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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: freeatlast on July 25, 2017, 09:48:05 AM

Title: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: freeatlast on July 25, 2017, 09:48:05 AM
Our beloved couch is failing :( There's lots of couches available on craigslist that are a couple of years old that people are selling because their needs have changed (too big, too small etc....) Question is, is a couch too personal an item to do used? Is there too much a chance of bedbugs? Is it worth it to just get a new one?

We are frugal and don't change our furniture often. I think the couch we have now is about 8 years old with constant heavy use. And - I have tried replacing the foam in a couple of the cushions, it was better for awhile, but then went flat again even with furniture grade foam.

With regard to furniture, I always try to buy quality, whether used or new, because we keep our pieces so long.

Thanks all!
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Sibley on July 25, 2017, 09:52:49 AM
I would not get used upholstered pieces unless I know where its been. Bug risk too high for me. I have gotten used items from friends/family/friends of friends that are vouched for with no issues.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: researcher1 on July 25, 2017, 09:56:34 AM
I would absolutely never buy a used fabric couch off CL.

I would, however, consider a genuine leather couch.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: wordnerd on July 25, 2017, 09:57:22 AM
I've gotten two used coaches. One (upholstered) was a hand-me-down from a friend. One (leather) was purchased from a stranger (not Craigslist, but similar). It's never bothered me, but perhaps I'm on the low-end of the spectrum for being weirded out by such things.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: PoutineLover on July 25, 2017, 10:04:39 AM
I have a used couch and it had no bugs or any problems. Just a great deal. If you have your own vehicle, go check out the situation and ask about pets, bugs and smoking. Most people selling furniture are moving or redecorating and there's nothing wrong with the goods.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: affordablehousing on July 25, 2017, 10:20:32 AM
Leave couches in stores for the suckers. Few year old couches on craigslist are a great option as long as you can find the shape, style, color, fabric you want. The risk of bed bugs is unbelievably remote, and make sure you ask the person straight up if they ever had bed bugs.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: totoro on July 25, 2017, 10:50:08 AM
I've bought 14 used couches.  I've only bought one new couch that I can recall because I had a short window and couldn't find a good used one.  All of our places are furnished with second-hand furniture.   Buy high end in upscale areas, inspect carefully and confirm that there are no issues with bed bugs.  Lots of people just want help getting their furniture out because they've bought a new set or are downsizing.  I usually end up giving unneeded furniture away free online myself - I appreciate the moving help and I dislike selling.

Oh, and the price differential is pretty staggering.  A nice $3000 (new price) couch and chair set sells for about $300 used where I live.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Tdub on July 25, 2017, 11:04:18 AM
Yes, I would never buy a NEW couch!

I avoid fabric couches in general, and probably wouldn't take a couch from a curb, but if you are buying one off of Craigslist, nextdoor, or similar, you usually have the opportunity to go inside the seller's home and judge their cleanliness. We got a faux-leather couch for free from a stranger who was moving her family across the country and just wanted it gone, and have an eye out for a free or inexpensive real leather couch. There are many that come up, so we can be picky.

Furniture depreciates even faster than cars, and quality made furniture (leather couches, quality wooden furniture) can withstand several owners easily.

I also bought a used Casper mattress (gasp!). It was owned by a college kid who had two mattresses, one at school and the Casper at his mom's. When he graduated and moved back in with his mom, he had to get rid of one. The house was very clean, the mattress was used with a protector, it did not smell, and it had only be used for a couple summers here and there. Saved $800 over getting a new one.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: mcneally on July 25, 2017, 11:05:56 AM
I bought my leather couch/ loveseat/ chair set on CL for $500. The guy still had the original receipt showing he paid $3,300. Definitely worth the savings to me (not that I would have considered a $3,300 set).
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Fire2025 on July 25, 2017, 11:09:43 AM
I only have used furniture in my house.  Much of it from sidewalks and alleys.  But it sounds like you want to buy new.  If that's what you want to do, and you are spending the extra mindfully, you are the only person you have to ask.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Zamboni on July 25, 2017, 11:27:48 AM
Yes, I have three sofas, a loveseat, and an upholstered chair, all off of Craigslist. I bought new decorative pillows for one of them. My other half has an entire home full of Craigslist furniture, including the bed. It has all been great. If you have time to look and aren't in a rush, you can even likely find the exact style and color you want.

It's hot enough here that I can just leave anything in the back of my van parked on the street during the day during summer to eradicate any bedbugs . . .  having been bitten a few times in an (extremely expensive) hotel, I would not wish those nasty little varmints on anyone.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Mr.GrowingMustache on July 25, 2017, 11:43:28 AM
Yes if it's clean and high quality real leather couch!

You can also go for a fabric one too if it's a year old or so, just make sure it's clean. You can always take off the pillow covers and check?
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Broadway2019 on July 25, 2017, 12:10:20 PM
I would search clearance or floor models at furniture stores. Sometimes you can get great deals without breaking the budget. I would never deal w/ craigslist for mattresses or couches. Other accent furniture such as tables are okay though and much cheaper on craigslist.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Le Poisson on July 25, 2017, 12:13:12 PM
We have bought a lot of used furniture off CL (Kijiji here, but same thing) we had one chair come with bugs.

Our policy now is that we only buy used upholstered furniture in the winter, and we leave it in the garage for a week or so to freeze solid before bringing it into the house. Although there are varying reports of the kill time for bedbugs, this seems to be OK for us. I would avoid buying from a person in an apartment building or condo as the bugs can move between units and are harder to control.

I think the risk of bedbugs is very much a regional thing, and in the Toronto area, there have been many reports, so while we are wary, we will still go after the savings.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: oneday on July 25, 2017, 12:26:46 PM
I would and I have, three different times.  Once was from a family member, once was a friend of a friend and once was Craigslist/stranger.  We cleaned all three couches after purchasing, just to feel good about having a fresh start.  Never had bugs.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: clarkfan1979 on July 25, 2017, 04:05:59 PM
We bought a used couch from a used furniture store for $150. We sold it two years later for $120 on craigslist. It was a sleeper sofa and we didn't want to move it again.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: DTaggart on July 25, 2017, 04:07:27 PM
I've bought several off of Craigslist with no issues.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: 405programmer on July 25, 2017, 05:42:02 PM
I've bought many used couches and it's always worked out! Obviously look out for any glaring flaws with the couch when you see it in person. One tip if you're super worried about bed bugs (and have a garage that can be empty for a few nights). Leave the couch in your garage overnight with several bed bug traps around it. Then if you find bed bugs in the traps in the morning the couch goes to the curb and you don't have to deal with bugs inside your house!.

Here's a cool trap that works well. http://www.instructables.com/id/Easiest-Bed-Bug-Trap/

I've used this method on any free couch I've acquired. All the paid couches were from nicer areas and I didn't have the luxury of "testing" the couch before throwing it in an apartment. Also more money doesn't equal more comfort. My $50 craigslist couch is more comfortable than a 600 wayfair one...

Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Tris Prior on July 25, 2017, 06:44:50 PM
Nope. My city is VERY infested with bedbugs. I don't see the value of buying a cheap couch and then having to shell out a few grand for bedbug remediation.

(but then, bedbugs freak me right the fuck out and I know multiple people who despite repeated exterminations could not get rid of them and ended up having to toss most of their belongings.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: surfhb on July 25, 2017, 07:06:06 PM
I would never NOT buy a used couch as long as its a newer model.

Only thing I buy new are wetsuits.   
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Zero Degrees on July 25, 2017, 07:29:11 PM
Negative. Too many things you cannot see.   

Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: jc4 on July 31, 2017, 09:34:43 AM
I've got 3 used couches in my living room, all from different places: family, co-workers, and friends.

If you're buying online, see the couch before you commit. If the couch looks fine, the home it came from looks fine, and the people who sat on it first look fine, buy it. Otherwise, keep scrolling.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Gondolin on July 31, 2017, 10:28:40 AM
Leather or pleather from CL is the way to go.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: PlainsWalker on July 31, 2017, 10:29:10 AM
I've had good luck wrapping furniture in landscape black plastic sheeting and leaving it to sit in the sun. A day with internal temperatures getting up to 180 F or so takes care of most creepy crawlies. I have obtained multiple pieces of furniture over the years from friends, family, curb side shopping, and dumpster diving (Metal Slug Arcade Game). I have never had a problem after giving the furniture a good clean out in the yard followed by the heat treatment.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Peanutty on July 31, 2017, 12:55:06 PM
Heck yes I would!! Wouldn't even think twice, really.

I am however in a cold climate so maybe the "bug" thing is less of an issue here.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: freeatlast on July 31, 2017, 01:45:30 PM
Thanks all - I decided to go for it but now DH is not onboard. Maybe if I find the perfect one he will change his mind. Our bedroom set, dining chairs, and all our lighting fixtures and lots of other accoutrements are second hand, but these are wood and metal.  BUT - he is not squeamish about second hand clothes..... hmmm.....I guess he feels differently about upholstery :{
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: libertarian4321 on July 31, 2017, 02:12:54 PM
When I was a poor college kid, and I knew who'd owned it before, maybe.

Now, not so much.  I'd just buy a reasonably priced couch (you can buy them new for less than $200) and make it last 20+ years.

You buy something "off the street" and God only know what kind of bodily fluids may have seeped into the cushions. 

Sweat, diarrhea, vomit, blood, semen, animal excretions, and whatever the original owner's Grandpa let out of when he expired on that couch and his sphincter released.

I'm frugal, but there are limits.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Hotstreak on July 31, 2017, 02:37:07 PM
I bought a used futon off craigslist, the prior owner had it in his bonus room as a guest bed and it had been used very little.  Solid frame... $1,000 new, bought for $200.  Can't beat that.  After 4+ years of daily use I'm looking to replace the mattress, which is around another $200 for a good one.  Very good deal and no complaints.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Spork on July 31, 2017, 03:54:15 PM
We've purchased several used chairs/couches over the years -- mostly leather, but some upholstered.  In every case it was some really fancy house 2x bigger than mine and the furniture had probably been used 3-4 years before they had to redecorate.  I really think the chances of getting bedbugs or the clap or ...whatever... is pretty slim.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Hotstreak on July 31, 2017, 04:39:35 PM
We've purchased several used chairs/couches over the years -- mostly leather, but some upholstered.  In every case it was some really fancy house 2x bigger than mine and the furniture had probably been used 3-4 years before they had to redecorate.  I really think the chances of getting bedbugs or the clap or ...whatever... is pretty slim.

Hate to judge people based on where they live, but it works.  My futon's prior owner lived on a very rich road, with a house worth 3x the average sales price of a "normal" house.  People who buy nice houses buy nice stuff to fill them.  All of the futons I looked at in apartments around town had major issues.. broken boards, large tears, stains, smells, etc.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: aFrugalFather on July 31, 2017, 04:55:39 PM
I would never NOT buy a used couch as long as its a newer model.

Only thing I buy new are wetsuits.   

So then you buy used socks and underwear?  Thats another level of frugality I haven't been able to go to.

I do buy used couches.  In fact I mostly just buy used furniture. I do try to get mattresses new when possible. 
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Tami1982 on July 31, 2017, 06:22:05 PM
I've only ever bought used.  Used to be because it was what I could afford.  Now it's because I'd rather someone else handle the off gassing of the chemicals. New stuff makes me sick with headaches and sometimes asthma.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: englishteacheralex on July 31, 2017, 07:28:32 PM
Gosh I never even thought about the potential downsides. Only bought one couch ever in my life, and it was $300 off craigslist.

I'm in Honolulu, which is a horrible place to buy furniture new. The shipping jacks up the price on everything. A much better strategy is to wait for PCS season and buy furniture off military families who shipped stuff here on the government's dime and wants to get new stuff when they move back to the mainland.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Bicycle_B on August 01, 2017, 01:15:35 AM
People who think there's no risk of bedbugs, be aware that just because you got lucky doesn't mean there's no risk.  A 10 or 20 percent chance is high enough to be careful. 

+1 to those who suggested ways to kill bedbugs with heat (big sealed bags in the sun)! 

Yes, rich sellers improve your odds, but nothing beats a good heat session for killing little bloodsuckers.  Which hide in things like couch seams, cushions and interiors better than many of us detect.

That said, all my furniture is used.  Mostly from friends, but searched Craigslist for one item earlier this week.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Nudelkopf on August 01, 2017, 03:24:09 AM
Yupp. I've bought 3..  currently typing this while lying on one of those 3! :)
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: researcher1 on August 01, 2017, 07:39:49 AM
I also bought a used Casper mattress (gasp!).
It was owned by a college kid...

Did you use a black light when inspecting the mattress?

If you had, I bet you would have found all sorts of interesting things.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Dicey on August 01, 2017, 08:23:20 AM
Hmmm, I'm FIRE, so I'm reading this in bed. We replaced our old store-bought mattress with a lovely used foam mattress we found on NextDoor a few months ago. The luxuriously decadent sheets I'm lazing on came from an estate sale. Later, I will dress in something cute that came from a thrift store. I'll make a smoothie in a blender that came from a moving sale, and then I'll sit on my microfiber Pottery Barn Sofa, with washable covers, that I found on CL, and fold some laundry, including socks I bought for DH at a White Elephant sale. Later, I'll grocery shop and I'll drive my used car to the next town's Costco, 'cause we're road trippin' this weekend and need gas and food for the journey. To do so, I'll have to leave the comfort of our million+-dollar clown house. All paid for, because we're not afraid to buy used stuff, upholstered or otherwise. Sheesh.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: TheFrenchCat on August 01, 2017, 08:41:32 AM
We have, once off Craigslist.  But it was from a grad student who didn't realize her roomates also brought a couch, so we felt pretty confident.

Another option-at least where we live, furniture with fabric has to be treated for bugs in order to be sold at a thrift shop.  Not quite as low cost as CL, but still much cheaper than new and you get more piece of mind.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: CindyBS on August 01, 2017, 08:59:00 AM
Back in the day, maybe.

However, DS is immunocompromised so now - absolutely not.  Things like that can host mold spores - especially if it got wet a lot, and the risk of pneumonia is very high with that population. 

Something to think about if you have immunocompromised people in your life.
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: Britan on August 01, 2017, 12:13:39 PM
Off Craigslist? Nope. Nope nope nope. But in my area, bedbugs are slightly more common than the national average. Which is way too high for my risk tolerance.

I would buy (have bought) one off a trusted friend.

I would consider buying from a second hand store that treated all upholstery for bedbugs and other nasties first.

You can also find really great deals on floor models or ordered-but-never-picked-up-because-the-color-didn't-match-expectations new furniture at stores or outlets especially when combined with a memorial, Labor Day, or 4th of July sale. I got a $5k 4-piece couch set for $700 that way.

I have mold and dust allergies, so I'm a little more picky about things like upholstered furniture, but there are ways of getting stuff between "new and full price" and "off Craigslist".
Title: Re: Would you buy a used couch?
Post by: With This Herring on August 01, 2017, 12:52:37 PM
Well, I wouldn't buy a used couch when there are so many available for free...