Whether you need some quick cash or you're looking to get a great deal, your local pawn can prove extremely helpful—but only if you know what you're doing. Entering into a pawn shop transaction without the proper preparation or forethought can result in costly errors. Here are some critical issues to consider so that you can get the greatest possible value out of your pawn shop experience.
Knowing What Items You Should Buy
Pawn shops can carry a staggering variety of items, from clothing and glassware to guns and high-tech gear. It's important to recognize, however, that some types of pawn shop sales and purchases are inherently safer and smarter than others. As a general rule, the more complex and intricate the item is, the greater the likelihood that some mechanical or structural problems caused its previous owner to hand it over for sale. If you choose to buy electronics, watches, or other complex devices, weigh the savings on a great price versus the chance that your item may not las long or work completely correctly. By contrast, rugged manual or power tools should work well enough to help you through a quick project—and they'll cost a lot less than their newer counterparts.
Getting Valuables Properly Appraised
Pawn shops will happily give you money for many kinds of items, including personal valuables. Take care, however, if you're looking to unload precious metal objects such as collectible coins. Some pawn brokers may pay you for those coins according to their "melt value" (the raw value of the metals themselves), not their actual appraisal value (which may be substantially higher). Many pawn brokers will happily work with an appraiser to ensure everyone gets a fair deal.
Using Items as Loan Security
Do you worry that you'll experience "seller's remorse" after you've put an item up for sale at a pawn shop? Think hard about why you're selling that item. Do you want to see it gone from your life or do you just desperately need some short-term cash? If the latter is true, then consider using the item as security on a loan instead of just selling it. Most pawn brokers will be happy to give you a reasonable sum, to be repaid with interest over a pre-agreed period, in exchange for holding the item as collateral. Be warned, however, that if you renege on the terms of the loan, the pawn shop will be free to sell your item to the public.
Pawn shops offer a lot of value and flexibility to savvy buyers and sellers who know how to use them. Take the time to plan your purchase, sale or loan strategies before you walk into your local establishment—and reap the rewards of that extra diligence.