Other Reflections

Selling Furniture Last Minute

I should have really started to sell my futon, microwave, desk lamp, swiffer, full-length mirror, etc earlier than one week before move-out. There would have been a larger market (underclassmen were still there), meaning greater demand, so I would have probably been able to sell for higher prices. Also I wouldn’t have to worry about competing with the glut of free furniture that people give away at the very end. But I learned somethings from this experience.

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  1. Sell as early as you can. The longer you wait, the lower you’ll have to bring the price down to get someone to pick it up in 3 days–especially for the big stuff. I had to bring my price down from $90 to $60 for the futon. Also, people take FOREVER to reply. So starting early helps.
  2. Don’t count on people saying they will buy it to come and pick it up. Especially when big stuff is involved. Especially when you have only 3 days until move-out. People can and will back out. I got about 10 offers for my futon before one finally worked out. On my last day, the buyer came an hour later than expected–luckily my friend who I was hitching a ride home with was also running late.
  3. Craigslist works, but is just a lot creepier. With Free & For Sale, you know you’re only separated from the buyer by one or two degrees. I got many offers from Craigslist people, but I feel less comfortable having a rando come to my room to pick up a futon.
  4. Don’t be afraid to bargain up. People know that you are willing to sell for lower when you post something. They will therefore haggle. When I re-listed my futon for $75, someone offered to buy it for $40. I told him that another woman was offering to buy it for $75 (although said woman was only offering $60), but that I would give it to him for $60. He accepted.
  5. Exaggerate the original price. I found that my futon was $200 and my mirror $50+ on the Walmart website. I definitely did not buy these things for those prices. Nevertheless, I posted the links as if I had, which made my items seem more desirable as they were so marked down from the “original”.
  6. Be nice. I was talking to a friend of mine who co-founded a fashion start-up. She says that one of the ways she negotiates with people whether it be her landlord or a car dealer is to be extremely nice. Everyone has a different style. I feel that this one suits me better.

Of course, it would have been easier to just give my furniture away for free. That would have saved me a lot of stress in my final week of college. (I did give my microwave and offer my mirror to friends, because I like my friends.) But selling my stuff was also a good way to practice marketing and negotiation skills.

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