Better Homes and Gardens online caught up with Tim to share his Gumtree buying and selling secrets with us.
What are some of the best buys you’ve picked up on Gumtree?
I found four 1960s TH Brown chairs for forty dollars that were in great condition and used them around our dining table for almost ten years.
What’s the most you’ve spent on a single item on Gumtree? What’s your cheapest buy?
I think I might have spent $200 on a video monitor for an art exhibition and then I found a Dolphin torch for five dollars which I used in a live talk on Australian design. That little orange torch toured the country with me.
What kinds of things should people look out for if they want to add a touch of mid-century to their home?
I actually think Australian pottery from the '70s is one of the best small items you can find that isn’t as clichéd as some of the other things and has an earthy quality.
What are your top 5 Australian mid-century items to look for on Gumtree?
- Tessa chairs are always available and well priced.
- Sebel integra chairs as a good looking outdoor option.
- Any of those Chiswell and Parker sideboards are still very popular.
- I like the more obscure Australian-made lighting.
- The best and most underrated after the Featherston Delma setting.
What are your top tips for buying and selling on Gumtree?
1. Research, research, research!
It’s always worth putting the time and effort looking around at what’s available if you are looking for something interesting on Gumtree. Whether you’re selling or buying, make sure you dedicate time to research what’s out there to help understand the average price of similar items. It never hurts to ask a few questions. That said, even though doing your homework is important, buying something that excites you is always a thrill.
2. Don’t judge a book by its cover
I’ve found some incredible second-hand pieces over the years and not all of them have always been in perfect condition but you often don’t have to do much to get things look amazing. Often a wooden table or chairs just needs a good wash and a polish with any wood oil or polish you have around the house. One good trick for plastic items is to clean them with Brasso. Sounds weird but it works a treat.
3. Keep an open mind
Sometimes older items may not seem like your cup of tea but they are often incredibly well made and it will last longer that anything you can buy today at the fraction of the price. Out of context an item might not look like it will work in your house but I think you will be often surprised. It might need a clean or a lick of paint or simply a different way of looking at something may mean that an “ugly duckling” could suddenly be your new favourite thing.
4. Practice safe trading
Whether you’re buying or selling, now has never been a more important times to practice safe trading. To ensure you are keeping yourself and those you come in contact with safe, try to clean your item before dropping them off. It’s great if you can leave an item somewhere safe for someone to pick up. For small items I use a courier service like Sendle. You just need to ask the seller to pack the item into a box for you and then email them the cover sheet to stick on the box. Then they leave it out for the courier to grab it. It’s also a great way to buy things interstate and it means the seller doesn’t have to worry about a trip to the post office.
5. Provide detail when listing an item
If you are selling make sure you take good pictures. We’ve all got great cameras on our phones these days…there’s no excuses. The last thing you want is people constantly messaging you and asking for more pictures. The more descriptive the better is my rule of thumb with selling things and it will help you reach more people. For example, if you're selling a sofa, include the designer, the style and the colour so if someone is looking for a 'green' sofa or a '3-seater' sofa, it will come up.
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