Corey and I recently moved into a new house and, if you’ve ever moved then you’ll know that a huge part of packing and moving is getting rid of stuff.
SO MUCH STUFF. Where did it come from? Why do I need it? Is it multiplying?!
We have been on a mission over the last few months to clear our house of any clutter, get rid of things we don’t use, and just generally purge our home of all the random things we’ve been holding onto just in case. We had quite a bit of furniture to sell both before we moved (things like our couch and dining room table that wouldn’t fit in the new house) and after we got here (when we realized things wouldn’t work in the new house). I’ve had a couple of questions from readers about how to sell furniture online, so I figured it was time for a post all about our process for listing things, getting them sold, and making a bit of extra money by selling your furniture online.
There are two basic resources I’d recommend for selling furniture – of course, there are other options out there but these are the two most popular and easy to use. What are they? Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
I won’t dive into the details of how to use these platforms because they’re relatively straightforward and I’m going to assume that we all understand how to use both Facebook and Craigslist by now. What I am going to focus on is which one I prefer (and why) and how to make the most profit with the least amount of effort when you’re selling furniture online.
Because, really, that’s the goal, right?!
How to Sell Furniture Online
For starters, let’s compare the two options. Craigslist is the tried-and-true way to sell furniture online for most people. It’s familiar, we all know how to use it, and it’s pretty easy to use. Facebook Marketplace, on the other hand, is a little newer and more unfamiliar. We all know how to use Facebook, but Marketplace still feels like uncharted territory for many of us. I know that up until recently I wouldn’t have considered straying from good ol’ Craigslist, but friends, I have seen the light. Facebook Marketplace is the way to go and let me tell you why.
- Facebook Marketplace is much faster to post on. Craigslist isn’t exactly difficult, but if you’ve ever tried to sell anything via Craigslist then you’ll know the website can be somewhat clunky. With Facebook, it’s all very easily done from your phone (I hate using Craigslist with my phone and have to bust out my laptop every time) and you can literally post a new listing in less than a minute.
- Facebook tends to target people closer to you. This may be a problem more unique to my specific area, but the Austin-area Craigslist covers a very large range. I can be drooling over something gorgeous online only to realize I’d have to drive an hour to get there. And I often had people reach out to show interest in what I was selling, and then back out when they realized I didn’t live downtown. This still happens on occasion with Facebook but I find it’s much easier to narrow your search by location and see things that are a little closer to home.
- Communicating with interested buyers is much more efficient. One of my number one frustrations with Craigslist is that it can be hard to communicate with people. I don’t love giving out my phone number when I’m selling furniture, but I’ve found that I really have to if I want to sell something quickly – because most people are awful about responding to emails in a timely manner! With Facebook, all communication is done through Facebook’s Messenger platform – it pops up on your phone just like a text message would but you don’t have to actually give your number out. It’s simple and quick, and I sell stuff so much faster when I’m using Facebook.
- There’s less haggling over price. In my personal experience, I’m much more likely to sell my furniture at (or even above) asking price on Facebook than I am on Craigslist. When I’m listing something on Craigslist I tend to get anywhere from 2-5 messages a day for the first few days it’s up, and things taper off after that. With Facebook? I’ve gotten upwards of 50 messages about a piece within just a couple of hours of having it posted! I rarely have anyone ask me to go down on price, and if they do it’s really easy to just say that I have a long line of people waiting for it, which usually prompts them to go for it at full price.
- I get rid of things much faster. I don’t know if this is a fluke or if it’s just a regional thing, but I’m able to move furniture out of my house much faster with Facebook than I ever was with Craigslist. I think it’s largely due to the fact that people are always on Facebook and thanks to its
creepythorough methods of targeting you for things they’ll know you like, it seems like Facebook listings get seen much more often and faster than they would on Craigslist (where you have to seek things out rather than having them shoved in your face and being reminded of them all the time like on Facebook). I often had to wait for a few days and even up to a week to get things out of my house when I was selling on Craigslist, but now that I’ve moved over to Facebook Marketplace, I rarely keep things in the house for more than 24 hours or so after listing them.
Are you convinced yet? If you have things in your home that you’d like to get rid of and you want it out of your home quickly, Facebook Marketplace is your best friend. Now, let’s move on and chat about some of my tips for ensuring you sell things at a good price and that you can get them out of your hair as soon as possible.
Tips for Selling Furniture Online
- Price to sell – but don’t undervalue yourself. There have been a few times that I’ve gone to sell something that I don’t anticipate getting any actual money for, so I list it incredible low (think $20-$30 for an old dresser). Every time I do that, I get 100+ messages from people literally fighting over the piece, and I’m reminded that maybe I could have priced it just a little bit higher. When you’re prepping to sell something, I recommend doing a quick search on Facebook to see what similar items are selling for, then try to price within that range. For example, if you have a dresser to sell, search for dressers in your area. The prices will vary widely for such a broad search term, but do a bit of poking around and look for pieces similar to yours. Let’s say that you see several different dressers around the same size and condition as what you’re selling, and the prices range from $75-$150. I’d recommend starting off somewhere in the middle – right around $100. You can always lower the price if it doesn’t sell within a day or two, and the bonus is that anyone who has shown interest in the piece will get a notification that the price has dropped! So, unlike on Craigslist where price drops can be a sign of desperation, on Facebook it is actually a really great strategy for reminding people that your piece is still available!
- Take good, clear photos. The photos are KEY, my friends. You don’t have to bust out a fancy camera or spend time styling the shot (I usually snap a quick photo with my phone), but you want to minimize the distractions in the photo and make sure you have good lighting and a crisp shot. If you’re taking photos inside, move the piece near a window and shoot with the overhead lights off – it’ll reduce any weird coloring issues from the overhead lights and will make the piece look even better. Depending on what you’re selling, I’d also recommend taking photos from a couple of different angles – just one shot from the front of the piece won’t show it off very well and may turn people off. If you take two or three different photos so you can see all of the angles, people will be less likely to ask questions.
- Be sure to include photos of any damage. You want to be completely upfront about anything that’s wrong with the piece you’re selling, or else you risk having a bunch of people come out to look at it only to change their minds. Since the goal is to get rid of it fast, you want people to know what they’re walking into. Mention any damage (minor or major) briefly in the description of your post, and include a photo. This will also cut down on people asking questions about it!
- Include measurements. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself answering zillions of messages about the size of the piece. Save yourself the headache and include all relevant measurements within the description.
- Don’t get fancy with the description. People have a very short attention span on Facebook. You could spin a beautiful tale about how this piece was passed down by your great grandmother’s neighbor’s hairdresser and it does all of these fabulous things, but guess what? No one cares. Include a short description of the item (to make it easier to find in searches), any damage if applicable, and the measurements. That’s it! No need to be flowery with it – just the facts.
- Be quick with your responses! People are impatient, and the faster you are at responding to messages, the faster you’ll get this thing out of your house. When people send you messages, reply as quickly as you can. Generally, I find that on Facebook people will just hit the “I’m interested” button, which will send you a message that simply says “I’m interested in this item.” I generally respond with something along the lines of “It’s still available, but I’ve had a good amount of interest and it’s first come, first served. Let me know if you’d like to come get it.” Then, pay attention to their response – you want to be able to get someone there to grab it as soon as possible!
- Don’t hold the piece for ANYONE. I know, it’s tempting. You want the first person who messages you to be able to get it – that’s only fair, right? Wrong. When it comes to buying used furniture online it’s every man for themselves and you don’t want to get yourself into a position of telling a ton of people a piece is being held, only to have the person bail at the last second. Don’t hold anything. I’m always very clear with anyone who messages me that I’m not holding the piece, and if they want to ensure they can have it, they’ll need to come as soon as possible. If I have someone tell me that they’re actively on their way to my house, I’ll generally have a prepared message that I send to anyone who messages me in the meantime – something along the lines of, “I have someone on the way right now, I’ll let you know if that falls through.” I only send this message if I have someone who tells me they are literally in their car and coming to my house – otherwise, it’s still up for grabs.
- For really popular pieces, have a response you can copy/paste into your messages. It gets really old, really fast to continually be typing the same message over and over when you have a lot of interest in your piece. I like to type a response out and copy it on my phone so that I can just paste it into future messages. It’s a little thing, but it has definitely saved my sanity a time or two!
It can be intimidating to start selling stuff in your home if you haven’t done it before. But, it’s a fantastic way to make a little extra money, and a good excuse to get rid of those things that you’ve always been a little “meh” on.
Corey and I sell furniture most often on Facebook, but we’ve also sold things like tools (Corey made close to $1,000 clearing out old/duplicate tools when we moved!), art and decor, and occasionally we’ll list things that we just don’t want to throw out. For example, when we moved into this house the previous owners had left behind a bunch of planters that we didn’t need – I listed the lot of them for $20 and had someone at my house within the hour to take them off my hands. It was much easier than finding a way to dispose of them all, and I made twenty bucks in the process!
One thing we’d love to get into in the future is actually making over pieces that we find on Facebook or Craigslist and trying to sell them for a profit – it sounds like a fun way to make a little bit of side money, and I could always use some furniture to practice new DIY skills on!
Until then, though, I’ll just keep constantly scouring for things in my home that I can throw onto Facebook Marketplace so I don’t have to drive to Goodwill. I mean, I’m all about any solution where I can be lazy and make a little bit of money.