Finding Furniture

November 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Company's coming for the holidays and you need a new pull-out couch or a dining table to serve dinner. It's time to get shopping because furniture can take weeks to be delivered. Cori Estrow owns a furniture store and knows that buying quality furniture can be expensive. But she tries to help her customers stay on budget. "Watch for seasonal sales or a good clearance sale, where you can find fantastic items that are ready for delivery at a fraction of the regular retail price," says Estrow.

Consumer Reports says there are other ways to save on furniture. Going online makes it easy to comparison shop for brand-name furniture, using the manufacturer and model names, plus the model number.

Consumer Reports even had luck comparing some private-brand furniture, but it took some doing. Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports, says "First, we looked for a private-label love seat using the manufacturer's name, but we had no luck. But then we typed in love seat and the model number and we found it for $400 less."

In stores, Consumer Reports says don't assume the price marked is final. Bargain! "One mattress store we visited dropped the price by 600 dollars the moment we were the slightest bit hesitant," says Walker.

If you can't get a lower price, ask for free delivery, or other extras like throw pillows.

Another big way to save that people often overlook is the return policy. Walker says, "Policies vary from store to store or depending on the reason you're returning something. One store charged up to $400 to return a mattress set! So you really want to scope out the return policy before you buy."

Other ways to save, extended warranties are rarely worth the cost and skip fabric protection. And you may be lucky enough to find a store that lets you try out furniture. That way, you know if it will look as good at home as it does in the showroom.

Another big expense when it comes to new furniture can be shipping. Consumer Reports says don't get taken in by a deep discount out of state, only to find that the cost of shipping adds up to more money than buying locally.

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