Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Introducing the furniture calculator: a "blue book" for furniture

 Value my furniture now!
Because we love nerdy fairness
even more than you do.
Let's say you and your roommate Nathan split a new $500 couch when you moved in together 2 years ago. The couch is currently in "very good" shape - the pillows are a bit flattened and there are some very minor signs of wear and tear, but not much else.

Now you are both moving out, and Nathan wants to keep the couch. You want to keep the $300 TV that you split around the same time (the TV still works fine). You should be paid back for your share of the couch, and Nathan should be paid back for his share of the TV. But what is the value of the couch and TV now, 2 years later?

Just like splitting rent, it's awkward and tricky to just "make up a number." We wanted to create a simple calculator to value used furniture shared by an apartment, so that it's easy to sell to friends. The idea is kind of like the "blue-book" for used cars. (Our answer for the above example: the couch is still worth $329.00 while the TV is worth $197.40, and since you split both originally, Nathan owes you $65.80 - half the difference.)

To create the calculator, we studied furniture value over time with a public survey (with 58 respondents) and also got input from a panel of four accounting professionals. We crunched the data, and the calculator is now live! You can also read our more in-depth post for an explanation of how it works.

The calculator takes into account three things:
  • The original price of the furniture
  • The change in condition/quality of the furniture
  • How long the furniture has been in use since it was bought
It has many uses:
  • Split up furniture you originally bought communally
  • Set a price for selling furniture to your roommate or friend
  • Figure out what rate to charge for renting furniture in a furnished apartment
  • Figuring out how much to pay if you damage a piece of furniture
Give it a try!

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