The Ultimate Guide to Selling your Furniture

Sell­ing fur­ni­ture should be easy, but it rarely is. Hag­gling with strangers, choos­ing the right price, actu­al­ly trans­port­ing the piece — just read­ing that is exhaust­ing. Apt­De­co was cre­at­ed for exact­ly this issue. Years lat­er, it’s safe to say that we’re experts in the art of sell­ing fur­ni­ture. We spe­cial­ize in mak­ing the sale quick and pain­less, while get­ting the largest pos­si­ble return. As the self-appoint­ed experts, we’re shar­ing every­thing you need to know about sell­ing fur­ni­ture — from the dif­fer­ent ways to sell (and their pros and cons), to prep­ping your piece and sell­ing at the right price. Here’s the A to Z on sell­ing your furniture.

1. Choosing where to sell

When it comes to decid­ing where you want to sell your fur­ni­ture, the options can seem over­whelm­ing. Choos­ing the best place to sell depends on a num­ber of fac­tors, like type of fur­ni­ture (is it brand name, vin­tage, or fast fur­ni­ture?), the item’s con­di­tion, how quick­ly you want to sell, if you’re will­ing to bar­gain, and if perks like includ­ing pick­up and logis­tics are impor­tant to you.

Mixed furniture for sale in a store

Online marketplaces

Apt­De­co

Apt­De­co makes sell­ing fur­ni­ture insane­ly easy by han­dling every­thing for you. Our pric­ing tool sug­gests the best sell­ing price based on your item’s con­di­tion and retail val­ue, we curate every list­ing to make it appeal­ing to buy­ers, our pro­fes­sion­al team han­dles sched­ul­ing online, then picks up and dis­as­sem­bles items at no extra charge, and trans­ac­tions are done entire­ly online (aka no cash + your per­son­al info won’t be shared).

Good for

  • Sell­ing brand name and vin­tage furniture
  • Items in good-to-excel­lent con­di­tion, or new items
  • Full ser­vice expe­ri­ence, includ­ing list­ing cura­tion, pick­up and scheduling
  • Sell­ing at any pace
  • Choos­ing if you’re will­ing to accept offers or not
  • Sell­ing at the best price
  • Shop­ping online like a reg­u­lar retail store (add to cart, check­out, that’s it!)

Drawbacks

  • It’s free to list, but upon sell­ing, Apt­De­co keeps a small por­tion of the sale profits
  • Cur­rent­ly only avail­able in some states (NY, NJ, CT, PA, DE, CA), but more to come!
Chairish

Chairish is anoth­er full scale online mar­ket­place, but they spe­cial­ize in high­er end and unique finds that tend to cost more than your aver­age piece of fur­ni­ture. Just like Apt­De­co, they cre­ate a seam­less sell­ing expe­ri­ence from cre­at­ing a list­ing to payment.

Good for

  • Sell­ing high-end or design­er furniture
  • Items in good-to-excel­lent condition
  • Full-ser­vice experience
  • Pro­fes­sion­al fur­ni­ture consignors 
  • Shop­ping online like a reg­u­lar retail store
  • Buy from any­where in the country

Drawbacks

  • Slow­er sell­ing — high­er price tags = more thought­ful buyers
  • Sell­ing fees — Chairish takes up to 30% of the sell­ing price to account for their full-ser­vice model
Offer­Up

Offer­Up is a self-ser­vice mar­ket­place where you can local­ly buy and sell just about anything.

Good for

  • Sell­ing fur­ni­ture of any brand, type or condition
  • Wide range of prod­uct categories
  • Avoid­ing sell­ing fees

Drawbacks

  • No added ben­e­fits — all pick­ups and trans­ac­tions must be arranged between buy­er and seller
  • No set prices — a sell­er can set their sug­gest­ed price, but buy­ers then have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make offers, mean­ing you might receive less than ask­ing price
Apart­ment Ther­a­py’s Bazaar

Apart­ment Ther­a­py’s Bazaar is anoth­er self-ser­vice mar­ket­place that spe­cial­izes in fur­ni­ture and decor, but has a few addi­tion­al fea­tures like fil­ter­ing by free deliv­ery and secure payments.

Good for

  • Sell­ing fur­ni­ture of any brand, type or condition
  • Low sell­ing fees — around 6%
  • Some ben­e­fits, includ­ing secure, online transactions

Drawbacks

Lim­it­ed ben­e­fits — there is no built-in pick­up option, list­ing cura­tion or online scheduling

Kaiyo

Kaiyo spe­cial­izes in buy­ing and sell­ing used fur­ni­ture in the NYC area, and oper­ates on a con­sign­ment model

Good for

  • Sell­ing brand name or fast furniture
  • Full-ser­vice experience

Drawbacks

  • Con­sign­ment-based mod­el — mean­ing they pick­up your item right away, but you won’t get paid until it sells
  • High sell­ing fees rang­ing from 10% to 60%
  • Basic inter­face
Craigslist

Good ‘ole Craigslist. The OG of buy­ing and sell­ing used items. It’s the clas­sic no frills online mar­ket­place, and needs no introduction.

Good for

  • Sell­ing fur­ni­ture of any brand, type or condition
  • Sell­ing quickly
  • Avoid­ing sell­ers fees

Drawbacks

  • No added ben­e­fits, like pick­up or list­ing curation
  • No secu­ri­ty or sat­is­fac­tion guarantee
  • High vol­ume of inquiries with low fol­low through
  • Only avail­able locally
  • Price hag­gling
  • Poten­tial­ly unsafe pickup/delivery situations
  • Items can eas­i­ly get lost in the shuffle
Face­book Marketplace

Face­book Mar­ket­place — like Craigslist, but with con­firmed pro­files that make it gen­er­al­ly less sketchy. They’ve also been step­ping things up late­ly with new ship­ping and fil­ter­ing options.

Good for

  • Sell­ing fur­ni­ture of any brand, type or condition
  • Sell­ing quickly
  • Avoid­ing sell­ers fees

Drawbacks

  • Lim­it­ed added ben­e­fits — deliv­ery has recent­ly become avail­able for some purchases
  • Lim­it­ed secu­ri­ty or sat­is­fac­tion guar­an­tees — a strong Face­book pro­file usu­al­ly means a safe trans­ac­tion, but noth­ing is guaranteed
  • High vol­ume of inquiries with low fol­low through
  • Price hag­gling

In-store selling

Vin­tage Stores

Most vin­tage fur­ni­ture stores tend to source their inven­to­ry from estate sales, garage sales and dona­tions, but some will accept direct sales. The best way to find out is to ask your local store directly.

Good for

  • Sell­ing unique or quirky furniture
  • Poten­tial­ly sell­ing quickly

Drawbacks

  • Sell­ing unique or quirky furniture
  • Poten­tial­ly sell­ing quickly
Con­sign­ment Shops

The OG of sell­ing used fur­ni­ture. We all remem­ber tag­ging along to at least one dusty con­sign­ment store with mom or an aunt. While the inter­net has made con­sign­ment shops less pop­u­lar, they still exist, and can be a viable option for sell­ing furniture.

Good for

  • Sell­ing high qual­i­ty fur­ni­ture, or fur­ni­ture sets
  • Peo­ple who need the fur­ni­ture to be out of their homes quickly
  • Secure and guar­an­teed transactions

Draw­backs

  • Old school sell­ing process
  • High sell­ing fee
  • Tricky pickup/delivery situation

Looking to donate or discard your furniture? Check out our tips here.

2. Prepping your furniture for sale

Cleaning furniture before selling it

If you want to make the best return on invest­ment, prep­ping your fur­ni­ture ahead of sell­ing it is cru­cial. How much you need to spruce up your fur­ni­ture depends on its con­di­tion. In gen­er­al, we rec­om­mend wip­ing down and dust­ing your fur­ni­ture to san­i­tize it for the next per­son. Next, check for any issues that can be eas­i­ly fixed, like loose screws or scratch­es that can be buffed out. If your item is uphol­stered and has been pre-loved for more than a year, spot clean­ing or steam clean­ing will help return it to its for­mer glo­ry. If it’s a high­er qual­i­ty piece, spend­ing some mon­ey to get it refur­bished can help increase the over­all value. 

These small updates will help make sure your piece pho­tographs well, is clean for the buy­er, and doesn’t get asked to be returned.

3. Listing your item

How to sell your furniture — girl taking picture of red swivel chair

The description

Always include details like orig­i­nal price, prod­uct link and prod­uct descrip­tion when pos­si­ble. Addi­tion­al details help to make buy­ers feel more con­fi­dent with a quick decision.

What to include

  • Issues like pet or smoke expo­sure, stains, scratch­es or loose screws
  • Length of time you’ve had the item
  • Why you’re get­ting rid of the item
  • How you used it — was that cre­den­za per­fect in your entry­way or did you use it as a makeshift bar cart?
  • How much you’ve enjoyed the item — peo­ple love a story!

Images

You’ve cho­sen your sell­ing plat­form and start­ed list­ing your item. Next up, the often-dread­ed task of upload­ing images. Con­sid­er­ing pho­tos are the thing that draws a buy­er to your list­ing, they’re extreme­ly impor­tant! It’s make or break, and worth those extra few min­utes of effort. 

Sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, post­ing between 5 and 7 pho­tos helps your fur­ni­ture sell the fastest. Pho­to qual­i­ty mat­ters, too. For the best results, stage your images in a clean set­ting (like your liv­ing room or a plain white wall) and make sure to take pho­tos in good light­ing.

What to include

  • Every angle of the piece (side, front, back)
  • Up close shots of the item’s flaws — If any­thing, includ­ing dam­ages will make buy­ers feel more com­fort­able pur­chas­ing from you since you’re upfront about it.
  • The item’s orig­i­nal retail page image — this real­ly helps buy­ers see the item in all its glory
  • A shot of the item from fur­ther away

Last up, if you real­ly want to make a good first impres­sion, give your pho­tos a quick edit. Give it the old ‘auto’ but­ton makeover, crop out any dis­trac­tions in the pho­to, and add some bright­ness and sharp­ness for extra detail.

Pricing

This is pos­si­bly the biggest fac­tor in how quick­ly your item will sell. In our expe­ri­ence, the best price is around 60% off the orig­i­nal retail val­ue. If you can’t wait to get an item off your hands, then start here or go with a steep­er dis­count. Time is money!

If you need extra help, try using our pric­ing tool. It’s free and gives you the opti­mal price point for your prod­uct based on details like con­di­tion, brand name, and retail price.

4. After the sale

Con­grats! You did the impos­si­ble — you sold your item. Now, depend­ing on what plat­form you used you have some deci­sions to make.

Moving out furniture that you sold

Arranging pickup and delivery

If you used a full ser­vice plat­form, like *ahem* Apt­De­co, you can skip this part. Lucky you. Apt­De­co will han­dle sched­ul­ing and pick­up. Then, on pick­up day, they’ll come pick up the item from inside your home and deliv­er it to the buyer. 

If you used a self-ser­vice plat­form and need to deliv­er the item, you have a few options:

  • Hire a Task Rab­bit — they’re rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive and you can get a dis­count on your first use. 
  • Rent a U‑Haul — if you feel con­fi­dent enough to dri­ve a U‑Haul (good for you!) this is your most bud­get-friend­ly option. They usu­al­ly cost under $50 for a few hours, and you can add on a dol­ly and oth­er tools to make trans­port­ing the items easier. 
  • Send it in an Uber — if your item is small enough you can send it away in an Uber XL for the buy­er to pick up at their doorstep. Bonus: this is a Covid-friend­ly option for both par­ties. Just make sure you give the buy­er the car eta and details.

Creating a safe experience

If you did­n’t use a pro­fes­sion­al ser­vice, cre­at­ing a safe expe­ri­ence is extreme­ly impor­tant. Most of the peo­ple who buy from you will like­ly be very nice human beings who show up on time, pay the cor­rect amount, and for­get your address. But just in case of a not-so-nice human, here’s what to do.

  • Don’t allow any­one that isn’t a pro­fes­sion­al into your home. This is the best way to ensure your safe­ty. If the item is heavy, ask a friend to help trans­port your item to the side­walk or hallway. 
  • Don’t give out your exact address. If pos­si­ble, give the buy­er your cross streets and meet them there with the item. If you have to pro­vide an address and live in a mul­ti-unit build­ing, omit the apart­ment number.
  • Bring back­up. There’s safe­ty in num­bers! In the off chance you do have an odd encounter, hav­ing a friend with you will smooth things out. 
  • Agree on the final price and pay­ment method ahead of time. Recon­firm that the price you have both agreed on is final, and make sure you’re in agree­ment on how the buy­er will pay. The safest options are Ven­mo or Pay­Pa since you can ensure pay­ment has gone through before the buy­er leaves.
  • Ask for pay­ment before hand­ing over the item. Don’t allow the buy­er to load the item into their car or take pos­ses­sion of your fur­ni­ture until they’ve paid you in full.

5. The best part

You made that mon­ey and now you get to spend that mon­ey. That cash isn’t going to spend itself! And you need a replace­ment [insert name of item you just sold here]. 

Our suggestions for finding your next treasure:

For brand names and cool vin­tage finds that come from near and far
For high­er end, one-of-a-kind items
For a quick replace­ment piece that does the job

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