Getting a good price while making sure things sell

How to Price Used Items for Resale

TDS Reader Solutions

What's Fair?

We will be moving and don't plan on taking much of anything with us. We will be selling our appliances, furniture, etc. How does one come up with a fair price? I have been checking the prices online but haven't had any luck. Is there a rule of thumb or pricing guide? Everything is in like new condition and only 5 years old.

'Fair Price' is Not Always Fair

Let's eliminate your basic premise "Fair price". Fair has nothing to do with how you price an object. Selling is all about perceived value and how much someone else is willing to spend, regardless of the actual cost. Because you spent $1000 for couch, and you've only had it for 3 years and it's still in good condition, doesn't mean you can sell it for $700 or even $500.

Furniture generally sells for much, much less than its perceived value -- especially at a garage sale. Conversely, if an item is perceived as being highly valued and in low supply, it could sell for far more than what you paid for it.

How to Price Used Items for Resale

If you are planning on having more than one garage sale before you move, you can experiment with the pricing and see what the interest is. If it doesn't move, you can lower the price for the next sale. If time is an issue, why not run an ad and include the furniture in your garage sale? Keep in mind that sometimes it costs less to almost give something away than it does to cart it along with you to the next place. You have to determine what is the lowest price you would be willing to sell at, and then price above that. But be prepared to slash it as the day progresses.

Another alternative is to use a consignment shop. The downside to this is that you will probably have to arrange and pay for delivery to the shop. The upside is that you may sell it for a lot more than you could at a garage sale -- even after the consignment fee.

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The Way It Really Works

As far as determining a price for the lady who is moving and needs to sell her like-new furniture I have some ideas. I work in a resale shop, and if something is practically new, and marketable, meaning it is popular and easily sold, we can sell it for a little less than half of the original price. For example, a Pali crib, which was $700 new, and is in good but not great condition we can sell for $300. It is very popular, however, so it is easily sold.

Many times, parents come in to sell their used items, and are surprised to get so little for them. Sometimes it is because the items are worn, but also many items they purchased for a high price, such as bedding or wall hangings, just aren't popular and don't sell well.

My suggestion to the lady is to find the original paperwork, and an original picture of the item, attach these things to the furniture if selling at a garage sale, and then price these items at a little less than half the original cost.

Don't Forget...

Depends upon how you want to sell--classifieds, garage sale, etc. Start with half price and see how things are doing. Also, some types of furniture like baby furniture can command more money.

I assume that you have also tried dropping hints to friends and relatives?

eBay is a Good Source of Information

Checking eBay can usually give you good asking price for anything.

An Online Used Price Guide

I have used this Used Price Guide from with some success. You can look up blue book values for most household items and appliances.

Reviewed January 2018

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