At some point of time or another, we all have furniture that we need to sell. Decorating styles change over time, we outgrow things, or sometimes we simply run out of space for everything that we’ve acquired. For the do-it-yourself type, here’s a guide to selling furniture yourself online.
Photos count. Most online buyers don’t expect pictures of used furniture to look as though they came from a Pottery Barn catalogue. However, furniture should appear clean and free of clutter and photos should be well-lit and as clear as possible. Taking pictures from multiple angles will give potential buyers a better idea of how the piece may appear in their own home. Don’t forget to show pictures of drawers opened and closed, in addition to any special details or damage.
State the facts. Be sure to include the name of the designer / manufacturer and the type of wood or fabric used, if available. Another obvious but frequently overlooked detail would be the dimensions and weight of the piece. If you’re not sure of the weight, a best guess will suffice.
Make the sales terms clear. Can you accept a local check or will only cash suffice? Should the buyer bring assistance to load the furniture? Are you willing to deliver it locally or ship it? More flexible terms require more effort from the seller, but typically result in faster sales and/or higher prices.
Be prepared to negotiate. No matter how great the deal is on the furniture you’ve just listed, everyone always wants a better deal. Try pricing your furniture a bit higher than what you’d expect to get for it, then be prepared to field lower offers and negotiate back to your preferred price. If you absolutely can’t go any lower on a price, be sure to state that the price is “firm” in your description.
Sell local, unless valuable. The market for secondhand furniture tends to be local, as furniture is large, heavy, and very expensive to ship. Unless you have a highly desirable piece of antique or mid-century modern furniture that’s worth thousands of dollars, than most pieces should be sold locally, with Craigslist being the preferred sale medium. If you do have something more valuable, considering offering it on a nationally advertised venue such as eBay, with local pick-up available. You can also offer to help make arrangements for freight transportation or through a website such as uShip if your buyer isn’t local and is willing to pay extra for shipping.