Furniture can be a huge investment, especially new. Looking at price tags for even lower-end models can be daunting! Likewise, such a frequently-used part of your home often needs an upgrade or downgrade as your life changes.
The used market for furniture can be an overwhelming and confusing place, but with care and patience you can score a great deal on gently used furniture. Here are some basic tips to get you started.
Buying a Couch
Most couch buyers know how to spot obvious damage; it’s hard to conceal stains. But you have a much bigger problem when buying used: bed bugs. These nasty little creatures are hard to see and cause painful bites, and once they’ve infested furniture they’re incredibly expensive to get out.
It might be awkward for you, but there’s a simple test you can perform on Craigslist furniture to check for them. Kudos to the Bed Bug Treatment Site for this test:
- Lay a cheap white sheet on the ground and put the couch on top of it.
- While wearing gloves, run a credit card across the furniture’s entire surface.
- Next, run the card in fabric seams and creases.
- Use a flashlight to investigate the tight spots.
It’s not guaranteed, but typically you’ll see signs of bed bugs: dark red fecal stains or the bed bugs themselves. You should also bring a magnifying glass for anything questionable, and be thorough. Bed bugs are a non-negotiable. Even if it comes back clean, wash the couch thoroughly with steam cleaner and bed bug spray.
You can sometimes have better luck at consignment or Habitat for Humanity REStores, but still tread lightly.
Selling a Couch
When selling a couch, you have two options. The first is to sell it yourself on Craigslist, Angie’s List or a similar platform. Here you’ll find it easier if you:
- Thoroughly clean the couch. Rent a steam cleaner and go nuts. Febreeze it. Remove all stains.
- Attempt to appraise it. Check the tags, especially if you have an older or higher value couch.
- Include delivery in the price. People on Craigslist tend to lowball, and this gives you some price leverage.
You can also sell the piece to a consignment shop or a used furniture dealer, but be warned that you might not get much; they have to make a profit, after all. However, they’ll also take it off your hands much more quickly.
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