Whether you’re seeking treasure or just unloading it, there’s a furniture resale site for you. Real Simple uncovers the pros and cons of the top five.
The Virtual Stoop Sale: Krrb Appeal
If you are already selling items on Etsy, you can add a Krrb It button to your bookmarks bar to automatically create a Krrb listing for that item. There’s also an option to auto-publish your listings to Facebook and Twitter.
In a nutshell: Pronounced “curb,” this sleek-looking site and app (free, itunes.com) offers an easy-to-navigate virtual showroom for vintage, secondhand, and handmade wares for sale in your hood. It’s all about being neighborly here. There’s a detailed ratings system for shoppers and sellers, and software is used to detect scammers.
How to buy: Type in your address, or set your location on a map to see what’s nearby, then use a slider to expand out—to “nearby” (1 mile) to “bike ride” (5 miles) to “road trip” (50 miles). A gridded photo display makes it easy to survey the goods. Cash payments are handled between buyer and seller; credit-or debit-card transactions are doable through the site.
How to sell: Sign up to create a “corner” (a listing) with your profile pic, location, and social-media links. In your profile, buyers can see how long it takes you to respond, how many new listings you have, and when you joined.
Fees: Krrb uses a credit system. One listing costs one credit (40 cents to $1, depending on how many you buy). But you can also get free credits: 10 for signing up, 50 for creating a Krrb board on Pinterest, and more. The seller pays a 10 percent fee for credit- or debit-card transactions. Most items are picked up; any shipping costs are negotiated between buyer and seller.
Good to know: You can direct-message the seller to ask for a discount. Look for an uptick in deals at the beginning and the end of the month, when people are moving and more desperate to unload.
The Designers’ Standby: Chairish
In a nutshell: Find a trove of furnishings of all types, from all eras, with a plucked-from-a-home-magazine style. Think Victorian settees, Lucite
bar carts, velvet headboards. “It’s the go-to site for beautiful pieces that designers buy but don’t end up using,” says designer Amber Lewis. The site’s discerning product criteria (high style? great condition? good value? check, check, check) ensures that you’re not scrolling through pages of junk.
How to buy: Filter by city first to see what’s available via free local pickup. When you’re ready to buy, click the Make an Offer button to try to get a lower price. “If you offer 10 percent below the list price, you’ll nearly always get it,” says designer Emily Henderson. A full range of payment options (credit and debit cards, PayPal) is available.
How to sell: To help determine what something is worth, refer to the Chairish Pink Book, which serves as a go-to online pricing resource for vintage furnishings. Snap up to six photos of your item at different angles and Chairish will white out the background of the primary shot for your listing. The Chairish app (free, itunes.com) makes selling a cinch, too.
Fees: Chairish takes a 20 percent commission on sales up to $2,500, and 3 percent to 12 percent for bigger-ticket items, depending on the sale price. Many sellers cover the shipping on small items that can be shipped via UPS ($9.99 to $29.99). Buyers pay for big and bulky items that require white-glove service (arranged via Chairish; average cost: $299).
Good to know: This isn’t the place to find a steal. “Chairish is highly curated— it’s geared toward design lovers,” says designer Nicole Gibbons. “You won’t find many fixer-uppers, and the prices reflect that.” Check back often, as 150 to 250 new items are added daily. If you’re looking for something specific, like a midcentury swivel chair, use the “saved search” feature, which sends an e-mail alert every time one shows up in the inventory.
The Sure Thing for Everything: Craigslist
Found something that you love on Craigslist? In your note to the seller, emphasize
expediency. (“I can pick it up tonight!”) E-mails that make a seller confident in
a sale are more likely to get
In a nutshell: This is where you go to find everything and the kitchen sink—literally. (A recent search of “kitchen sink” in Los Angeles yielded 967 listings.) The downside is having to dig through pages of stuff that can feel more trash than treasure—but those massive numbers of users and products can also mean big payoffs. “I’ve scored midcentury credenzas for $150 that would go for $1,200 at a nice vintage store,” says Henderson.
How to buy: Whittle down your options by using quotes in the search field (“lacquer console”). The gallery view lets you filter results efficiently, giving visuals of each item without your having to click. Payment—cash, check, or PayPal— is handled between buyer and seller.
How to sell: Once you create a post, it goes live within 15 minutes. It’s OK if your item has seen better days. Just be up front about any flaws in your description. (There are lots of buyers who don’t consider “mint condition” a must, but no one likes to feel misled.) A bonus of Craigslist is that with its more than 60 million monthly users, you can typically expect swift results. “I’ve sold many things over the years, and every time, I’ve gotten rid of them within a week,” says Gibbons. You can repost every 48 hours—any sooner and the site may block your post.
Fees: Postings are free; no commission. Buyers and sellers make pickup or delivery arrangements between themselves.
Good to know: This is the place to land an epic deal. Craigslisters generally want to sell fast, so they’re more open to negotiation than sellers on other sites are. When shopping around, use alternate search terms. In Craigslist world, a couch is a sofa is a love seat. And don’t forget to include misspellings. “If I’m looking for a dining table, I’ll always search for ‘dinning table,’ too,” says Henderson. As a seller, you may deal with no-shows. (There are no ramifications for that.) And because you’re meeting strangers, it’s a good idea to solicit a friend to be with you during a transaction.
The Global Go-to: Etsy
In a nutshell: One-of-a-kind goods from around the world, often handmade, are what you can bet on here. “Whether you’re looking for a brass tray or a vintage trash pail, you’ll probably find it—and it won’t be run-of-the-mill,” says Lewis. Sellers are passionate about their items, too.
“I’ve gotten handwritten notes from
sellers asking me to send photos of the piece I bought in its new home,” says designer Jasmin Reese.
How to buy: Search by category, trending items, or recommendations based on stuff you’ve looked at in the past. Use the Favorites tool to keep track of what you love and organize it by category. For in-person interaction, try the Etsy Local tool on the site, which lists events and shops that stock Etsy designers by city. Pay directly on the site using a credit or debit card, PayPal, or an Etsy gift card.
How to sell: You become a “shop owner” to peddle your wares. Etsy is serious about its mission: Everything must be handmade or vintage (at least 20 years old) or fall into the craft-supplies category. Etsy’s shipping services allow you to purchase and print out U.S. Postal Service and FedEx shipping labels at home, with savings of up to 30 percent.
Fees: Setting up shop is free; listings cost 20 cents each, and Etsy takes 3.5 percent of sales. The buyer typically pays for shipping for both purchases and returns.
Good to know: It may not be cost- effective to buy large pieces on Etsy. (“The barn door I recently bought was an expensive hassle to ship,” says Reese.) But the site is a veritable gold mine for accents, from pottery to pillow covers to lighting. “I’ve found gorgeous pieces from all over the world for a fraction of the prices at flea markets,” says Reese.
The No-Hassle Hub for City Dwellers: AptDeco
In a nutshell: This online marketplace offers secondhand furniture exclusively. Antiques and mid-century finds mix
with modern pieces from retail stores (West Elm, Restoration Hardware). You can have an item shipped for a fee, but most transactions go through the site’s low-cost shipping service in the New York City and Washington, D.C., areas. The service is rolling out to more cities this year, including Philadelphia and Baltimore.
How to buy: Sift by style, item type, trend, or room, or search for something specific. Negotiating isn’t encouraged. AptDeco advises sellers on fair-market pricing before they list. But you can message the seller to see if there’s wiggle room. Once you buy, use the delivery calendar to specify a desired date and time. A delivery rep will text you 45 minutes prior to arrival, and you can track the item via an Uber-like interface.
How to sell: It takes minutes to create a post. Snap a few photos, fill out a description, and set your price. Within 24 hours of submitting it, you’ll receive notification approving you to post. (AptDeco proofreads descriptions and edits images.) Items typically sell within 10 days. Once the sale is a go, you’re pinged with the requested delivery date so you can select a pickup time.
Fees: Listings are free; sellers pay a 23 percent commission for all items sold. Free local pickup can be arranged between buyer and seller. If AptDeco’s delivery service is used (from $35 for a small piece, like an ottoman or a side table), the buyer picks up the tab.
Good to know: Items are added every hour of every day—incentive to check back often. AptDeco partners with stores like BoConcept New York to sell (new) floor models and off- season items at hefty discounts. If an item wasn’t as described, you can return it within 24 hours of receiving it. A delivery person will retrieve it to return it to the seller, at the seller’s expense. Have a change of heart? Resell it through AptDeco and it will waive the commission.