The intrinsic worth of IKEA
August 2, 2005 12:56 PM   Subscribe

How much is my used IKEA stuff worth?

I'm about to move and I'm trying to sell my furniture on Craigslist. I bought most of it this March, and it's in practically new condition, all purchased from the giant furniture overmind IKEA. Now, I'm getting a ton of replies, but the prices I'm being offered (since I mentioned I'd accept "reasonable offers") are 50%+ off the original price. I realize this is IKEA stuff, but it's in great condition and some of it is quite decent. Should I be taking these offers? Or am I getting lowballed? Are there better places, besides eBay, to sell stuff and not get people trying to chizzle me?
posted by Big Fat Tycoon to Work & Money (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nah. IKEA doesn't have much of a resale value, apart from at the top end. Unless you need the cash right now, you might be better off donating it to charity and writing it off against your next tax return.
posted by holgate at 1:10 PM on August 2, 2005

Would you pay more than 50% of the original price for used furniture, even if the owner claimed it was "practically new." I sure wouldn't. Use the offers as a starting point for a negotiation.
posted by grouse at 1:13 PM on August 2, 2005

Ikea stuff just simply does not move well. Second hand it's not that great. I'd say getting 50% is as much as it is worth. Anyone willing to buy it is also probably pretty desperate too, so consider it charity with perks.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:16 PM on August 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

50% of the original price is a pretty good offer. After all, the furniture will be harder to move (though easier to assemble) now than if they had bought it from IKEA, when it would still be in the boxes. Used furniture is an albatross that often ends up on the street. When I last moved, I gave away all my IKEA stuff on craigslist, and I was happy to not have to pay the movers to take it with me.
posted by anapestic at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2005

50% at best. IKEA kind of sucks that way, which is one of the reasons why it's cheap in the first place.
posted by OmieWise at 1:28 PM on August 2, 2005

Most of the IKEA stuff is like driving a new car out of dealer's lot. You lose big part of its value right away. They are not even worth moving most of the time. One move and they become wobbly and rickety.
posted by flyby22 at 1:34 PM on August 2, 2005

It also depends on the market you are selling to - in a student heavy market, this is a seller's time. I'm having good luck selling furniture. But that's also because I'm asking very very little - I bought all used, and now am selling it for just about what I bought it for.

Did you specify a price on your posts? If you do specify a price, make it actually higher than you hope to get (but still lower than new) to have room for hagglers. Perhaps setting a price at 75%, and then accepting 60 or 50% of the original price. Also be sure to specify when you bought it and how much it costs new. If you can deliver for them, also specify - as a non-driver who bought all my furniture 12 months ago, I paid more for things that I didn't have to try to pick up, including $150 for a bed (in a used market where they are usually under $100).

Also, Ikea would be a selling point for me, but that's because I really like their style.
posted by jb at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2005

It's not just Ikea. Most mass-manufactured stuff takes a hit to resale value the minute you take it home, a sharper hit as soon as you remove the wrapping, and yet again as soon as you've used it even once. 50% hurts, but it's not unusual. Lots of things depreciate most rapidly in the beginning. Sucks, but doesn't sound like you're being ripped off. It's just how the market is.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2005

50% is about right, considering that all the IKEA stuff we tried to move from my office BROKE as we were dismantling it (although I have moved my $40 ikea bookshelfs like, 5 times).
posted by fishfucker at 2:21 PM on August 2, 2005

It is my understanding that 50% has long been the starting value for used goods of any description (except Computer parts). Of course condition and demand would modify this. It is also critically important to consider weather you overpaid in the first place. It shouldn't be surprising that people don't feel the need to compensate you because of your hasty purchasing decision.

(by 'starting value' I mean the point you begin at when considering the valuation... Like: "Well I paid $100 for it, so $50... It is in perfect condition though, and it is very popular. Lets try $65.")
posted by Chuckles at 5:31 PM on August 2, 2005

My GF and I just picked up an Ikea "Jerker" desk for $35. (The older, big rectangular one, without the semi-circular cutout and storage tower over it.) It was in fine shape. We felt it was a good deal, but we wouldn't have paid much more than that. List price at the nearest Ikea was $100-119 or something. The guy we bought it from even threw in a swing arm desklamp and a bolt on swinging shelf/printer stand thingy.

Unless the item(s) in question are of exceedingly good quality and design, and/or rarity (Ikea included) you'll never get anything close to the original price for it. Except maybe from the foolish.

Why would someone pay close to retail value for items that aren't rare or collectible, when they could just pay a little more and get the thing brand new?

Granted there are probably a small handful of discontinued Ikea items people would pay a premium for. I have no idea what those would be, though. My personal experience with Ikea goes something like: "MMM, Swedish meatballs." Bewildered/confused. Tired of walking in a maze. "Holy crap that's expensive cheap crap." "Holy crap that's cool looking." "Holy crap that's ugly!"
posted by loquacious at 6:00 PM on August 2, 2005

Here in Austin, Texas, the nearest Ikea is in Houston, several hours' drive. Used Ikea stuff sells like hotcakes here for as much as full price!
posted by bug138 at 6:21 PM on August 2, 2005

I bought most of it this March,

mokujin, somehow I don't think these items are 'valuable collectables'... It is an important point to keep in mind though.
posted by Chuckles at 6:35 PM on August 2, 2005

50% off is about right. That's about what IKEA charges for stuff in their scratch and dent area. If you have any doubts, check the completed listings on eBay.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:01 PM on August 2, 2005

Mod note: pulled mokujin's post, sorry Chuckles
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:03 PM on August 2, 2005

Any chance you're based in Brooklyn? There's a very good chance I will be moving there in two-ish weeks. I could use whatever you could part with.
posted by blueneurosis at 9:46 PM on August 2, 2005

I posted a wardrobe at about 40%. I had plenty of responses.
posted by miniape at 6:34 AM on August 3, 2005

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