Money Month

4 Things You Should Always Do Before Reselling That Investment Piece, According to Experts

published Oct 14, 2021
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Credit: Minette Hand

October is Money Month at Apartment Therapy! That means we’re sharing stories about saving money to buy a home, hacks to help you stick to your budget, and more all month. Head over here to see them all!

So you splurged on an investment piece — such as a handbag, a watch, or a vintage chair — and you’re not using it. Ever. You’re feeling guilty about the money you spent and the fact that the item is basically gathering dust in your home; maybe your daily life has changed, your style is different, or you’re just not feeling it anymore. 

Whatever the reason, it’s OK to want to resell an item you once loved. A little research, legwork, and TLC can potentially help you recoup some of the cost and give your item the new life it deserves.

The resale market is booming, with buyers and sellers eager to either rehome their prized possessions or do some treasure hunting. “Participating in the resale market, whether as a buyer or a seller, is also the participation of giving a like-new product another chance to be used to its full potential,” says Charles Gorra, the CEO and founder of luxury resale site Rebag. “To create a luxury item takes many resources, from sourcing materials to finding the right artisan to craft it. It would be wasteful for this item to sit in a closet unused, or to be disposed of.” Here are four things to keep in mind before you give your once-beloved pieces a new home, according to experts.

Make sure you’re ready to say goodbye.

Regret is real, so to avoid any remorse in the future, make sure you’re really ready to say goodbye. “Whenever someone is on the fence about selling, I ask them what their hesitation is,” says Daune Stinson, the owner of designer resale shop June Resale in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “It could be sentimental, or [maybe] that they paid a lot and can’t wrap their head around losing money, or they’re just not sure.” After all, if you try to replace the piece after selling, you may have to spend more money than you made on the sale, resulting in a net loss of funds.

Stinson’s advice to anyone unsure of whether or not to sell is to use or wear the item three more times. If you don’t wear it, let it go, but if you find yourself unable to say goodbye, keep it for now and try again in the future. 

Do your research on what items like yours sell for.

If you know it’s time to send your item off to a new life, do a bit of research before taking it to a resale shop or trying to sell online so you know what to expect from any potential offers.

“Do a little research to have a realistic idea of what that item is selling for on at least three different platforms — not only what someone has it listed for but what has it actually sold for,” says Stinson. “The market may be flooded with a certain style luxury bag but it’s not selling anywhere. Compare apples to apples; is your item the same exact piece in the same condition, or an unusual size or color?” If something stands out about your piece, you may be able to get more cash for it.

Find the right place to sell your piece.

Are you cool shipping your piece off to an online site or would you rather sell in person? It’s all up to you, but different locations have different perks. “Keeping it local can help you keep track of your items,” says Stinson, but you may need to do a bit of legwork to find the right place if you want to keep things local. “Get a feel for what each place takes and what their speciality is. While some stores can tell you they’ll price something super high, try to determine if they have the clientele to buy it,” she advises.

If you’re selling to a private buyer online, be sure to take lots of clear photos to show any potential issues with the item, and get paid before you ship. 

It’s also important to know the difference between consignment and resale. If you sell something consignment, you won’t be paid until that item sells in the store. If you’re opting for resale, you’ll be paid a flat fee immediately and will not be paid again when the item sells. There may be advantages and limitations to either model, but ultimately find the version you’re most comfortable with. 

Show off your item in its best condition.

Put your best foot forward when it comes to presentation. “Take note of the condition of your items, since Rebag and other resellers take this into consideration when providing an offer,” says Gorra. “Is it in saleable condition? There’s usually always a buyer no matter the condition, but if you want to milk a bag for all of its value, storing it properly, regularly cleaning it, and holding onto miscellaneous accessories like authenticity cards and packaging can help.”

While some people like to buy pieces with a little character, pristine items tend to be more popular with buyers as they’re an easier sell. “The better condition something is in, the better chance you have of selling or consigning it,” Stinson shares. “A little bit of attention can go a long way. Stores take into consideration how much time they have to put into something to sell.” Clean the inside and outside of an item, polish the hardware, and bring any papers, boxes, or bags if you have them. These things take just a few minutes and can make a huge impact on the price offered.

As for clothing, don’t show up with wrinkled, smelly, or dirty pieces — buyers want things they can put right out on the sales floor. “Bring in freshly cleaned items, hung up or neatly folded,” says Stinson. “Balled up in a garbage bag won’t get your items looked at.”