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How to Sell Your Used Furniture

Selling your used furniture is a better option instead of giving it away for free. You might be surprised to know what it may fetch you, especially if it's really old, perhaps from the time when your grandma couldn't spell the word! This Buzzle article will give you some interesting tips to get some real money out of unwanted furniture, which perhaps could be used towards buying a trendy replacement.
Tip to sell used furniture - catchy ad
A Useful Tip
Inspect your furniture carefully to determine if it's made by a renowned manufacturer. Look for markings on the furniture―on the back or inside the drawers. Antique furniture is in great demand and may fetch you an amount greater than what you expected.
Such is the custom of this world where the old is always replaced by the new. When it comes to furniture, traditional styles were replaced by the modern ones, which are now outrun by the contemporary options. In a world where trends change quicker than seasons, understanding how to dispose the older styles in a profitable way is absolutely essential. Speaking of selling used furniture, if you really want to get its true worth, you need to do some planning and research. Understand the fact that the process for selling furniture is different from selling other unwanted items, like your home-improvement tools. This is because you never know how valuable it might be for others. You see, most collectors have an eye for antiques or pieces that are worth being called 'collectibles'. For you, it might be just another grandma-ish kind of sofa set, but to others, it's classic furniture.

If the item is in good condition, then be assured that there are quite a bit of buyers out there. Even if you want to sell something as plain as unwanted plastic chairs, or a wooden table, know that someone somewhere is in need of it. Especially in areas where people live on rental accommodations, most bachelors may not want to invest a great deal of money, and therefore, would want to buy secondhand furniture at cheaper rates just for utility purposes.

Essential Tips to Sell Your Old Furniture

There are two ways to go about it: Either you keep some time in hand―about a month or so― and get a good price, or, you escape the wait and sell it to a local dealer―a consignment shop perhaps―at a not-so-good price. Which is why, we emphasize on time, which you need for your research, understanding, advertising, negotiating, and sealing the deal. The following points will help you understand how to go about it.

Inspect the Furniture

The first and foremost step would be to carefully inspect the furniture you'll be putting up for sale. Is it maintained well, or does it have obvious signs of wear and tear? Know that the condition of the items would determine the price you'll get, and the possible buyers you'll be able to attract. If the stains or scratches can be fixed, do so. Also, check if the furniture is made by a renowned manufacturer. Usually, there are labels of these brands on the furniture, mostly found inside the drawers or at the back. If possible, try to collect the history of the pieces you're targeting. Information such as the year of purchase, some interesting incidence associated with them, etc., would increase interest in the item. For instance, if you have had this couch for almost half a century, or it was gifted to your family by some prominent royals of the past, or perhaps, it has a nickname associated with it, like "The Cozy Couch", for its exceptional comforting qualities, etc. Highlighting these aspects would really help attract buyers.

Do Some Research

After you have evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of your item, comes the time to get involved in some serious research, which will eventually help you understand the value of your product in today's market. Start with an online search. Go to websites such as eBay and Craigslist to see how much other sellers are bidding for similar items. If you have an antique to sell, you can go through pricing guides at your library, or contact a local antique dealer. Checking out classifieds in the newspapers to see what the pricing trend is prevalent in the market would also be helpful. This process might take some time, but it's absolutely essential to know the furniture's worth.

Determine the Price

Well, this may be a little tricky, but you have to be as precise as possible. You shouldn't mark the price too much where it repels the buyers to even consider the product, neither should you mark it very low so that you get peanuts in hand. Try to be on the same lines as other competitors. If you have some exquisite features in the product, highlight them. Another point to be noted is to be realistic. Do not expect to get close to the amount you originally paid for it ages ago. Remember, the value of furniture doesn't increase with time in most cases. Normally, you should expect around half (or maybe lesser) of what you had paid, that too, if it's in great shape―no stains, marks, scratches, and other possible defects. For example, as Craigslist states, "IKEA furniture loses value faster than any other kind of furniture in the world. The second you take that KIPPLAN sofa off the IKEA lot, it's worth half of what it was, and it steadily depreciates after that until, about 5 years later, it's worth negative amounts of dollars. ... Leather sofas are the only ones that retain value, but only certain sofas, and even then, it should never sell for more than half of what you paid for it."

A lot depends upon the kind of furniture you have. If you have had this piece for many decades, or if it has been passed on from one generation to the other, and is worth being called 'antique', it would be best to take an advice from a trusted antique dealer in your city.

Spread the Word

As we always say, the best means to advertise is through the word of mouth. You may never know how a simple mention to your neighbor, or office colleague, may get you 'the' buyer you seek. The one downside of letting your friends and family know about this is that they might expect you to give them the furniture for free. Therefore, ensure that you mention it clearly that you 'need' the money for payment towards your new furniture.

Also, advertise in both print and virtual media. You can also think of a catchy ad and post it on Facebook, or perhaps make pamphlets and stick them around the city. You can also place the ad in the local newspaper and magazines. Don't forget to include a high-quality picture of the furniture, along with the expected price, your name, and contact information. This is essential as the first thing buyers would do is send you an email or give you a call. If you wish, mention the timings in the ad, in terms of when they should call you for inquiries or visit your home to check the item(s).

Brace Yourself for Inquiries

Trust us when we say this: You will get all kinds of responses! Some will try to negotiate, some will question too much, and some too little. You will get calls, emails, and most buyers would want to come to your house to see the furniture in person ..., so yes, you'll have to be prepared. If you have also posted ads on Craigslist or eBay, you need to keep a track of those responses as well. Most people prefer the former over the latter in order to avoid the botheration of shipping the item; after all, it's furniture we're dealing with and not a tiny jewelry piece!

It would also be a good idea to keep a record of the names and contact numbers of prospects who have offered you a price, even if it is less than what you expected. You needn't give them instant response. Take sometime to decide while considering the options that come down the line. After evaluating the offers that have come your way, contact the buyer that gives the best offer. It would be courteous to inform the others as well, once the sale has been made so that you don't leave them anticipating.

Some Additional Tips
  • While placing an ad online is considered the best way to sell used furniture, note that eBay charges a fee for the same, while on Craigslist it's free of cost.
  • If you don't want to get into the shipment of the furniture, mark the item as "pick up only" in your listings.
  • You can also hold a garage sale in your backyard to escape the complications involved in the process. You would need to advertise well in your surrounding area/locality for this.
  • Clean the furniture properly (without damaging it further) when placing it for display, or before taking pictures for the ad. Take recent pictures.
  • Be transparent about the condition of the furniture―damage, stains, defects, etc.
  • If you want to save on some tax, you can donate your furniture and avail tax benefits.
  • If you are selling through a consignment shop, understand their terms and conditions. Some shops buy it directly from you, while others keep it on display and pay you only after it has been sold.

While it may seem to be a lot of hassle, the outcome is definitely positive. These steps just help you widen your horizon when it comes to finding potential buyers. With a little bit of organization and patience, the process is not as difficult as it seems to be.
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Published: February 1, 2014
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