febrero 28, 2024

Start furniture shopping early

This week I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely couple from Canada who just purchased a new condo in downtown Vallarta.  While they await the build’s completion, they decided to start putting together their order with us for their furniture and décor.  Even though they are not expecting to take possession of their condo for another three months, planning will save them money and stress.

The most challenging way to furnish a new home in Mexico is to wait until it is completed and then fly here for one frantic week where you try to buy everything, get it all delivered and set up.  One week is not enough time to do the job right.  I know because I tried to do that ten years ago.  Not only was I a complete basket case by the end of the week, but I also ended up purchasing many things just because they were immediately available.  That meant I did not get the style that I wanted, I had to settle for the colors available, and I sure did not get any deals.  I paid far more than I should have.  It would have been a much better investment for me to put all the money I spent into airfare, hotel and rental car towards my furniture.

Most furniture retailers had already downsized the inventory on their sales floor before COVID hit.  Regardless if you are in the US, Canada or Mexico, the days of furniture stores with thirty or forty sofas and just as many sectionals in a large building are pretty much over.  Furniture stores are moving to a model where they will show only one or two lines from their manufacturers on their sales floor.  They will have samples of available leather and fabric covers, stains and hardware, and images of different design options available for each line.

Today, it isn’t easy to find stores that allow you to buy items right off their floor with immediate delivery.  Instead, they have the piece manufactured to your specifications.  Before COVID, most manufacturing plants in North America could produce their goods in just three to four weeks.  For example, Palliser, who is arguably the best upholstery manufacturer in North America, consistently met their four-week production target.

Sadly, COVID has caused significant disruption in the furniture supply chain.  In the late winter/early spring of 2020, most retailers, manufacturers, shipping companies and any company in the furniture and décor industry shut down operations for a minimum of four weeks.  Many companies remained shuttered longer.  Orders that were scheduled for this period came to a halt.  With most people isolating at home and spending more time looking and using their furniture, the number of online orders for furniture and décor skyrocketed.  When it was all right to reopen the business, COVID workplace safety regulations required a reduced number of employees.  Even today, the furniture industry is only able to operate at approximately 1/3 of pre-COVID capacity.  Raw goods to make furniture are scarce and running out.  On-hand inventory of furniture is at an all-time low throughout the world.  Experts in the furniture industry say that they have not seen this high demand and low, slow supply since just after WWII.

Unfortunately, many first-time vacation, retirement or rental home buyers in Mexico don’t realize they will not be able to select from a vast inventory, buy everything and then have it immediately delivered.  It was unlikely they would have been able to do this before COVID.  It is going to be impossible to do for the foreseeable future.

Those that do not plan will end up settling for what is available and paying a premium.  Furniture buyers in Puerto Vallarta will have to sacrifice their preference for color, style and comfort.  They will be unlikely to buy furniture made with quality materials and will likely have to replace pieces within a couple of years.

For those of you who have been reading my column and posts, you know that I am a big believer in buying furniture that is well-made with the right materials.  If you are purchasing a condo or casa in Mexico, do not wait until the possession date to buy your furniture.  Start shopping early.

For more great information about furniture for your home in Puerto Vallarta, visit our website at www.solutionsmexico.com, join our FB group at Mexico Furniture and Decor, and check out our blog at www.propertyweb.com.

Sheryl Novak

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