The need to sell used furniture results from several situations. They include simply wanting to replace old furniture, moving, or needing to get rid of furniture that sits in storage. Get the most out of selling used furniture by following these tips.
Buried treasure or trash? If you are selling furniture that is in good condition or you think is valuable, get an idea of how much it is worth. Do you own antiques that belong to a period valued by collectors? Do you know if your furniture was made by a famous manufacturer?
In the case of antiques or valuable collections, consult pricing guides at the library or online or ask an expert. Visiting local consignment stores and looking at newspaper and online ads for similar objects can also give you an idea of how much your furniture is worth.
Even if your furniture is not old enough to be classified as antique (typically at least 100 years old) or have value as a collector's item, it is still worth something. Consider how much you paid for it, who manufactured it, how long you have used it, and its present condition.
Another fact worth remembering is that upholstered furniture can be hard to sell due to size and risk of odor or bed bugs. You will have more takers for case goods.
This can turn out to be tough. You don't want to undersell, but you don't want to price it so high that no one wants to buy it.
Be realistic when pricing your old furniture. The memories you might have attached to a piece are yours alone and provide no added value to the buyer. Similarly, a customized couch might not have any special value for a buyer either, and customers are usually savvy enough to recognize if you have inflated prices or overstated the value.
When pricing, also take into account any stains, scratches, tears, or dents, just as you should make note of a well-maintained or mint-condition item.
Your prices should not be any higher than the asking rate for similar products that you see advertised or displayed in used furniture stores. Decide ahead of time how firm you are going to be on your price and whether you are open to bargaining.
Decide How to Sell
Garage sales, yard sales, or moving sales might work for you, depending on how much time and inventory you have.
If you want to use the internet, include pictures and details in your ad to encourage serious buyers to contact you. Be prepared to meet with potential buyers, depending on how the site you choose works. If possible, move the furniture to an area where you don't have to let strangers inside your home.
Contact a consignment store or a used furniture dealer. They will come to your house, make you an offer, and pick up the items if they think they can sell them at a profit. Although this is very convenient, you might not get the best price for your furniture because they will only buy it if they think they can make a profit and will not give you top dollar. If you are short on time, don't want to bother with trying to organize a garage sale, or need to get the stuff out quickly, this might be a good way to go.
Contact a professional liquidator if you have a lot of furniture to sell, and they will suggest the best method for disposing of your furniture. They might suggest an on-site auction, moving everything to an auction house, or having a tag sale. They will set the prices for all items, and you can expect them to charge 20 to 30 percent of the sale proceeds. Go through all costs and commissions before you sign any agreements. To find liquidators, look online under "estate sales."
In the end, if you are left with items you were unable to sell, consider donating to charities or furniture banks. You get the satisfaction of helping someone and receiving a tax break.
Create an Attractive Ad
If you are selling the furniture yourself, you need to create an attractive ad that describes your furniture and creates a little excitement around it.
You could also mention a need that your furniture might fill to nudge potential buyers into action. A word of caution, though: Refrain from false advertising. Be honest about the condition of the furniture. Don't call a sagging couch "practically new." If you are advertising online, include a photograph. Most users click on listings that have images attached to them.
If you are holding a garage sale, in addition to advertising in the newspaper and online, create signs announcing the date and venue of your garage sale. List a few items to give an idea of what you are selling.
Check out regulations concerning signs in your area. You don't want to put a dent in your profits by having to pay fines.
Learn How to Negotiate
You might find that you have to negotiate with the buyer for the price of your piece of furniture.
You want to get the best price for your furniture, while the buyer is looking for the best deal. It might seem that both of you are looking for completely different things, but there is a meeting point: the place where both of you find value in the transaction.
You can make a counteroffer if the buyer's offer seems too low. Haggling is part of this process. But in the end, it depends on your level of comfort with it. Haggling might get you the price you want, or you might find greater value in finally being rid of the item and sell it for less than what you wanted.
7 Ways to Score Brilliant Bargains at Garage Sales. Consumer Reports.