Before you buy any furniture there are several considerations that you must think about.
Make sure you decide where you are going to put the piece. If the piece is going to be stored, make sure there is no damp or too much heat and light. Extremes of atmosphere will harm your investment.
Measure carefully the space for the item to fit. Make sure there are no awkward obstacles, for example thin doorways and banister rails. Some larger pieces such as wardrobes can be taken apart with relative ease. Ask the dealer or auction house before buying to see whether this is the case.
Before you go out to buy, you should have a clear idea of how much you want to spend; what the purpose of the piece you are buying is (investment or pleasure) and what condition you want it to be in. Does your budget allow for restoration or will you need to buy a piece that is in very good condition? You may want to restore the piece yourself. Once you have allocated your budget, you will have to do plenty of research. The library and the Internet are both fantastic resources; there are also some very good reference books. Miller’s Guides published by Octopus are produced yearly; they have up to date auction prices and are invaluable for their information. It is worth being well informed before you buy as you may regret it later, especially if a large sum of money has been exchanged.
Talk to friends and family to see if anyone you know has bought antiques before. They may be able to recommend (or tell you to avoid) certain dealers.
It may be worth making a few visits to the shop or sale before you buy, so that you can see what type of items are being sold. You will be able to familiarise yourself with the etiquette to see whether people are bargaining or not. You may also get to know the shop/stall owners who could help you get a better price. When you are at home you will be able to research the items you have seen and evaluate the price. It will help you to develop a better eye for when you do decide to buy.