It is notoriously difficult to figure out how much used furniture is worth.
What you can get when you sell your used furniture is bound to be less than what you would have to pay for it, but you don’t want to feel that you’ve given it away and you certainly want to get all the money you can for it.
Fortunately, there are some guidelines that you can use when pricing your furniture.
These are only guidelines, because there is such a variety in the range of furniture pieces and their condition.
Here are a few things to consider when trying to determine how to price your old furniture…
1. Look at the Quality
You must have noticed, furniture comes in many different types of quality.
At the upper end, you have solid wood, well-fitting and intricate joints, and typically a lustrous finish.
Cheaper furniture will tend to be made of veneered particleboard with rudimentary jointing, and may even have been self-assembly.
You need to be realistic when considering what condition your furniture is in. Try to look at the piece from the buyer’s point of view, rather from the sentimental viewpoint that you no doubt have when you have lived with the piece for some time.
2. Consider the Size
Size can be important to buyers, and very large pieces such as TV entertainment centers can be hard to sell.
If your furniture is a more popular size, then you have a larger potential marketplace.
While custom furniture may have been expensive, unless it is something that your buyer is also looking for, the selling price will not reflect the cost to you.
3. How Popular Is It?
Fads in furniture come and go, and the period that your furniture reflects will be important in deciding how saleable it is.
Buyers often look for a neutral contemporary style, unless of course they are seeking antiques with classic looks.
4. What about the Competition?
You are not selling your furniture in a vacuum, and one of the first things you should do is check how much similar pieces are advertised for.
You can look online at auctions, and at classified ads in local newspapers. You may even want to check out local thrift stores and furniture stores.
If the piece is particularly low value, it will need to be in very good condition to attract a buyer.
Of course, if you have antique or vintage furniture there will probably always be a market, though even then you still want to present the furniture in the best condition possible.
5. You Have to Depreciate
Just because your furniture does not have much wear, you can’t expect to charge a near new price for it.
Some furniture, such as for example leather living room suites, is expensive when new, but after 10 years it may still only get a quarter to a third of its original cost, no matter how well it has been looked after.
Pricing Used Furniture: How the Industry Does It
Since most people look at the average prices in the market to determine whether or not what they are paying is a good price, you have to look at the industry and see what other similar items are selling for. That helps you determine the fair market value for your item.
The basic guideline for the used furniture industry is to price it at 70% to 80% of the original selling price.
This should be the price it actually cost, not what the furniture store originally wanted – everyone knows that furniture is heavily marked up, and that you seldom have to pay list price when buying new.
This assumes that your furniture is decent quality, and not simply pressed particleboard, which in any case tends to fall apart after a few years. You have to look at your furniture with a critical eye to decide exactly how much discount you should apply.
How to Price Used Furniture for Craigslist / Garage sale
For me, the easiest way is to look at sites like eBay and Craigslist to see how much similar items in my area are going for. That should give you a good indication, enabling you to know exactly how much to sell your second hand piece of furniture.
Here are a few examples of pricing for different kinds of furniture:
- Sofa: $35-$200
- Dining Room Set: $150-$1,000
- Bed: $50-$400
- Arm Chair: $25-$150
- Dresser: $20-$150
- Table: $50-$150
- Desk: $25-200
- Loveseat: $25-$150
So How Much to Sell Your Used Furniture for
Say for example you bought a book case for $500, and it was still in good condition, with no scratches and with all its shelves intact. In this case your starting price level could be 80%, which means for an original price of $500, you would sell at $400.
If on the other hand it was scratched, and missing some hardware or shelves, then you would be wise to start off pricing it at 70%, which would be $350.
However, this is only the starting point for pricing the piece.
As mentioned above, no matter how good the condition, you’re going to have to reduce the price for age, unless of course it is an antique. The industry standard would be to deduct a further 5% for every year or two that you’ve owned the furniture.
Looking at the $500 book case again as an example, if it was eight years old and in good condition, you might deduct another 30% for age. Including the original 20% discount for it being secondhand, that’s a total of 50% off, giving a selling price of $250.
Pricing Antique Furniture
Once again, you wouldn’t have to depreciate the piece if it is an antique, in fact it may appreciate with age if it is looked after.
There is no easy way to price an antique, unless you are an expert.
If you have a worthy piece, you should get it appraised by a professional, or be prepared to do a lot of online research into similar pieces.
Pricing furniture can be straightforward, or may have complications.
The guidelines given above will give you a starting point, but your price will ultimately depend on what your buyer wants to pay, and how much you want to be rid of the furniture.