Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

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mac_guy
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Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by mac_guy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:56 am

Hi. My mother is selling her parent's home and is in the process of emptying it out. The realtor recommended that instead of doing a series of garage or estate sales, that we deal with just one person who empties homes professionally. So, she recommended someone that will evaluate all the items on the property. Basically, this is someone that empties homes and takes whatever has any value to auction.

So, this person came and evaluated the house. He said that if the value of the items in the house was high enough, he would pay us money and empty the house. Unfortunately, in our case, he wants $500 to empty the house and whatever money he gets from the items is his to keep. I'm actually not that surprised. The house is not that big (only 1700 sq ft) and my grandparents didn't many high-value possessions.

What did surprise me, however, is what he said about used furniture values. My grandparents had a very nice dining room set. It was made by Drexel furniture and purchased in the 1930's. It looks very similar to this:

http://www.antiquepalaceemporium.com/im ... ine_dr.jpg

It was definitely the nicest furniture in the house and to my eye was in great condition. The buyer told us that maybe 20 years ago, he would have paid us $1500 to $2000 for the set. However, now he would be lucky to get $500 for it at auction. Basically, he said that tastes in furniture have changed dramatically in recent years. He said that what we have is called "old brown furniture." Millennials who are buying for their homes now are shunning this style of furniture. He gave a bunch of reasons why. He said that in many new homes, there isn't a dining room. He said that in newer homes the closets are so big that people store China in the closets, so there isn't need for China cabinets. Also, people no longer desire matched sets of furniture. Eclectic furniture is in. Also, younger people are into painted furniture. He said that some of these pieces will probably be sold to dealers who will have them painted to look intentionally distressed in a style called "shabby chic."

So, has anyone else experienced this issue? My mother was actually somewhat disturbed to hear this and really doesn't know what to do now. In a certain sense I can understand it, because this is not true antique furniture. It's of the style that most people in the middle class would have owned in that era, so it's probably pretty common, but the fact that it so dropped in value was interesting.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:00 pm

Sounds about right. Consignment shops in my area are filled with that stuff, and it doesn't sell, even at very low prices.

One of them has classes on "chalk painting" to update old furniture. Picture those chairs a lovely shade of amethyst. Not the seat covers, the wood. Now you might have something that would sell.

barnaclebob
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:04 pm

I agree, Im 32 and wouldn't touch that furniture. Looks just like all of the other junk in a thrift store. Cheap farmhouse tables that you can make with $200 worth of lumber from home depot and stain are really hot right now even though those too look like garbage. I think the style has gone away from cheap ornateness.

One thing I've learned from watching craigslist and antiques roadshow is that medium quality stuff will be worth nothing in the future. Either buy Ikea or high end. Even then who knows what will happen to the value of high end stuff. Of course if you get enjoyment out of a medium quality piece that's great but don't expect to be able to sell it.
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Silk McCue
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Silk McCue » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:06 pm

We had a professional company setup an estate sale of the contents of my MILs house in 2016. She had some beautiful antique furniture. They told us going in that in today's market people have very little interest in such furniture. Tastes have indeed changed. They were correct. Some pieces sold, some were purchased by antique dealers at very cheap prices at the end of the last day of the estate sale and the remainder was then donated to charity. I appreciate that your mom recognizes the quality and real value of her quality possessions but they are not valued by others in the same way they would have been 20 years ago.

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rocket354
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by rocket354 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:07 pm

I don't know if this is the exact answer you are looking for, but here goes...

I moved two years ago and sold just about every piece of furniture in my house. This included a lot of brown furniture, and matching furniture. I took pictures of everything and put it on craigslist (separate listing for each item/set). My bedroom set was one listing, my living room set was another, a nice ergonomic desk chair was another, dresser and matching nightstands were another. Everything sold very quickly at what I felt were very reasonable prices. Every buyer picked up the furniture themselves (although I did help with carrying it to their vehicle on a couple occasions).

I obviously don't know what condition your furniture is in, but given the choice between paying $500 to have someone take it away and getting paid perhaps twice that or more to have people come and take it away, I would take the latter. All it takes is probably 30 mins of snapping pictures, coming up with reasonable prices, and putting them online.

Caveat is I lived in an urban center with plenty of prospective buyers around. Also, my furniture was not that old (but also wasn't too expensive to begin with). I also don't know what other stuff is in the house you are concerned with, but it might be a lot of stuff without resale value, in which case letting the garbageman take it away is more cost-effective than paying someone.

Edit: just wanted to add the donate option is also cheaper. They'll come pick up whatever doesn't sell. Again, this deals with the big stuff, not the small stuff which I would either keep/sell individually/trash.

Rupert
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Rupert » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:21 pm

I actually read an article about this recently. Sorry I can't remember where. The gist was that you can't give away antique furniture these days. The bottom has completely fallen out of the industry because millennials aren't buying it. Antiques shops -- the ones still in business -- have shifted to selling art and modern bric-a-brac to stay in business, and antiques shows (with the exception, I guess, of Antiques Road Show) don't much exist anymore.

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Pajamas
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Pajamas » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:37 pm

Your experience is typical. Not many people want that kind of furniture because it is not in style and so it has little value.

Maybe you can find a charitable organization that will come pick it up for free, either to resell or to give to a family that doesn't have any furniture due to being refugees, homeless, or having suffered fire or flooding, etc. Otherwise, list in on Craigslist or Freecycle for someone to come pick it up. If all else fails, put it in the driveway by the street with a sign that says "For Sale $100" and it may disappear overnight.

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Tamarind
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Tamarind » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:47 pm

Yes, agreed. My grandmother's home had a good deal of nice middle class furniture from the 40s-60s, which we had to dispose of recently after she moved to an assisted living facility. Worth far less than her glass and china was, and I can confirm as a millennial that it's not my style. I don't much like the painted stuff that's "on trend" now either though.

The furniture I was most pleased to get from my parents was their "starter" furniture: 1970s solid wood Ikea. It's plain, cheap, and takes a heck of a beating.

Furniture that can be refinished and reused will have a long life, but below the VERY high end furniture is not a store of value.

If you think it's bad now, wait until the Boomers are deeper into their downsizing years. Two or three generations worth of brown furniture all dumped into the market at once as the McMansions empty out.

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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:51 pm

Even more contemporary furniture can have zero value. I craigslist everything and am a firm believer of dropping the price significantly every week until it goes. We sold a very nice oak and glass lighted china cabinet from the early 90s for $5. Sold 4 early 70's maker marked colonial pine chairs for $15. Sold kids bunk beds in southern yellow pine for $35. Why? Because that's where they landed after price drops. Once I get to a week at $5, they will literally be dragged to my basement and cut up for fire wood. I've done that with several office desks, some 60s kids furniture and a number of antique wooden pieces.

In short, Craigslist will give you market price. It may not give you what YOU think it's worth but if a historic, gem, antique, heirloom piece isn't bringing buyers at $10, then you've got one more price move, then off to the firewood bin.
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Halicar
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Halicar » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:00 pm

Rupert wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:21 pm
I actually read an article about this recently. Sorry I can't remember where. The gist was that you can't give away antique furniture these days. The bottom has completely fallen out of the industry because millennials aren't buying it. Antiques shops -- the ones still in business -- have shifted to selling art and modern bric-a-brac to stay in business, and antiques shows (with the exception, I guess, of Antiques Road Show) don't much exist anymore.
This is probably the article you're thinking of:

NYT: Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/your ... .html?_r=0

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rocket354
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by rocket354 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:02 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:51 pm
Even more contemporary furniture can have zero value. I craigslist everything and am a firm believer of dropping the price significantly every week until it goes. We sold a very nice oak and glass lighted china cabinet from the early 90s for $5. Sold 4 early 70's maker marked colonial pine chairs for $15. Sold kids bunk beds in southern yellow pine for $35. Why? Because that's where they landed after price drops. Once I get to a week at $5, they will literally be dragged to my basement and cut up for fire wood. I've done that with several office desks, some 60s kids furniture and a number of antique wooden pieces.

In short, Craigslist will give you market price. It may not give you what YOU think it's worth but if a historic, gem, antique, heirloom piece isn't bringing buyers at $10, then you've got one more price move, then off to the firewood bin.
This is a good point. And getting even $20 off craigslist is better than paying $500 to have someone remove it.

dcdowden
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by dcdowden » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:05 pm

We tried the Craigslist route to sell a dining room and bedroom set from my Aunt's estate a couple years ago. Took nice pictures and priced it very reasonably, so I thought. We had a couple calls from people saying they were interested, but they never showed up. We wound up donating the stuff and taking a deduction for a charitable contribution. That at least covered the cost of moving the stuff to our house so that we could try to sell it. That certainly taught us the lesson that we really don't want to spend money replacing our 30+ year old brown furniture unless it is literally falling apart.

maroon
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by maroon » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:19 pm

I also agree.

In addition to the NYT article mentioned above, check out The Washington Post article "Stuff it: Millennials nix their parents' treasures."

My parents have a beautiful 8-person dining room table, a large china cabinet full of china and crystal, a curio cabinet filled with "collectibles", silver flatware sets, etc. I have no idea what's eventually going to happen to all this stuff. Neither my siblings nor I will have room to take it all in - I have a small house and all my siblings have condos.

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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by shorvath » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:28 pm

If you are looking to get rid of china/silverware sets, hit up replacements.com. https://www.replacements.com/sell-to-us/

They try to stock specific china patterns in order to sell replacement pieces to customers. If the stuff you have is mid-high quality, there is a chance they are in the market for the pattern.
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chevca
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by chevca » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:30 pm

I'd say it sounds about right. Styles and wants have changed for sure.

It's not just millennials either. I'm a Gen. X'er and have no interest at all in a china cabinet, china, nor fine silverware. It's sort of unfortunate, as they don't make furniture like they used to. Those solid, old, and heavy sets would last forever. But, they just went out of style. It happens...

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:34 pm

I actually know where our china and fancy flatware that we received as wedding presents is going. Into the fork drawer! My son has a campus apartment with a full kitchen and cooks for himself. At the end of every academic year, it seems that room mates randomly take silverware and dishes. So DS needs more to go back the next year. Why should we go buying replacement everyday silverware and dishes......to the china cabinet I go and suddenly, we have an abundance of spoons and cereal bowls. Who knew these fancy pants things could actually be used to eat with?
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ianferrel
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by ianferrel » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:43 pm

It's not just that styles have changed. It's that stuff has become cheap and space has become expensive.

I really like this essay about the subject.

Combine the trends of urbanization, increasing efficiency in manufacturing, and vastly increased housing prices in most places, and what you get is a bunch of stuff that might have been valuable once, but now takes up more space than it's worth.

There are a bunch of things that my parents have that I wouldn't keep at any price, because it's not worth the mortgage on the square-footage to store it.

That said, there's probably someone local who wants that over a falling-apart ikea table. You can usually find people to take furniture for free.

Bacchus01
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:11 pm

At 44, our parents have a lot of good quality furniture. My wife and I have both told our patents we don’t want any of it. None. No thanks.

When my grandmother died a few years back, she too had a lot of older high quality furniture. Most of it sold at an auction for like $10. I mean literally, $10.

Some things, like lamps, clocks and other accessories, or plastic chairs come the 70s and 80s got huge money. But furniture, even high quality stuff- nope.

westie
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by westie » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:20 pm

Parents hold on to all kinds of "stuff" thinking their children will want it someday. They don't want it.

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lthenderson
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:36 pm

I love attending auctions and so I've seen the trend with furniture. Furniture purchased in the 1930's onward is not worth a lot of money anymore. There are still antique furniture worth quite a bit of money but it is from the 1800's and those pieces don't come up to auction very often. They tend to be passed down through families.

Despite it not being worth enough for someone else to pay you to clear it out, it still has value. In my area, the common thing to do is to hold an estate auction. The auctioneering company will advertise and hold the auction for a cut of the proceeds. In my area 15% commission with a minimum dollar figure is pretty common. So on that $500 table set, you would still make $425 assuming you met the minimum for the entire sale. Sometimes for really small estates, the hold the goods until they have two or three similar sized estates and then hold one large auction. The advantages of auctions over internet is the amount of time involved. With an auction it is one day and done. The prices for the average local auction probably fall somewhere between what you could get for the item online (not counting shipping for large items) and what you would get at a garage sale. Closer to the former than the latter.

btenny
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by btenny » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:53 pm

You might consider selling most of the furniture when you sell the old house. We sold my father in laws home and much of his furniture to the lady who was buying the house as a second home. She gave us $1000 as I recall for a lot of stuff. She wanted the twin beds and the dining table and sofa and chairs and some living room tables and the wall hangings. We cleaned out all his personal stuff (a big job) and sort of staged the home with some of his furniture and a few wall hangings. The realtor said it helped the house sell. The stuff we sold included a solid cherry dining room set and 8 chairs. That set was beautiful but was worth maybe $300 to the dealers. They said most of the rest was worth even less. We kept the fancy glass china cabinet as other have described. It has etched curved glass and mirrors and looks amazing. We were told it was worth almost zero.

I guess the young generation of kids will not want much of this stuff. So we have to find some other younger old people to sell the stuff to. So maybe Craigs' list and garage sales are the other way to go. I know out here in Arizona a lot of garage sales sell the furniture but for very low prices. Our emigrant population buys lots of the good old stuff. Oh well.

Good Luck.

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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by RudyS » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:14 pm

deleted. redundant. I tried to do an edit.
Last edited by RudyS on Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RudyS
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by RudyS » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:15 pm

mac_guy wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:56 am
Hi. My mother is selling her parent's home and is in the process of emptying it out. The realtor recommended that instead of doing a series of garage or estate sales, that we deal with just one person who empties homes professionally. So, she recommended someone that will evaluate all the items on the property. Basically, this is someone that empties homes and takes whatever has any value to auction.

Forget "a series of garage or estate sales." Just do one estate sale (assuming there is a company that want to do this), and all the remainder goes to charity for the (possible) tax deduction. Get some quotes/offers from such companies and then decide.

As to OP's question: value is only what someone will pay. There's your answer.

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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by hicabob » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:20 pm

westie wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:20 pm
Parents hold on to all kinds of "stuff" thinking their children will want it someday. They don't want it.
My daughter wants me to save my almost complete Dr Seuss book collection! :happy

randomguy
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by randomguy » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:32 pm

rocket354 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:02 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:51 pm
Even more contemporary furniture can have zero value. I craigslist everything and am a firm believer of dropping the price significantly every week until it goes. We sold a very nice oak and glass lighted china cabinet from the early 90s for $5. Sold 4 early 70's maker marked colonial pine chairs for $15. Sold kids bunk beds in southern yellow pine for $35. Why? Because that's where they landed after price drops. Once I get to a week at $5, they will literally be dragged to my basement and cut up for fire wood. I've done that with several office desks, some 60s kids furniture and a number of antique wooden pieces.

In short, Craigslist will give you market price. It may not give you what YOU think it's worth but if a historic, gem, antique, heirloom piece isn't bringing buyers at $10, then you've got one more price move, then off to the firewood bin.
This is a good point. And getting even $20 off craigslist is better than paying $500 to have someone remove it.
The 500 is to clean out the house not just remove the furniture. By selling the furniture you might increase the price you have to pay to clear out the house (i.e. the guy thinks he could have made 100 bucks off it) or lower it (i.e. he thought he was going to lose 100 bucks on it). You would have to ask.

From where I am sitting 500 to clear out a house sounds like a steal. I would expect that to take you 3 or 4 weekends minimum depending on the level of clutter.

BW1985
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by BW1985 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:25 pm

Out of style.

My parents have a house full of solid oak furniture they paid thousands for 20 years ago, nobody wants it now, not even them. Too large, way too heavy and oak color which is dated.

My wife and I find low priced out of style furniture on craigslist (there's a ton of it) and refinish it to our liking to furnish our house using milk paint, chalk paint, gel stain, etc. Most recently a $20 Amish made desk.

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westie
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by westie » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:50 pm

hicabob wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:20 pm
westie wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:20 pm
Parents hold on to all kinds of "stuff" thinking their children will want it someday. They don't want it.
My daughter wants me to save my almost complete Dr Seuss book collection! :happy
Many times they'll tell you they want it until you tell them take it with them.

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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by letsgobobby » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:54 pm

mac_guy wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:56 am
Hi. My mother is selling her parent's home and is in the process of emptying it out. The realtor recommended that instead of doing a series of garage or estate sales, that we deal with just one person who empties homes professionally. So, she recommended someone that will evaluate all the items on the property. Basically, this is someone that empties homes and takes whatever has any value to auction.

So, this person came and evaluated the house. He said that if the value of the items in the house was high enough, he would pay us money and empty the house. Unfortunately, in our case, he wants $500 to empty the house and whatever money he gets from the items is his to keep. I'm actually not that surprised. The house is not that big (only 1700 sq ft) and my grandparents didn't many high-value possessions.

What did surprise me, however, is what he said about used furniture values. My grandparents had a very nice dining room set. It was made by Drexel furniture and purchased in the 1930's. It looks very similar to this:

http://www.antiquepalaceemporium.com/im ... ine_dr.jpg

It was definitely the nicest furniture in the house and to my eye was in great condition. The buyer told us that maybe 20 years ago, he would have paid us $1500 to $2000 for the set. However, now he would be lucky to get $500 for it at auction. Basically, he said that tastes in furniture have changed dramatically in recent years. He said that what we have is called "old brown furniture." Millennials who are buying for their homes now are shunning this style of furniture. He gave a bunch of reasons why. He said that in many new homes, there isn't a dining room. He said that in newer homes the closets are so big that people store China in the closets, so there isn't need for China cabinets. Also, people no longer desire matched sets of furniture. Eclectic furniture is in. Also, younger people are into painted furniture. He said that some of these pieces will probably be sold to dealers who will have them painted to look intentionally distressed in a style called "shabby chic."

So, has anyone else experienced this issue? My mother was actually somewhat disturbed to hear this and really doesn't know what to do now. In a certain sense I can understand it, because this is not true antique furniture. It's of the style that most people in the middle class would have owned in that era, so it's probably pretty common, but the fact that it so dropped in value was interesting.
I think you’re getting a pretty straight scoop. We had no takers on any of the furniture in my parents’ home, whether it was ‘fancy’ or nice, whether from their generation or my grandparents’. In the end we donated it all and in some cases had to pay people to take it. Note: we also did not want their furniture, even for free. Tells you something.

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FraggleRock
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by FraggleRock » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:08 pm

The only used furniture that is worth something is MCM.

Ruger
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Ruger » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:19 pm

Put it on Craigslist....if it doesn't sell donate it or give it away.
When we moved my mother into assisted living 8 months ago we put all her brown, ugly 1970's furniture on Craigs list.
And it all sold, at decent prices. The buyers were middle aged and I guess they still liked that stuff....I thought it uglier than anything.
So give it a try..and if selling is a failure, get rid of it for free.

Tastes have indeed change, and I think we just got lucky.

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alpenglow
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by alpenglow » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:40 pm

I have to agree with the other posters. No one seems to want that stuff. My wife has an antique settee with some very beautiful woodwork. No interest whatsoever on craigslist etc.

quantAndHold
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:56 pm

Nobody wants that stuff. When my wife's mom died, we inherited a bunch of it. We managed to get a dealer to buy a couple of pieces, found someplace to donate a couple of pieces, and kept the best of it ourselves. Fortunately, we're baby boomers, so we like the pieces we kept, even if they're out of style with our kids. Ten years ago, Salvation Army and other charities would come out and pick the stuff up. Now, they'll still take it if you can get it to them, but it isn't worth their time or money to pick it up.

When we were cleaning out my dad's house a couple of years ago, most of it just went into a dumpster.

On the flipside, though, we got this really beautiful 1700's dining table at an antiques auction for $80. We were the only bidder. A generation ago, it would have gone for a couple thousand.

Nowizard
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:02 pm

We recently sold a lake home that we have owned for five years and furnished with all new furniture. We asked two individual groups to make an offer for the entire house of furniture and were shocked at how low they offered. We had an estate sale followed by a garage sale managed by a neighbor who had never done this before. He was a well organized person who was intelligent and did the entire sales for 20%. Our portion of the sales was, literally, five times what either of the two individuals offered.
Furniture does not sell well if used. It is well known that today's generation does not have much of a desire to accept furniture when parents are down sizing, and consignment shops want 35-45% based on whether the items are furniture or accessories. They open and close frequently. In short, expect substantial losses with whatever type of sale you choose. We donated what was left after the sales. It is surprising what amounts are allowed for donations so long as individual items are not at a level where they require appraisal.

Tim

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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:17 pm

I agree the furniture is mostly worthless. Clark Howard had a recent podcast where he commented on this that all this nice furniture can be had for pennies to free because no one wants it anymore. For those looking to buy furniture it offers a good opportunity.

pennywise
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by pennywise » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:58 pm

Same story here-cleared my MIL's house recently which was full of brown furniture. As others have said, a lot of that stuff isn't antique either as that generation was really the first to get mass production furniture; MIL's house was full of Ethan Allen faux colonial style and we couldn't give it away.

Lots went into the dump, a few pieces Salvation Army took. My son and DIL wanted the dining room table and hutch and DIL transformed then with chalk paint/distressing on both. It looks very nice now in the shabby chic style.

The only pieces we kept were several bookcases and tables made by my FIL who was a hobbyist woodworker. And most of those I've already painted white :D .
Last edited by pennywise on Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mouses
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by mouses » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:02 pm

I love old mahogany furniture, but apparently I'm an exception. The phrase shabby chic makes me want to puke.

One brand that does hold value is Cushman Colonial. You will find tables, desks, etc. selling for $400-$500 apiece, chairs for $100 apiece, plus shipping, on ebay.

JBTX
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by JBTX » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:23 pm

Perhaps consider this.

https://www.habitat.org/restores

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Watty
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:49 pm

Part of the dilemma you are in is that you don't know if there is any value in the rest of the stuff in the house and if the price is fair. I would at least get several bids from different people.

When we were clearing out my parents house after the family members had taken what they wanted we had an estate sale company do what is called a "private auction". Instead of having an estate sale where hundreds of people will be going through the house for two days they had their list of dealers come and they auctioned off the contents of each room so the dealers were bidding against each other to determine a fair price. I was not there for that but my impression was that there were a dozen or so dealer and that the auction was less than an hour then the house was quickly cleared out. If you have ever seen the TV show Storage Wars it was something like that except in a house. It did not net a lot but it was a non-trivial amount.

Part of the deal with the estate sale company was that everything had go and the house had to be "broom clean" when they were done.

jakepeters
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by jakepeters » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:47 am

FraggleRock wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:08 pm
The only used furniture that is worth something is MCM.
Yep, moved cross-country 2 years ago.

Sold all furniture, which was bought used and a coupe of new Ikea pieces. Got tens of dollars each on most, but $100+ on each mid century modern piece (Lane teak, etc). And that was in the Midwest, which pays lower prices than the coast for MCM.

JP

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unclescrooge
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:54 am

BW1985 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:25 pm
Out of style.

My parents have a house full of solid oak furniture they paid thousands for 20 years ago, nobody wants it now, not even them. Too large, way too heavy and oak color which is dated.

My wife and I find low priced out of style furniture on craigslist (there's a ton of it) and refinish it to our liking to furnish our house using milk paint, chalk paint, gel stain, etc. Most recently a $20 Amish made desk.
Can you post before and after pictures please?

Mitchell777
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Mitchell777 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:59 am

I've been putting off getting rid of furniture as I declutter so this info is helpful. Mother's stuff is cheap as we had little money. Grandmothers is much nicer but 50+ years old. Tougher is things like china cabinets. Not the cabinets so much but all the stuff inside them. Most probably not worth much but some items that probably go back generations and I can't tell the difference. Then there is a Magnavox Astro Sonic Stereo that looks and plays nicely but the market for them is just tiny and they are heavy and four feet long. I'm going to try the local Hope Mission for a donation.

Fox
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Fox » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:18 am

We bought our first home in 2013. It was built in 1910 and we filled it with mostly used furniture. We bought a dining set that was Drexel brand with 6 chairs for $395.

The guy we bought it from in 2013 said his mother bought it new in the 1940's for about $1300-1500. Who knows how accurate that is but it seems to fit your story.

Last year we moved to a newer home and sold the Drexel set for $400.

stan1
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by stan1 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:24 am

We cleared out my mom's house in 2013. She lived in a rural, frugal area where garage sales are still very popular. We gave a few items to people who had worked in her house (cleaning lady). Everything else was set out for a garage sale priced at $10-30. Most everything went and the rest was donated to charity. The hardest item to part with was furniture my grandfather had made in the 1930s/40s. I'd call its style "WPA industrial" - very simple, basically just pieces of mahogany sawed down sanded stained and joined into a table that will last for hundreds of years. The style actually would have worked in a modern home but they were too heavy and large for me. She accidently held on to a few MCM pieces such as a 1950s Grundig Majestic stereo console. Perhaps if I had time to wait for the right buyer I could have got more but I wanted to get the house on the market to sell so it went for $20 if I recall. A guy in his 20s bought it and was really excited to find it so that was pretty cool.

As I spent months on my mom's house getting it cleared out and sold my thoughts and actions gained focus: I didn't want her life to become my burden and I didn't need her things to reinforce the memories of my childhood. We kept small things (Christmas ornaments) for the grandkids to remember her.
Last edited by stan1 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Boogieknight
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Boogieknight » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:25 am

My experience is the same. Middling "brown furniture" is worth very little these days. Nothing, really. Better stuff, like my 100-year-old tiger maple dressers, stuff like that, is worth more, but there is still enough of it to go around. The good stuff, like an 1840's maple secretary desk I just sold, does well enough. I got $1600 for it from a farmer with a good eye and appreciation for its uniqueness.

But like I said, they run-of-the-mill stuff, nothing. And I think Craigslist has done as much to kill the value of such items as changing tastes. Honestly, given Craigslist, I don't know how furniture stores stay in business. Almost no matter what you want in furniture, you'll find it on Craigslist. And if you have a young family (and a truck!), you can buy it already marred, at 90% off, because it will get marred sooner or later.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by fourwheelcycle » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:36 am

This thread seems to have touched a nerve with a lot of Bogleheads - me too. When my wife's parents sold a lot of their furniture to move into a retirement apartment her mother was upset that the appraiser would only offer her a small price for a very expensive mahogany dining room set her parents had purchased in the early 1950s. We explained to her that current young families were not interested in 1950s mahogany furniture and prices were undoubtedly being depressed as her generation tried to sell off all their valued mahogany furniture.

Spin the clock forward another generation (or two!) and my wife and I are contemplating selling a lot of our custom-crafted cherry furniture when we downsize in a few years. We would be happy to give it to our children if they want it, but it is not clear it will fit with their tastes, or whether they may have purchased their own key furniture pieces by the time we are ready to part with ours. If we are faced with selling it for cents on the dollar we may end up donating it to our local charitable thrift shop.

Valuethinker
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:35 am

Rupert wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:21 pm
I actually read an article about this recently. Sorry I can't remember where. The gist was that you can't give away antique furniture these days. The bottom has completely fallen out of the industry because millennials aren't buying it. Antiques shops -- the ones still in business -- have shifted to selling art and modern bric-a-brac to stay in business, and antiques shows (with the exception, I guess, of Antiques Road Show) don't much exist anymore.
This would seem to be true in the United Kingdom as well.

Unless immaculate, 1800s furniture seems to have lost 80-90% of its value. We had to literally give a dresser away to a charity that provides furniture for newly housed ex homeless people & refugees.

BW1985
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by BW1985 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:49 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:54 am
BW1985 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:25 pm
Out of style.

My parents have a house full of solid oak furniture they paid thousands for 20 years ago, nobody wants it now, not even them. Too large, way too heavy and oak color which is dated.

My wife and I find low priced out of style furniture on craigslist (there's a ton of it) and refinish it to our liking to furnish our house using milk paint, chalk paint, gel stain, etc. Most recently a $20 Amish made desk.
Can you post before and after pictures please?
Sure, added pictures to my original post. Again we refinish to our taste, not expecting everyone here to like it especially since this board seems to be skewed older. It was beat up, chewed up and headed for the landfill until we gave it a new life.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

jasc15
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by jasc15 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:39 am

This whole thread is making me reconsider my thoughts on expensive sofas. Do I really need the "eight way hand tied" sofa with kiln dried hardwood frame for 2x or 3x the cost of an adequate sofa? Justifying that quality furniture "holds its value" isn't really good enough, plus I will end up stressing over staining or otherwise damaging such an expensive piece of furniture.

barnaclebob
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:45 am

jasc15 wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:39 am
This whole thread is making me reconsider my thoughts on expensive sofas. Do I really need the "eight way hand tied" sofa with kiln dried hardwood frame for 2x or 3x the cost of an adequate sofa? Justifying that quality furniture "holds its value" isn't really good enough, plus I will end up stressing over staining or otherwise damaging such an expensive piece of furniture.
Please tell me the specs don't list "kiln dried hardwood frame" as if the kiln dried part is a mark of quality. With couches at least quality construction can last longer since they see so much abuse from people plopping down constantly. If its a decorative sofa that will see minimal use then yeah go for looks, not quality.

BW1985
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Re: Has used furniture dropped in value dramatically?

Post by BW1985 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:00 am

jasc15 wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:39 am
This whole thread is making me reconsider my thoughts on expensive sofas. Do I really need the "eight way hand tied" sofa with kiln dried hardwood frame for 2x or 3x the cost of an adequate sofa? Justifying that quality furniture "holds its value" isn't really good enough, plus I will end up stressing over staining or otherwise damaging such an expensive piece of furniture.
How expensive? More than a couple grand?
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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