May 11, 2023

How to Sell Used Furniture Online: 7 Best Practices for Savvy Sellers

Eric Mufasa via Pexels

Puzzled by what to do with your treasured but used furniture?

Whether you’re downsizing or simply revitalizing your space, you’ll probably need to wave goodbye to a few items (including some much-loved pieces!). After all, you don’t want your house or apartment to turn into a crowded mess.

However, dumping furniture that is still functional in landfills is a big no-no in today’s eco-conscious world. Every year, Americans toss over 12 million tons of furniture, much of which contains materials that don’t biodegrade, posing a threat to wildlife and local ecosystems. 

Plus, tons of people would cherish your pre-loved bookcase, vintage dining chairs, or table. So, why not help someone else be happy with finding your unique item and make a nice profit for yourself?

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find a buyer for your favorite dining table or sofa is to sell it online. As well as helping sellers reach a wide audience, online listings are perfect for busy professionals who don’t have time to haul their wares to a furniture dealer. 

If you’re unsure how to sell used furniture online, we’ve compiled a handy guide to get you started.

Assess the Condition of Your Furniture

Selling furniture requires a certain level of planning and strategic thinking. Before you dive into the task, you must assess the condition of your pieces. No matter how pretty your beloved furniture is, it won’t sell if it’s sustained major damage. Similarly, some items are illegal to sell, including cribs, mattresses, and certain types of baby furniture.

Don’t worry too much about chips, scratches, and faded upholstery – these “flaws” add character to your items! We’re talking about holes, termite damage, missing elements, or structural problems. As well as putting off potential buyers, broken items are a nightmare to ship due to their fragility.

If a piece is beyond repair, try sending it to your local recycling center or listing it online for free. You’d be surprised at the number of people willing to pick up bits of old wood, metal, and more from people in their local area! Remember that old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!” 

Tips for Listing and Selling Your Item

Ready to sell your furniture and make a handsome profit? Here are our top tips for getting started:

1. Do your research

Like any savvy entrepreneur, grab your laptop and a calculator before listing any furniture. Start by checking out similar items online and comparing their price tags. Once you’ve determined a fair price, weigh it with other considerations. 

  • Would you be willing to ship a relatively inexpensive item halfway around the globe? 
  • Who will cover the costs of shipping? 
  • Are you hoping to shift the item quickly? If so, you may wish to lower the price, enticing bargain hunters to take the piece off your hands.

If you’re selling a rare antique, it would be worth showing the item to a professional dealer for an accurate appraisal. You never know – you could be sitting on a goldmine! Literally!

2. Prep the item

It’s only polite to clean and prep your pieces before offering them online. Plus, you’ll ensure your items look as attractive as possible in the photos. 

To clean your items: 

  • Start by emptying drawers and checking any crevices for bits of dirt and dust. 
  • Fabric items require extra attention, such as steam cleaning and vacuuming, particularly if they contain stains. 
  • Wood and glass items require polishing with special sprays and a soft cloth. 
  • Once your item is sparkling clean, touch up any paint chips or repair minor damage.

3. Take some eye-catching pictures

Something as simple as a photograph could distinguish between an amazing sale and a bitter disappointment. Most online sales platforms allow you to upload more than one photograph, so don’t hesitate to take quite a few snaps. And try to keep the background as bare as possible. Most people don’t want to see household clutter.

One of the best tips is to use suitable lighting conditions to give your furniture the best chance of finding a new home. Broadly speaking, you should take the photo in daylight and avoid using flash or filters, as they can cause discoloration. But, extra bright light will highlight the flaws in your piece, so avoid taking photographs in direct sunlight. Adjust the lighting accordingly if you’re trying to sell a certain aesthetic. Sultry and low-level lighting will work nicely if you want to sell a vintage bookcase to shabby chic lovers. 

While a phone camera is fine for capturing photos of your items, don’t hesitate to use a high-quality camera if you have one on hand. It would help if you also experimented with different angles and camera settings, capturing all the small details buyers will find interesting about your piece. 

4. Write an accurate and engaging description

While you may not consider yourself a talented copywriter, spending time on an honest description of your piece will give buyers the information they need to purchase. Key information to add to your description includes:

  • Dimensions, including height, length, width, and depth
  • Materials and colors
  • A truthful account of damage and wear-and-tear
  • Information about how to use the item
  • Best features
  • Heartwarming stories about why you’re selling the piece (people love an item with history!)                                    

5. Choose your selling platform(s)

Loads of online furniture marketplaces are available, so select a platform that best suits your needs. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • OfferUp: OfferUp offers free listings, although you may need to cover costs such as shipping fees if your item sells. Overall, this app is super easy to use and allows buyers to haggle if they’re unhappy with your list price.
  • Craigslist: Who hasn’t heard of Craigslist? As the ideal online bulletin space, this site is often used to sell used furniture. However, it’s worth noting that Craigslist doesn’t offer the same types of seller protection as other sites.
  • Facebook Marketplace: If you want to keep things local, Facebook Marketplace is great for finding nearby buyers. Plus, you won’t need to pay any service charges! Just remember to stay safe and meet buyers in a public place.
  • Bonanza: Bonanza is perfect for those with several items to sell, allowing you to set up a virtual storefront. You won’t need to pay listing fees, but Bonanza will take a small commission when your items sell.
  • Trove: Trove is a popular site selling art, furniture, electronics, and other household wares. It’s another site that allows you to list items for free and takes a small commission from each sale. One of the best things about Trove is that it allows buyers to search for sellers in their area – great news if you don’t want to pay shipping fees.
  • Route 66 Furniture: Want to sell your furniture with minimal effort? Route 66 Furniture does all the hard work for you, picking up your pieces and taking them to the Route 66 warehouse for selling. Naturally, you’ll make less money by choosing this option, earning 50% of the profit on every sale. However, you may favor convenience over profit.
  • eBay: eBay is great if you’re nervous about the logistics of sending your items. If your items are too expensive and cumbersome to ship, eBay's local pickup service will handle the hard work!

6. Be open to negotiation

It’s often tricky to set the perfect price for your furniture. Interior design trends constantly shift, meaning your trendy minimalist dining table could quickly fall out of fashion within a few months. If your item isn’t selling, try lowering the price and assessing whether you attract more interest. Similarly, don’t be afraid to haggle with prospective buyers. If they really want the item, you’ll probably be able to meet somewhere in the middle.

7. Don’t overestimate your returns (and remember to have fun!)

Getting a little excited about the potential payouts you’ll enjoy from your old furniture is easy. However, you’re unlikely to make a fortune. Try to focus on the fact that you’re providing someone else with a fantastic piece of furniture and helping save the planet. If you’re worried about low offers, consider sharing the original retail price with buyers to show how much your piece is worth.

"Rehome" your furniture today!

So, now that you know how to sell furniture online, what are you waiting for? Plenty of online spaces are ready to list your pre-loved pieces and make another homeowner seriously happy. Once you’ve sold your furniture, why not consider selling other things with Sella? We accept small items such as sports equipment, designer apparel, electronics, and more. Get started today!