, so if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to ask for more pictures of various angles, marks, scratches, etc.

Next, read the description thoroughly. Note the item’s condition, measurements, brand, and any other details provided. If key info is missing, ask the seller for clarification before committing to buy.

Finally, do a quick scan of the seller’s profile. Marketplace allows you to view a seller’s ratings, past items sold, and join date. If anything seems suspicious, trust your gut and move on to another listing. There will always be more!

Making an Offer

Found the perfect item? Great, it’s time to make an offer. Marketplace gives you two options:

  1. Send a message to ask questions or negotiate the price. I recommend this if you need more info or want to feel out how firm the list price is. Many expect some haggling.[4]
  2. Make an offer using the built-in offer button. Enter the price you’re willing to pay and the seller can accept, decline, or counter.[1] This is best if you’re ready to commit.

Wait for the seller to respond, but be prepared to move quickly once you agree on a price. Popular items can go fast! To increase your chances, be polite, direct, and flexible on pick-up times.

Arranging Payment and Pickup

For everyone’s safety and security, Marketplace payments and pickups should always be done in person, with cash, unless you really trust the seller.[5]

When arranging a meetup, insist it take place in a safe public spot like a police station lobby, grocery store parking lot, or bank vestibule.[6] Many local police stations now have designated “Internet Purchase Exchange” areas.[14] Avoid going to someone’s home or inviting them to yours.

Bring a friend or family member along if possible, and always let someone know where you’ll be.[6] Take your cell phone and try to meet during daylight hours in a well-lit, busy area with security cameras.

For payment, cold hard cash is still king.[5] But if you must use an electronic method, stick to something secure and instantaneous like PayPal Goods & Services, Venmo, or Zelle.[10] Avoid checks, money orders, or gift cards which can be faked.

Staying Safe from Scams

While most people on Marketplace are honest, scammers are an unfortunate reality of any online platform. Protect yourself by watching out for these common red flags:

  • Prices that are too good to be true: If an item is drastically underpriced, be wary. It could be stolen or not as described.[7]
  • Requests for deposits or shipping: Sellers who claim they need money upfront or want to ship an item are likely trying to take your money and run.[7]
  • Sketchy profiles: Brand new accounts with no photo, details or ratings are often scammers. Dig deeper and see if things add up.[4]
  • Pushy tactics: Don’t let anyone rush you into a purchase you’re unsure about. It’s okay to take your time or say no.[6]

If a seller or listing seems fishy, always listen to your instincts. There’s no shortage of other items and sellers out there. Report any suspected fraud to Facebook and your local authorities.

Closing Thoughts

Facebook Marketplace has been an absolute game-changer for my secondhand shopping. By checking regularly, using specific searches, and following these safety best practices, I’ve furnished nearly my entire home at a fraction of retail prices.

The incredible deals and unique finds make the extra effort well worth it. But the real key is being a savvy shopper and always putting security first. Master that, and you’ll be a Marketplace pro in no time! Happy shopping!