How to Sell Second Hand Furniture
Think about all the details you receive when you buy a new piece of furniture: description, materials, dimensions, care. When you sell your second hand furniture, provide buyers with that same information. In addition, special care should be taken to fully document wear and damage. It's more convenient for the seller to have this information at the ready, rather than having to email back and forth. Follow these guidelines and you'll be on your way to selling your second hand furniture with ease.
TAKE A CLEAR PHOTO IN GOOD LIGHT
Buyers are often making the decision to purchase online so photos are crucial. Even if you're using your camera phone, you can use as much light as possible and take clear photos. AptDeco guides you to take photos of all angles and damage, a good method to follow when photographing any item.
This is possibly the most difficult step — to correctly estimate the devaluation and condition to a fair dollar amount. I recently found this cool furniture calculator which has been most helpful as I sell off second hand furniture. Keep in mind that most furniture loses 30-40% of its original value after purchase (before it's revalued as vintage or antique). Unfortunately, there's no lack of second hand furniture out there. Unless you possess a rare piece, you have a lot of competition and should price appropriately. Take a look at similar items on sites like AptDeco and Craigslist to get a better sense of prices in your area. In NYC, I find that items located in Manhattan are almost always more expensive, so I often search the other boroughs for better deals. If you want to price competitively, you might have to take into account the lower prices in your area.
TELL ITS STORY
Brands us this sales tactic all the time, so why shouldn't you? Give buyers a way to connect with your item. If the piece has been in your family for years, tell the story of its service in your home. If it's something you bought but never used, tell that story too because we can all relate. I like that AptDeco urges you to say why you are getting rid of the piece because it adds another layer to your story. Maybe you're moving to be closer to family, or for a new job. Maybe you're refreshing your home after a failed attempt to move. All of these details add up to make the experience of buying second hand furniture online more human.
Inspect all parts carefully
It's imperative that you look at your piece with fresh eyes when you inspect it for damage and wear. That spot from the red wine your friend spilt at your birthday party — you've become accustomed to it, but it's brand new to the buyer and they deserve to know about it before their purchase. Inspect your second hand furniture in bright light and document any issues.
Be honest about damage
Look carefully at the fabric and document any tears, pulls, stains, or other damage in photos. If the fabric is beyond repair but the piece has good bones, price it accordingly and remind buyers that it can be reupholstered. Inspect the other materials and note any wear, scratches, missing paint, chips, etc. If you feel confident to do so, you can polish wood to put it in its best condition before purchase. Try one of these natural recipes for polish.
MEASURE & LIST THE SIZE ACCURATELY
Measure every piece you sell and list the length, height, and width clearly and accurately. This is a very important step as buyers are often making decisions from a photo online; they must know if the item will fit their space. If you don't include measurements, you're going to miss a sale or will have to field more emails than is necessary.
NOTE AGE & USAGE
Again, be honest. To qualify as vintage, it must be least 30 years old; more than 100 years old qualifies it as an antique. Note the age of the furniture and where you acquired it, if possible. When I sold a chair on AptDeco, I mentioned that it was rarely used and was covered with a throw most of the time, and therefore it showed little wear. Finally, please note if you have pets or are a smoker.
Whether you are selling second hand furniture online or in person, these guidelines will make the process smoother for both you and the buyer.
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