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Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 05:29 AM   #1
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Tip on purchasing furniture

When DW and I bought a new house back in 2000, and we needed to furnish it. Most of our existing furniture was, shall we say, fully depreciated!

At the time, I got a good tip from an accountant I know. Side note: Good old accountants know how to squeeze a nickle till the buffalo Sh#ts. Anyway, the tip was to purchase our furniture from North Carolina directly. This probably will not be viable for folks west of the mississippi, but for the midwest and east coast, it works well.

We saved about 25% on average. You can save as much as about 30% depending on the manufacturer. This was compared to the best negotitated price I could get locally on the exact same stuff. The only caveat is that some furniture manufacturers have limited the practice (by imposing minimum prices) so thier local dealer do not get undercut. However, many manufacturers do not care. Some of them high quality furniture manufacturers.

The way it works is:

1) find a furniture dealer in NC ( cities are Highpoint, Hickory, Lenior)... do your homework! I chose the dealer my accountant friends had used so I was confident we would not get scr3wed. Plus DW and I stopped by to check the place out on the way back from vacation to the Outer Banks that year. (Yes... I am careful)
2) Check local stores to see what the furniture looks like and got a local negiotiated price for a baseline. The local store have the coverings for chairs and sofas, the furniture finishes, etc... Looking at picture does not cut it... You need to see it.... sometimes shading can be decieving.
3) Call the store and order. We purchased using credit card just in case there were unexpected problems. Some will offer lower prices for cash... but we felt the savings was not worth the risk. (i know i know... they are not supposed to do that).
4) You may have to wait for the furniture to be ordered and manufactured in some cases. No choice if you are getting custom coverings on sofas, etc.
5) They will setup the deliver (for a nominal fee). They send trucks all over the place. Usually a Semi with multiple orders. They make delivers along the way. The crew will unpackage the furniture, let you inspect it and put it in your house. We had a couple of damaged items. Sent it back and they delivered the replacement about a month later... no problems.


The first time, it took a bit of a leap of faith for us since we usually purchase this sort of thing locally... but since my friends were successful and had praise for the company, we did it.

We wound up placing about 3 large orders with the company. First one was $10k, then two for about $5k each. [Update] We made the first purchase at the store (on vacation). The two subsequent purchases we made over the phone. Like HB

Bottom line: It works! We spent about $20k (delivery and all). If we had purchased locally it would have been closer to $27k. I kept track of my local negotiated prices and what we paid.

If we are purchasing only one item, we do it locally. But for any sizable purchase, it makes sense to buy direct.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 05:58 AM   #2
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Good run down on the buying/delivery process. I've been known to frequent the Hickory area about every 2 years with the DW. I had my first problems with the coating on one furniture set: called and they had a local person to fix after sending new tops, etc. Would agree that buying by the room size purchase is best: small purchases would be a pain, however, DW has since purchased by telephone without trip to Hickory.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 08:02 AM   #3
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Another option for wood furniture (dining rooms etc) for people in the mid-Atlantic - the Amish in Lancaster, PA.

A guy I knew had a contact in Lancaster, and when I needed dining room furniture, I had the Amish guy make it. I gave him pictures of what I wanted - table (with leaves), 8 chairs, and hutch with glass cabinets. He made an amazing set (that I've now had for 7 years and still love).

The cost for all of it $3K. The retail price if I had bought the items in the pictures: $9K.

Karen
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 09:04 AM   #4
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Craigslist.

A sample of a recent post: "Only two years old, in mint condition, just finished paying it off. Must sell due to move!"

Consumers like this will be contributing their payroll taxes to our Social Security & Medicare expenses for a long, long time.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 09:25 AM   #5
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Craigslist.
A sample of a recent post: "Only two years old, in mint condition, just finished paying it off. Must sell due to move!"
Consumers like this will be contributing their payroll taxes to our Social Security & Medicare expenses for a long, long time.
That's what I would do, too. Even though I'm frequently in Hickory and High Point, it doesn't make sense to pay $20k for a bunch of furniture when you can pay 1/10 that from craigslist sellers.

The best are those whose posts read: "Only two years old, in mint condition, just finished paying it off. Must sell due to wife redecorating our $500,000 McMansion!" :

It's amazing how many folks buy many thousands of dollars worth of furniture, then get rid of it after two years because "it's too dark and doesn't match the new drapes we are getting". :


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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 11:01 AM   #6
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

We give a lot of our unneeded stuff away on Craigslist and Freecycle, and we get stuff from those sites as well at either cheap or free.

Freecycle is the way to go for us LBYM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Craigslist.

A sample of a recent post: "Only two years old, in mint condition, just finished paying it off. Must sell due to move!"

Consumers like this will be contributing their payroll taxes to our Social Security & Medicare expenses for a long, long time.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 11:49 AM   #7
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Accountants must have their own road to NC furniture places. My daughter and the in-laws source their new furniture from NC and they are CPAs. And yes, they are value oriented.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 12:14 PM   #8
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

I'll offer to be your "eyes on the ground" in NC. If the price is right.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 12:40 PM   #9
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

My husband and I bought and furnished a new home this year. All of our old stuff was definitely not right for the new house. I called it "Lakehouse rustic". I took a tip from a friend and found a place on line that deals with the NC furniture companies. I placed two large orders and saved about 40% of the prices quoted locally. This was the savings after paying the freight charges. I live in the Dallas area and shipping it was no problem. We made up the freight charges by not paying taxes on the items bought over the net. I simply did what the original poster stated, I went to local stores found what I wanted and got a price, then went online. We had no problem with the company that we bought from. Everything was delivered in perfect condition. I point this out because we did buy furniture for the master bedroom from a local dealer and every piece we received had some kind of damage on it when it was delivered! With this particular company you may have to wait a few weeks for delivery, but that wasn't a problem for us. If anyone needs the name of a company to deal with just let me know.

It was interesting to us that all the NC furniture is now manufactured in China. We bought several well known brands and they all came marked "Made in China".
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 12:52 PM   #10
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakerat Nomore
It was interesting to us that all the NC furniture is now manufactured in China. We bought several well known brands and they all came marked "Made in China".
That's why I don't understand the cheapness of NC furniture. It all comes from China these days anyway. Many of the furniture plants in NC have closed in the last decade.

Why is it cheaper to get furniture from China via NC instead of from China via a local distributor?
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 01:14 PM   #11
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
That's why I don't understand the cheapness of NC furniture. It all comes from China these days anyway. Many of the furniture plants in NC have closed in the last decade.

Why is it cheaper to get furniture from China via NC instead of from China via a local distributor?
Because the companies that manufactured the furniture still exist. They just stopped building it. They still act as the primary distributor, the holder of the brand names, design the stuff, offer support marketing, etc.

If you notice, the furniture retailers are a highly fragmented group of marketers. Some are large retailers, others are mom and pop joints. They do not have the scale to disintermediate the existing manufacturers... at least yet. Just think if WalMart/Sam's Club decided to focus on that market?
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 01:24 PM   #12
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

We notice on our scouting trips through the local furniture stores that it was difficult sometimes to find out who made a piece or what the style was called. In days past you would always hear the merits of the brand name from the sales staff. You would hear how popular the line was, etc. Now days you walk thru the stores and can not find the manufaurters tags, etc. It seems that the stores have gotten wind of all the people like me who are buying over the net and they don't want to make it any easier than they have to. It was like pulling teeth to find out what line we were looking at.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 02:01 PM   #13
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

If you don't want depreciation on your furnture, buy antiques. Antiques seldom depreciate (although you still have the buy retail/sell wholesale problem).
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 02:24 PM   #14
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

My wife and I bought furniture from Penney's a few years back. The same furniture was available cheaper through a store in North Carolina. We asked, and Penney's matched the price. Much easier to deal with since the store is nearby.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 02:35 PM   #15
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by valsdad
My wife and I bought furniture from Penney's a few years back. The same furniture was available cheaper through a store in North Carolina. We asked, and Penney's matched the price. Much easier to deal with since the store is nearby.
I tried that with some of our local retailers and they would not match it. One "mom and pop" retailer was angry that I asked. Did not try Penney's. But I agree, it is worthwhile to ask. Nothing to lose.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 03:44 PM   #16
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

pasttense,

I wasn't aware that furniture depreciates. Ours always makes it from our house to the kids house, and they seem to think its the greatest. That's because the price is always right for them. The price being FREE.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 03:49 PM   #17
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakerat Nomore

I wasn't aware that furniture depreciates. Ours always makes it from our house to the kids house, and they seem to think its the greatest. That's because the price is always right for them. The price being FREE.
Lakerat, you nailed it. Furniture in our family doesn't depreciate - it migrates.

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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 04:04 PM   #18
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaudrey
Another option for wood furniture (dining rooms etc) for people in the mid-Atlantic - the Amish in Lancaster, PA.

A guy I knew had a contact in Lancaster, and when I needed dining room furniture, I had the Amish guy make it. I gave him pictures of what I wanted - table (with leaves), 8 chairs, and hutch with glass cabinets. He made an amazing set (that I've now had for 7 years and still love).

The cost for all of it $3K. The retail price if I had bought the items in the pictures: $9K.

Karen
We just bought an Amish built dining room table and chairs. Big table, 3 leaves, 6 chairs all for $3,000 made from solid cherrry. It was a long wait, but we just got it and the quality in so far above the stuff we saw in stores like Crate and Barrel, Room & Board, etc.
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-04-2007, 04:31 PM   #19
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

I love craigslist for furniture. In the past year, I've bought a beautiful cherry massive Armoire and end-table, and just recently bought Koa dining room table with chairs, coffee table, and end table. All for way less than the price of Koa dining room table at the stores.

Hawaii is a crazy place to buy non-teak furniture. I believe the processes for getting furniture delivered is ordered/designed in North Carolina manufactured in China shipped to the West Coast and then I believe sent to North Carolina, than shipped back to the west coast, and eventually put on a ship to Hawaii. If something isn't in stock it takes 5 to 6 months to get it delivered. My friend's family owns the biggest nicest furniture store in Hawaii and I am going to ask him why they can't get the stuff shipped directly here.



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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture
Old 04-05-2007, 09:19 AM   #20
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Re: Tip on purchasing furniture

My sister and her DH went to Amish country in OH and ordered dining room and bedroom furniture for their new house in VA. It was delivered to their house in PA. It is absolutely beautiful. Very well made.
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