How to Determine the Fair Market Value of Furniture & Appliances

Age and condition of furniture are factors that help determine its fair market value.

Age and condition of furniture are factors that help determine its fair market value.

You loved that red sofa when you bought it, but after a few years, you’re ready to part with it. The piece was top-of-the-line, when new, and is still in great shape. Before you decide whether to trade it, sell it or donate it, you'll need to know its worth. Determining the fair market value of your used furniture or appliance will help you set an appropriate selling price given the age, condition and market appeal of your property.

Examine your furniture or appliance carefully to determine its condition. Look closely for damage and excess wear that could reduce its value. Test an electrical appliance to make sure it still works. Locate original purchase receipts and owner’s manuals if available.

Determine the marketability of your item by studying the prevalence of competitive items for sale. Take a critical look at the piece and ask yourself if the color, style or function of it detracts from its appeal. Outdated appliances and electronics are difficult items to sell or donate.

Research the cost of replacing the piece by looking online at comparable goods and their current selling prices. Furniture and appliances depreciate in value each year unless they have value as collectibles or antiques. Online auctions, reseller websites and antique dealers are good sources of information for pricing vintage items. However, you may need to consult a professional appraiser for a more accurate valuation.

Refer to the Salvation Army’s Valuation Guide at to help you set a price for your furniture or appliance. The table offers low and high estimates based on the items’ age and quality. Consult the Internal Revenue Service’s Publication 561 to determine if donating your item will result in a tax deduction. You can request a printed copy of the publication or view it at


  • Although you can do your best to determine the fair market value for your used furniture or appliance, finding multiple interested buyers for your merchandise is critical to obtaining the best price. An item is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. Competition drives the purchase price higher.

About the Author

Rae Casto began writing professionally in 1982. She writes on a variety of topics including health, nutrition, art and culture for various websites. Casto holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and art from Guilford College and a Master of Public Administration in health administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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