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Furnishing your house through eBay

Steve Ratner talked to Boston.com readers about furnishing his home through eBay.

Steve_Ratner: welcome. i'm steve ratner and for the next hour i'll chat on how i used ebay and the internet to equip and furnish our new modern house.

ideaguy: Here's a question - how could you be sure you were getting the real thing, such as the KWC kitchen faucet?

Steve_Ratner: first, you should check the seller's rating and read what some buyers have said about their experience. most everything i bought came in a box with a factory warranty and a sales receipt.

waveney: beautiful home. is the graphic black and white area rug an e-bay purchase?

Steve_Ratner: sorry to say it wasn't. it's a ligne roset purchased at adesso.

NH_Bargain_Hunter: do you also sell on Ebay?

Steve_Ratner: i do, but not that often.

ChrisAverill: Steve, I was glad to see the piece on your house in yesterday's paper... it looks great! What would you say is the best way to ensure the quality of what you're purchasing on eBay? Things always look good, but sometimes don't turn out so great. I hope you're doing well!

Steve_Ratner: the most important way to ensure quality and that you're getting what you pay for is to check the seller's rating. i did a lot of reserach on various products. i learned what to look for and what to look out for.

howie: Was this cheaper than furnishing the normal route? I know eBay is sometimes more expensive

Steve_Ratner: absolutely. it took alot of time and research to avoid the pitfalls. the internet is perfect as a research tool. i was able to get quality products at greatly reduced prices.

homer6755: If you got stuff in the box, do you suspect any of the items were "hot"?

Steve_Ratner: most of the time the product was purchased by a person wjo decided they didn't like it after all. some products were part of a construction job and the contrator sold the leftovers. i never received anything that i thought was "hot."

ricardo: Did you get burned on any of your eBay purchases? I would think if you furnished an entire home at lease ONE person screwed you over.

Steve_Ratner: i was very careful and paid a lot of attention to what folks said abot their experience with the seller. there was only two times i was disapointed with a purchase and the seller made adjustments.

kv23: What a beautiful home. Do you have any tips on keeping shipping costs reasonable, especially for larger sized items?

Steve_Ratner: most of the big items we purchased on ebay we bought from local sellers. i was able to pick them up directly from the seller.

carla: were the light fixtures in the bedroom used or NIB? and the sofa, new or used?

Steve_Ratner: all new. the light fixtures were owned by a person who changed their mind after they purchased them. we bought the sofa from a company in england (www.intirium.com).

donkey_fred:sounds like it took you a long time to furnish the house. did you get frustrated in the process by your half-finished house?

Steve_Ratner: it took over a year. it got really difficult towards the end of construction because the contractor needed certain things quickly. so, it was fun and stressful all at the same time. there was a couple of items i just couldn't get on ebay and had to purchase locally.

flasunshine: i would like to replace the carpet in my house with hardwood and have been looking for deals on the internet without much success. what is the best way/best place to look for flooring on the internet?

Steve_Ratner: we used builddirect.com for the bamboo and duro-design.com for the cork floors. both turned out excellent!

KG: as far as they door hardware locks etc? could you send me E-bay seller ID's?

Steve_Ratner: i've been asked that question many times. it was one of the first items i bought on ebay and it was so long ago i can't track back that far. it was a seller in england.

flasunshine: did you let the shipping costs deter you from buying anything in particular or did you factor that into the purchase?

Steve_Ratner: if it cost too much to ship we most likely bought it locally. i think the biggest item we purchased were three toilets. even with shipping we payed $175 less than the best price locally. many times the tax savings offset the shipping charges.

arche-bay: did you spend a lot of time, bidding, being outbid, etc?

Steve_Ratner: i took lots of time. but the hunt was lots of fun. i knew exactly what i wanted to pay for an item and i never got caught up in the bidding process. the secret i think is to bid the highest price you're willing to spend and place that bid 20 seconds from the end of the auction.

bob: What items would you reccomend buying only on Ebay vs what items would you reccomend buying locally?

Steve_Ratner: we purchased most lighting, door hardware, sinks, toilets, faucets, bath and kitchen exhaust fans and some furnishings on ebay. shipping costs are the detrming factor on what to buy locally. you wouldn't buy a $150 bed on ebay and spend $150 to ship it.

 
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