Mattresses are big and take up a lot of space so if you get a new one there’s not many options but to get rid of the old one. But how easy is it to sell a mattress through a service like Craigslist?
Selling a used mattress on Craiglist is going to be tough. The resale value is terrible and the majority of people have serious reservations about used mattresses (with good reason).
However, there are several strategies to give you the best shot at making the sale. Craigslist is a big marketplace and there are people who want a used mattress. I’ll take you through the best way to present your used mattress so that it sells and also give you tips on what to look for if you are considering buying a used mattress.
Is There a Market for Used Mattresses?
Out of all the household items you could sell used, one of the most difficult is a mattress.
Some retailers also deal in used mattresses but this is not very common and you’re unlikely to get as much as if you were to do it privately, however you do avoid a lot of hassle this way.
Some surveys have shown that less than 10% of people surveyed would even consider buying a used mattress, versus 100% who would buy a used table. No surprise but concerns over hygiene were the biggest reason why they wouldn’t buy a used mattress.
The other thing to keep in mind is timing. January and July are good months to buy furniture so you may see more success if you list it during these times. This is because of the many sales and new styles being released in stores that put people in a furniture buying mode. Listing on Craigslist on Friday night is also likely to catch people who are hanging out online or are looking to use their weekend to pick up new furniture.
In order to have the most success, there are a few key pieces of information that should be put in your listing. The price, size, mattress height, covering and internal materials, type of support (e.g. springs, foam, etc), age, the pattern of use (e.g. primary sleep surface, guest bed), and whether some type of protector was used should be communicated.
At least four high quality photos are also very important, as otherwise it may look like you’re trying to hide the condition of the mattress. A brief history of how you got it and why you’re selling may convince some buyers.
Can You Resell a Mattress?
You always want to consider local laws and regulations, as some places prohibit selling used mattresses. Some localities require the mattresses to be properly sanitized and be labeled as “used”. Others disallow the sale of used mattresses but allow for the sale of certain components of the mattress. Still, others have very few, if any, regulations.
Sometimes you may be required to recover the mattress or have its flammability checked. It is vital you check what laws and regulations apply before trying to sell a used mattress. You can find this information via your local department of health and human services, consumer affairs, licensing, and/or agriculture department.
How Much Do You Sell a Used Mattress For?
Used mattresses are only going to be worth a fraction of their retail value. I did a bit of looking at various Craigslist ads and then compared them to the same mattress’s retail price. Generally, the most you’d be able to price a used mattress is at about 20-30% of its original retail value. The price dips dramatically the older a mattress is, so a good tactic is to decrease the perception that it is a used mattress.
Brand recognition may help sell a mattress rather than a generic one with no tags or identifying marks.
As with all used items, it will be easier to sell if in good condition. The use of mattress protectors and mattress toppers will help preserve a mattress’s condition and prevent staining. The overall condition including whether the mattress is still ‘as new’ or has significant sagging, animals slept on it, cracking, holes, was it in a smoker’s room or other cosmetic issues will make it hard to sell the mattress for much at all. Having a receipt to show the purchase date may help sell it quicker.
Another factor for mattresses is whether they were the main mattress being used to sleep on every night, or just a mattress used in a guest bedroom.
Given the size of mattresses, delivery is often an issue so offering to transport to the buyer’s house may make the sale go through easier and should definitely be mentioned in the listing.
Should You Ever Buy a Used Mattress?
Given that the average mattress only lasts seven years, you probably shouldn’t ever buy a used one that is older than this.
If you really need a mattress, the one you have found is still relatively new and in good condition, you could consider buying a used mattress. However, there definitely are serious hygiene concerns including infestation concerns like bed bugs. Given the price of mattresses and the terrible resale value, you have to wonder exactly what makes someone want to sell a mattress only a couple of years old.
Warranties will not be valid for private sales even if there is time remaining on them, and so the old phrase caveat emptor should be kept in mind. You almost certainly will want to see a used mattress in person rather than relying on photos because there may be other qualities, like a smell, that will not come through in the photos.