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Why Cheap Furniture is More Expensive?

Covid 19 has been tough on AirBNB hosts on multiple levels. Angry guests, staffing issues, enhanced cleaning practices, you name it. But one of the most difficult challenges has been in finding furniture. Setting up a new home can be delayed weeks and months over furniture. I deal with this all the time.

As a property manager, I see a lot of variety in decor. I freely admit that I cringe when an owner proudly shows me a room full of furniture and declares what a great deal they got off of Facebook Marketplace. There are deals to be had for sure, but are they really great deals? Let’s explore this.

Furniture that is for sale on Facebook Marketplace (and other online sites) is almost always used. How used? We will never know, but I’ve never bought a brand new couch and then sold it for $200, have you? My completely non scientific calculation on the average age of items on Facebook Marketplace is 5-10 years. Add to that the fact that the furniture is moving to a short term rental, where the furniture will be treated like hotel furniture, not Grandma’s furniture. This adds up to an excessive amount of wear and tear on an already worn out piece of furniture. Is this really a good idea?

The next thing to consider is the cost and frustration involved in changing out furniture once you have a calendar full of guests. As the quality of the furniture rapidly declines, so do your reviews. Soon you’ll have an emergency on your hands and will be begging favors to find a truck and some guys and swap out the old with the new.

Take into account the cost of new furniture. I bought an entire living room set recently for $1,700. Quality couches, couch tables and lamps, all in one purchase. Professionals will bring the furniture in, construct it, and it will last 5-15 years. I have a brand new, high quality product whose half life is years in the future.

Here is my next bit of advice: don’t buy a couch that comes in a box. Couches that come in a box are light, do you know why? Because they are made of particle board. Thin pieces of particle board. I recently had an owner who placed a brand new couch in a box in a unit in July. By January, the back wouldn’t hold screws, so the couch became a recliner. The owner is filing a claim, hoping to get reimbursed, but the fact is that now we have 3 things: 1) a brand new couch that lasted 6 months, 2) a guest who swears they did nothing wrong (and probably didn’t), and 3) we have a unit with a broken couch. As the property manager, I have to arrange guys to take it away within minutes of the new couch arriving. This is a total headache.

The moral of this story is truly you get what you pay for. Think with your guests in mind as you shop for your short term rental. Cheaper furniture will cost you a lot of money when you consider how quickly it deteriorates in your unit and the cost of replacing it frequently.

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