There’s a strange phenomenon going on with furniture these days. In our Downsizing business, we frequently struggle to find buyers, or even takers, of the quality furnishings in our clients’ homes. And on the other side of the move, we’re finding our clients are waiting months and months for their new items to be manufactured and delivered.
Enter the sale of the furnished home. While selling a home either partially or fully furnished has long been the norm in resort or vacation areas, it has been rare in the majority of housing markets. However, the pandemic and the resulting supply chain headaches are creating a new interest in selling a furnished home.
Selling a Furnished Home
There is an overabundance of quality furnishings in the secondary marketplace these days. The ability to sell even a portion of the furniture with the home has an obvious advantage to the seller: the ability to avoid paying to move the pieces, and to recoup some of their investment with very little effort. They can also feel good that their expensive or custom items will be enjoyed by the new owners. A well-furnished home may have an advantage in a competitive market as well. We’ve seen a fully furnished and decorated property sell with the entirety of its contents in place, down to the linens.
The convenience and satisfaction does come at a cost: In our experience, the typical selling price for upholstered items, case goods or accessories are generally 20% to 40% of the retail cost, depending on condition. However, also in our experience, that’s about the same amount our clients will net if they choose to sell their items in an estate sale or through an auction house.
The advantage to the buyers is obvious as well! A furnished home can save them a ton of money and time too. First time buyers who maxed out their budgets to purchase the home may be grateful to have some furniture to use while they save up to buy their own, or wait for backordered or custom orders to arrive. Buyers purchasing second homes, or just looking for a fresh start are also good candidates for buying a furnished home. Some of our recent clients were thrilled that their buyers wanted to purchase not only their formal dining furniture, but also wanted the china cabinet with everything in it! Other wins include the sale of a grand piano, custom sized rugs, book cases and window treatments.
If you’re considering selling your home furnished, or even hoping to sell some of your furniture to your buyers, you should consult with your Realtor before you list your home. If you are going to advertise it as furnished, be prepared and have a separate, itemized list with pricing of the furniture. You may choose to tag furnishings for sale during the listing phase, or provide an itemized list of the items that are for sale. If your buyers are getting a loan to purchase the home, then the lender will likely require any sale of personal property to be handled outside of the sale of the property.
- Be sure that you are complying with any state or federal laws and real estate protocols for your area.
- Secure the real estate deal first! We recommend clearing all contingencies before offering or negotiating over furnishings, and completing a separate bill of sale for personal property.
- Be realistic about what can be sold. You’ll have the most success with newer, name-brand and quality items. Your success selling your furniture will depend on the age and condition of your furnishings too. Pets in the home will reduce value, as will obvious wear or stains.
- Prepare an itemized list including manufacturer, age, dimensions and asking price for each item. We recommend offering a discount to incentivise your buyers to purchase everything on offer.
- Be willing to negotiate. Your buyers will know that they are saving you time and money as well.
- Be willing to remove items they don’t want, and have a plan in place for quick removal if necessary.
On balance, we think selling furnishings and accessories along with the home is a win-win for everyone involved.