5 Questions to Ask Before Pawning Your Electronics

Written by sol-jewel on . Posted in Blog

New smartphones, headphones, TVs, and iPads come out on a regular basis. Just when you save up enough money for the latest model, the manufacturers usually advertise a newer, better version on the horizon.

If you have a collection of old electronics gathering dust on your shelf, you can earn some extra cash by pawning them at your local pawn and loan shop. You can then use the money to help pay for your next upgrade.

However, not all electronics will sell for a good price. Just because you paid $400 for your first iPod doesn’t mean you’ll pull in the same price when you sell it with a cracked screen years later. To ensure your electronics give you the most bang for your buck, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Does It Look Good?

When you walk into a local pawn shop, do you ever glance at the beat-up items? The ones with cracked cases, missing buttons, or crusted ports? Of course not. You head straight to the clean, like-new pieces in hopes that you’ll find a steal of a deal.

The same thinking applies to pawning an item. Shop owners want treasure, not junk, and they’ll pay more for electronics that look like new. Although some shops will clean the electronics before they resell them, your total price will drop to compensate for their extra efforts.

Before you step foot in the shop, take the time to carefully clean your device. Use an aerosol dusting spray to remove years of dust from your keyboard. Wipe with a microfiber cloth to hide fingerprints and smudges on your monitor or screen. Grab a magic eraser to eliminate the grimy debris from your mouse.

2. Does It Turn On?

Now that your electronics look good, you’ll want to check that they turn on and still perform well, despite months or even years of disuse. Although some shops will take items to resell for parts, most will give you a better price for products that work.

Take the time to recharge your device, and then explore all the options and features that a working device should have. For example, if you want to sell an old DVD player, make sure the recording option can still archive home videos or photos. If you want to pawn a radio, test the tuner to see if it picks up a clear signal.

If everything works as it should, you’ll want to point this out to the pawn shop owner. Take the time to demonstrate the functional features rather than simply hitting the power button.

3. Does It Have Its Accessories?

Some electronics don’t work without their accessories. Charging cables, batteries, remotes, and instruction manuals should be part of the deal.

Buyers don’t want to hunt down separate parts to enjoy their new TV, so including these crucial pieces will guarantee a better price than if you simply sell the device as is. If you can find the original packaging, that can also help you bump up the price.

But keep in mind that you don’t have to include accessories that you picked up on your own. For example, if you bought a tripod for your camera that wasn’t part of the original purchase, you might want to sell that item separately.

4. Did You Remove Your Personal Data?

Although you can trust many pawn shop owners with your personal information, you should always be careful when selling electronics. A busy employee might forget to wipe your drive, and a new buyer might not hesitate to use your saved credit card information from your laptop.

Before you sell your device, do everything you can to remove your data and to restore it to its original factory settings. If selling an old Mac, delete your iTunes account. If selling an old phone, unlock it from your carrier. If you’re not sure how to delete your personal data from a device, ask an IT technician to help you.

5. How Old Is It?

Your item’s age will affect its resale value. New items and vintage original items often have the greatest cash value.

For example, if you want to sell last year’s iPad in favor of this year’s upgrade, you can likely obtain a good price for your item. Similarly, if you own an original or discontinued edition iPod in excellent condition, you can usually sell it for a great deal.

However, if you want to sell a model that’s two or three generations behind, but it’s not old enough to fit the vintage category, your pawn shop might have a harder time finding a buyer. And if the item sits on the shelves for longer, it takes up space that more valuable items could have used. This means you’ll likely receive less cash for your item.


If you ask these questions before you stop into the shop, you can rest assured that you’ll find the best price for your used electronics.

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