furniture flipping

5 Tips for Buying and Selling Furniture for Profit

In Tips by Jamie P.

When it comes to buying and selling furniture for profit you might wonder if it is actually possible. In my experience and to give a simple answer, it is very possible. There are a few tricks that I have learned over my years of buying and selling furniture, I think it is important for anyone interested in getting started to read through these five tips. They will provide you with the basic knowledge on how to find better success when buying and selling furniture.

5 Tips for Buying and Selling Furniture for Profit

  1. Choosing Profitable Furniture Pieces
  2. Where to Buy and Sell Used Furniture
  3. Choosing Your Flipping Method
  4. Take Professional Photos
  5. Evaluate

1. Choosing Profitable Furniture Pieces

This tip might not be something a beginner will probably think about. I know when I started I didn’t consider how much time certain items would take if I were to flip them, for example buying a table and chairs set. If you were to fully sand, reupholster, paint, stain, and finish each chair you are looking at hours even days of work. But if you never did it before you might think its easier and done much faster. In any business its important to understand time is money, it is no different in the furniture flipping business either.

“Remember that time is money” – Benjamin Franklyn 

In my experience, some great items to buy and sell for a profit with less time put in would be:

Dining Tables

There are many different style dining tables out there, big and small, but they can be found at prices under $50. I have purchased dining tables at thrift stores for $20 and sold them for hundreds of dollars. These projects I could have fully flipped in 2 days, with the longest delays being paint drying times.

Coffee Tables

I have had some decent luck selling coffee tables, I feel they are a little harder to get that ROI you might be looking for. After a few hours of flipping a coffee table, it can be finished later that day. Of course, I don’t sell right away, I give proper times for materials to cure. Anyways, coffee tables are very easy and fast projects where you can buy them for $10 and sell for $100 to $200 depending on styles.

Accent Chairs

Personally, I haven’t done many projects like accent chairs and couches. However, many people have bought items like this and fix up minor issues, then do a fully professional clean, then sell them for top dollar. It is possible you can find free or almost free accent chairs and end up selling them for top dollar. This takes a certain type of skill, but could certainly be profitable.

Night Stands

I have done some nightstands, but you need to find the right ones. Old vintage solid wood is the best kind to refinish. They can be worth a lot of money if cleaned up or refinished. If you want to see one I bought, refinished, and sold, check this video out: Vintage Nightstand Makeover Video

Anything With Fast Turn Around

Basically, if you can find items that you can buy cheap and sell for a huge profit with little work go for it. I bought an old metal headboard one time at a thrift store, I painted it with gold metallic paint and it looked brand new. It took me like ten minutes to paint and it was easily worth 5x more than what I paid for it. In this business it’s about being creative while being productive, pick and choose projects that you think will have the best ROI.

What not to buy?

Sometimes when you are buying items over the internet you might think the furniture is fully wood and can be restored. However, you must be careful because it might be a plastic material, particle-board, or just junk! Always ask what it is and if they are unsure check it out before paying! Trust me, I made this mistake before, but I just painted over it instead of my original plans. Remember, quality wood is what sells at higher prices. Furniture brands like Kroehler, Stickley, Durham, and many others might be worth a good dollar!


2. Where to Buy and Sell Used Furniture

Buying and selling is the name of the game, you must figure out where to find the best deals and where to make the most profit selling. What I learned about buying and selling furniture for profit is to be patient, rushing when buying or selling can make you quickly lose out on profits.

Where to Buy Used Furniture?

Wait for the best products and deals, because buying something for too much money limits your ability to make a decent profit. There are a few places I prefer to buy my furniture and where I consistently keep looking for the best deals. Of course, this depends completely on where you live. Here are some of the best places to buy furniture at huge discounted prices:

  • Thrift Stores
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist.com
  • Kijiji.ca (Canada)
  • Garage Sales
  • Estate Sales
  • Local Online Buy and Sell groups or Websites
Selling Refinished Furniture?

When selling it might not be a good idea to take your first offer. If y0u post it and someone wants to buy it right away, this could mean a number of things. Maybe you priced it too low, and you wouldn’t want to sell for to little. It could mean you have a good item and the price is right, and you are lucky! Sell at a price where you make enough money you feel most comfortable with the amount of work you put in. As a beginner, you might not get higher profit margins. Take time and grow your business. Create a Facebook page in your local area if you want, this can help sell items fast and even give you a good reputation to increase prices if you offer good products.

If you get lowball offers don’t answer it, at least right away, give it some time and if you arent getting interest you could counter offer back a reasonable price.

Anyways, when I sell my furniture pieces I choose 2 places:

  1. Facebook Marketplace
  2. Kijiji.ca (Because that’s the most popular Buy and Sell website in my area)

The best places to sell your furniture would be Facebook Marketplace and your local buy and sell website. Most places in the USA and parts of Canada sell products on Craigslist. The best way to make the most profit is selling on multiple channels if you have the option.

Where to Sell Refinished Furniture?
  1. Facebook Marketplace
  2. Craigslist and local buy and sell websites
  3. Etsy
  4. Buy and Sell Apps
  5. Team up with local second-hand furniture stores

If you know any other great places to sell furniture please comment them below!


3. Choosing Your Flipping Method

In my experience, I have flipped furniture in two ways, one of them requires little to no work, and the other you work for your money. Here are 2 ways you can make money buying and selling furniture for profit:

1. Buy – Clean – Take Photos – Sell 

This first method takes little work, all you have to do is pick up the furniture, take it home, and clean it up. It sounds super easy, but realistically this way of making a profit usually comes with marketplace experience. When you see a piece of furniture at a low price and you know it can sell for a lot more, go ahead and buy it! Then wipe it down, clean it as much as you can, so it looks best in photos.

Don’t worry I have more to talk about later on when it comes to photos. However, get the listings of your product on multiple places, for more than what you paid. If you can make $50 or more dollars from buying and selling without any work it is a decent deal.

I purchased a pair of antique side tables for $35 one time from Facebook Marketplace, I cleaned them up, took top quality photos, and sold them for $100. I made $65 for less than an hour’s work.

2. Buy – Clean – Refinish/Remodel – Take Photos – Sell

This is the typical way of buying and selling furniture for profit. Your intentions should be clear before you buy these items. I usually have some sort of vision/plan what I am going to do. Whether it be a piece of wooden furniture or something else, I like to plan what I am doing so I can get an estimated selling price before I even do the project. This gives me an idea of what profits I am going to get so I am not wasting my time! Simply buy the furniture, refinish it, take good photos, and sell it!


4. Take Professional Photos

When I say take professional photos I mean a few things:

  • Use the best camera you have
  • If possible use natural light, dark photos are not good!
  • Stage the furniture appropriately
  • Colour Correct on Computer/Phone

I don’t understand why people would spend so much time refinishing a project then take dark and unattractive photos. These photos get no attention and will limit your ability to make a good profit, it actually lowers your chances of making a sale. New phones have amazing cameras now that gives no excuse too why your photos are junk. Sometimes I use my iPhone, but if I want that clear professional look I take out my Canon T5 or Panasonic G85. These cameras are great pieces to have, in my opinion, Canon takes the best photos. The quality is so good and clear, making them stand out when listed. The Panasonic G85 is what I use for my videos on my Youtube Channel, video quality is great and it can take decent photos if needed. I am not telling you to go out and buy these expensive cameras, my girlfriend owns the Canon because shes into photography and I have the Panasonic because I like making high-quality videos. If you happen to have a good quality camera at home use it!

Like I said new phones have great quality cameras and if you use them properly you will get great quality photos. However, the next step puts you ahead of your competition.

Edit your photos! 

You can edit photos online, but if you can use Adobe Lightroom then I highly recommend you should. The app is somewhat complex but if you get the basics it will help improve your photo quality. You can color correct, lower and higher the exposure, add clarity, sharpen, and much more. Overall it increases the photo quality which increases the quality of the item for sale, resulting in a higher chance of a greater profit.

Here are some projects where I took a few extra minutes to get quality photos:

 

coffee table refinished refinished coffee table refinished vintage nightstand vintage nightstand handle refinished

 

Take multiple angles and be creative. Unique angle photos will catch potential buyers eyes, trust me I sold this White Antique Table for $150, and I believe it was because of this photo here that I snapped on my phone:

white antique table leg

 

The goal is to capture the eye as quickly as possible, and with a realistic price, someone is going to make that purchase, don’t worry!


5. Evaluate

If you are having trouble selling and your piece of furniture isn’t selling, you might have to fix up some stuff. On Facebook Marketplace, it shows the views on you item and sometimes you get very few. This means fewer buyers see it and you probably aren’t getting much interest.

On certain websites it also shows the number of viewers of your item, this helps you in the evaluation stage.  Sometimes this means you should change your photos up, take new ones, just to have a new look might bring in some new buyers and increase traffic on your listing.

If you are having a lot of viewers on your listings and not selling, this might mean your price is too high. I recommend waiting a few days if no interest at all you should consider lowering that price.

Promote Your Listing

If you know your item is worth that higher price tag, getting more viewers to your listing significantly increases your odds of selling. There are many ways to promote your listing, on Facebook Marketplace you can boost your listings to get more viewers. This means you pay to have your ad show up in Facebook user searches on the marketplace.

Most buy and sell websites, local or not, provide a similar option to boost your listing. I think this option is best if you have a very profitable item you are having trouble selling. If you are only making a hundred bucks or so, spending 5-10 dollars in ads might not be the best decision, just because it doesn’t guarantee it just increases the chances.

Like I mentioned before, it is a patience game, and waiting you will still find that buyer. Creating that Facebook or Instagram page might help you sell fast locally, give it a shot!


Final Thoughts

These 5 tips for buying and selling furniture for profit will help beginners get started, but can also teach everyone a few tricks to make more money. If you are interested in tagging along my journey feel free to subscribe to the website and/or my Youtube channel.

This website will provide more details about my furniture flips, the tools I use, and the money I make on certain projects. The Youtube channel is more for visual representation, it provides my visitors with a visual image of my projects. This will show you how I do things and I don’t worry I will keep my projects coming!