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Quick Tips for Selling Furniture on eBay

It isn't as easy as it may at first appear to be


With eBay’s growing popularity, it’s only inevitable that more and more people are starting to sell major household items like furniture on eBay. Selling furniture, however, brings with it a unique set of challenges. Here are some things to watch out for and to keep in mind in order to help your furniture transactions on eBay to go smoothly.

  • Furniture is big stuff and will cost a lot to ship. Particularly if this isn’t business for you but merely a one-off sale, examine the furniture that you plan to sell and think about how large it will be when packed to survive shipping, how much it will cost to ship, or even whether it must be shipped freight. The more expensive shipping becomes, the more difficult it will be for your buyer to justify paying exorbitant shipping amounts instead of simply buying locally. If your item is very heavy or very large, consider selling locally rather than on eBay, or limiting your eBay sale to pick-up only so that you don’t have to deal with shipping it.

  • Photos are your sales team. When it comes to furniture, most items are things that people are going to put in their home, where they live. The best sales tool that you have, therefore, are great photos (more than just one or two, preferably), that show your piece from every important angle in the best possible light. It will be very difficult to sell furniture that is not clearly and exhaustively represented visually.

  • Size is very important. In your item description, be sure to give all relevant dimensions, since the first question in any interested buyer’s mind will be whether it fits the space or fills the role they’ve planned for it. Give height, width, and depth, certainly, but be sure also to give any other relevant dimensions—the distance between shelves in the case of a bookcase, the maximum weight the item can support in the case of a table or stand of some sort, or the with and protrusion of doors in the case of cabinetry, for example.

  • So are workmanship and materials. It’s generally not enough in the case of furniture merely to detail the manufacturer or general condition of the piece, though these are tremendously important as well. It’s also necessary to describe the materials from which the piece is made—solid oak, two-inch-thick marble, stainless steel, polyvinyl and glass, or anything else—along with the quality of the workmanship. No need to play your item down if it’s simply a department store item, but certainly remember to play it up if it’s hand-crafted by Bali natives or made in a famous workshop in a major city.

  • Mention any modifications or flaws as well. Shipping furniture is already a tremendously expensive affair, so your buyer will be twice as annoyed to receive an item that is not how he or she imagined it to be. It’s thus tremendously important in the case of furniture also to describe any changes that have been made to it—refinishing, reinforcement, the replacement of panels, components, or trim, and so on—as well as to note any flaws. If the piece is new or pristine, note flaws one scratch or blemish at a time; if the piece is old and shopworn, say as much up front so that you don’t have to deal with an angry buyer later.

  • Get an expert to help you pack it for shipment. Due to the size, weight, and unique shapes of many furniture items, they’re not designed to stand up to transit via normal shipping and transportation methods. To simply put a table, stand, armoire, or chest in a giant box with some peanut foam and send it off in the mail or by truck is to court disaster—your piece will likely arrive in pieces. In most cases, but particularly if the item is large enough to require freight shipment, enlist the aid of a moving company or the freight company in question to safely encase the item in crating, strapping, supports, and protecting covers so that it arrives in one piece.

eBay can be a great marketplace for all types of items, including furniture—but in the case of furniture, it’s critically important that you pay significant attention to detail and are very careful with shipment. Following these tips can help to get you on your way to a successful furniture sale.

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