It’s pretty easy to get a good deal on used furniture if you know what you’re looking for. A lot of people sell their furniture because life happens, and people consequently move on –with that, their furniture as well.
Used furniture, Second-hand, hand-me-down, or pre-loved, whatever you want to call it, a quality furniture will stand the test of time. They’re not cheap sometimes, but they’re worth their price most of the time. So even if you think that a new furniture would be cheaper, you might want to reconsider.
How to Get a Good Deal on used furniture
You’ll find that there’s no standard pricing for used furniture, as some may sell it for a high price, while some are willing to give it away. People who sell or giveaway their furniture have their own story to tell, and the furniture is a witness to that story.
However you come to posses it, you’ll be having a piece of someone else’s memory. I find that for used furniture, those memories usually command the price more than the market value itself. It’s kind of poetic in a sense, that a used furniture has more life to it than a brand new one, which is why I prefer the term pre-loved.
If you’re looking for the right pre-loved furniture for you, here are a few things that I’ve learned from my experiences, as well as some tips I’ve learned from others.
Shop all the places for your used furniture
There are many places where you can shop for used furniture: on the internet, at yard sales, in consignment shops, or those auctions done by a professional liquidator. Normally, those places also have their items posted online so you can conveniently browse through. You can just visit the physical address if you find anything you might want to inspect in person.
When you find a furniture you like, search the internet if you can find something similar around the area. Compare the style, price, and the difficulty of transport to get an idea of which furniture would be the best deal out of all those factors. It may also be worth waiting for other yard sales coming up if the one you’re eyeing is not really a love-at-first-sight buy.
I’m a bit obsessed with finding the perfect furniture at the best possible price even if I have to drive around all the yard sales and consignment shops around my home . But if say, the furniture has to be inspected or picked up farther away from my home, I’d be a little hesitant to drive over unless it’s an unusual piece that I REALLY want.
I’d be calculating in the expense of my petrol as well as a truck to hire if the item wouldn’t fit in my car. If my expense is way more than just paying a few extra bucks for the furniture that’s already within my proximity, then I’d prefer to buy the latter.
Have the second-hand furniture delivered to you at your expense
It’s not a popular suggestion because shipping furniture can be expensive due to the large size, heavy weight, and difficulty in loading a truck. Shipping furniture locally approximately costs around $75 to $250, while shipping furniture state to state, or across the country would be ranging from $300 to $800.
However, the inconvenience of having to pick up the furniture myself is what breaks the deal for me. I’ve had some bad experiences with picking up furniture, so much so that I would only specifically buy used furniture that has the delivery or shipping option. I wouldn’t want to hassle anyone to help me carry the furniture nor risk the possibility of breaking my back from doing it myself.
Besides, the cost of renting a truck and the hire that I’d probably need to help with the loading might turn out more costly than the shipping cost itself. But you’ll need to weigh out these factors yourself because we don’t want to defeat the purpose of getting a good deal only to break even because we refuse to pick up the furniture ourselves.
Consider the time and the effort to load the furniture into the car versus the possibility of having it delivered to your door for a small fee . If you do, factor in the shipping cost into your total expense for the furniture. Would it still be way cheaper than buying a new one? Most of the time my answer is still yes.
Usually, the new furniture that’s out in the market are manufactured cheaply and are not really made to last long. While the total cost of the used furniture may be a bit higher than the new furniture if you’re doing shipping, I’d still prefer buying second-hand if there’s a huge gap in terms of quality. An old but original Queen Anne Furniture will always be more expensive than a brand new IKEA furniture.
Buy Quality Furniture Straight from the Owner
People move in and out of places all the time. Their lifestyle needs change over time and this means that furniture moves around too. Some may want to upgrade while others’ sense of style has changed. There’s been people who’ve gone overseas or who’ve no other family to pass on their belongings to. There are many reasons why people sell their furniture.
This means that there is often a high volume of used furniture on the market. Before you purchase a furniture, go around a good neighborhood to find some furniture dumped out on road for trash day. Hotels, college dormitories, or apartments are also good places to ask around. You never know if they’re having any renovations, or if students or tenants are moving out and are selling their second -hand furniture for a good price. Craigslist, Aptdeco, and FB marketplace are also good places to look at.
Antiques or solid wood furniture don’t depreciate as much as some others. Periodic and designer furniture are a good example. But you can get a better deal on these when buying them straight from the owner rather than a consignment store.
Consignment or antique stores are out to get the best price for the item as much as possible. On the other hand, original owners usually just want to pass on their furniture to good homes where they would be used and loved well. Sometimes they have no care of the value of their furniture or they associate bad memories with it.
Negotiate for discount or other incentives on used furniture
Depending on where you are and who you’re dealing with, here’s a common technique you can try to get a good deal on a used furniture. It’s kind of basic but people either forget to do it or get embarrassed by it.
Just ask for a freebie, a bundle, a discount, or all or any combination of these techniques.
When I bought my work desk, I noticed that the seller was also selling a small bookcase. I asked if he would accept to lower the price of the desk if I buy the bookshelf as well.
Now he could either lower the price of the bookcase or the desk, either way, I’d be receiving a better deal with the discount since I needed both items anyway. I argued that I’d need to hire a truck to haul them back to my place and needed the discount. He refused, but he offered to deliver it for free with his truck if I purchased both items.
The truth was that I was going to buy both items anyway, but I just had to see if the seller would give me a better deal if I asked. In the end, I saved not only time and money for the transporting involved—all because I had asked.
So when buying a used furniture, see where you can have a better deal. It can be free shipping, a free smaller item, or asking to clean or refinish the furniture before buying (yes, I’ve seen people do this). People are willing to give more than you think out of different circumstances. If people are needing to move out quickly, they’d be willing to get rid of the furniture a lot quicker and would therefore be more receptive of lower buying offers.
Negotiating is not embarrassing or rude. It’s only natural to try and get the best price possible. They aren’t going to sell to you unless it’s a good deal for them too, so you don’t have to feel guilty about working hard to get a better deal. Just be honest with your dealings and you’ll get something out of it.
Check Out the Quality of the Used Furniture
Some used furniture command an extremely high price simply because of the brand name. But what we want is really the quality of the make rather than the brand. While brand has a certain quality to them, pay more close attention to the material and the construction of the furniture.
What type of wood is it? is it solid wood or is it made out of MDF or veneer? Is it a combination of any of these? Be careful how the items are describe in the online market. If they describe it as solid wood, ask if the inner compartments, drawers or shelves, are also made out of solid wood.
I made a mistake of buying a hutch thinking that it’s real wood, but the shelving were some kind of plywood corkboard. The construction was good though, with dove-tail joint drawers and soild wood back panels. But while I can easily change the shelves out for real wood, it would’ve been a deal breaker should I have known in the beginning.
How is the furniture put together? The craftsmanship would tell if it’s a furniture that would last you a lifetime. I’ve recently bought a storage trunk to use as a coffee table but doubles as a toy storage. It’s beautifully handcrafted and made out of solid wood (I’ve forgotten what kind).
The previous owner used it as storage for firewood. I’ve imagined it should’ve been battered so much because of the weight of the firewood and the way it’d be stashed into the trunk when it’s refilled. But the interior is remarkably well kept with a few minor scratches and bumps — barely noticeable. The lid is held together with real leather and you can see how it aged well.
Watch Out for Irreparable Issues with your Used Furniture
Bad Smell or Funky Odor.
Traces of pet urine or feces, cigarettes, or other musty odor that permeates from the furniture can be hard to get rid of even with proper cleaning. You can always use commercial cleaning solutions or repaint the whole thing with a specific product for furniture odor, but if it’s a big project to tackle that you don’t think is worth the extra money for a new one, skip it.
Illegal substances or chemicals.
I’ve heard of furniture having been stashed with illegal substances and being forgotten about. Sometimes these furniture are exposed to certain chemicals that won’t come off and could potentially become a health hazard for the home.
Broken or missing Parts.
A wobbly chair leg is one thing, but a missing leg is another. If something is irreplaceable, maybe it’s no longer manufactured or the particular production for the missing parts are obsolete, then it would be pointless to repair it.
Old stain or discoloration
Something can be fixed with a few washes and exposure to sunlight. But there are stains that cannot be removed. If it’s unsightly and cannot be obscured or hidden, such as a vase on top of a water stain, you may want to look for another (unless you don’t mind the flaw).
Pests. Borers, Fleas, cockroaches, rats!
Some of these pests may just invade your home if they’re already residing within the furniture when you bring it in. Make sure that if you have a wood item, that it’s free from wood borers or other wood-loving pests like termites. Other pests, believe it or not, can be harbored inside a couch you’re planning to get. So don’t forget to check!
Ignore Cosmetic Imperfections!
These are slight scuffs, scratches, dents, or anything that a good cleaning or finishing would fix. Cosmetic imperfections can also be something that can easily be replaced, such as a broken bulb, or a missing screw (unless it’s a very unique screw). If it’s something that you can do in a day, it might be worth the hassle.
Consider repair and Maintenance cost of the Used furniture
When you purchase your used furniture, you’ll quickly discover other associated expenses. such as cleaning and minor repair here and there. From little things like putting on new knobs, to big things like reupholstering the entire thing.
Upholstered Furniture takes a lot more effort and money to maintain when others would only need some wiping. When I purchased our lounge set, it was only for a dollar, but the cleaning and sanitation cost amounted to $100. Still a bargain, but I paid more for the cleaning than the actual item itself.
Before you purchase your used furniture, see if you can get the seller to do some or all of the repair or cleaning for you. I’ve seen some people agree about waxing or repainting, but a quick buffing or washing down would also help make it easier for you.
I hope you find a great deal on your used furniture. Do shop around and keep these tips in mind. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and inspect to your heart’s content.
Take risks when you can, or if you can afford to. The worst thing to happen is if you’d have to resell the furniture to get your money back. Who knows you can get a bit of a kickback to! Good luck!