How To Get Top Dollar For Your Old Gadget

If you're like us, you've got a habit of wanting to have and test the latest gadget, and thus you'll also recognize this scenario: as soon as you get your beloved new toy, it practically becomes obsolete the next day. Every six months to a year (tops), new replacements are announced, a product cycle many Apple users are well aware of (ahem, iPad 2, anyone?). So if you're a chronic gadget addict, here are some easy steps to help you get the most for your old device so you won't feel so guilty upgrading to the latest and greatest.

1. Do not get the extended warranty.
Some places offer an extended protection plan that could range from a few to, in some cases, even hundreds of dollars. If you are buying your gadget, and you know you will upgrade as soon as the next one is available, forgo the manufacturer's warranty. The provided warranty will cover any problems you may encounter during your 1st year.

2. Keep all packaging material.
The box, manual, instructions, cables, batteries, etc… even the little plastic film that covers the screen on some phones and cameras… keep them all. Even if you don't care about those items, the next owner will be more than happy to receive them and buyers often look to pay more for complete packaging. Your gadget will seem more complete compared to someone's listing of the same tech without the original packaging.

3. Protect your gadget.
Try to invest in a protective rubber/silicone case of some sort, or in the case of a laptop, a carrying case and go the extra mile: Protect the exterior material against scratches with some kind of clear film protection, so when you decided to sell your item, the exterior will be blemish free. Even if you are careful, the bottom of your laptop will get scratched up by placing it on a table, so be aware.

This is the time where you should start enjoying your gadget and not worrying about it… but when the time to sell arrives…

4. It's all about the presentation.
Remove all kind of added protection, film and cases, clean it and make sure your gadget looks like it came from the factory. Be careful of the detergents that you use to clean it, since you don't want to damage the finish. A damp cloth will do wonders where alcohol may ruin the finish.

5. Take pictures and write a brief description of your item.
Clear and detailed photographs with full description of the real condition of the item. If it has a little scratch here and there, be upfront and mention it. Buyers don't like surprises. Include several photos from various angles, close up and wides, avoid blurry ones. Put all the content in one shot and mention "what you see, is what you are getting" on your post. Between 6 to 9 pictures is recommended.

6. Select your outlet for selling.
Personally we have had nothing but good experiences with eBay. We sold our iPhone 3GS for $600 to Russia when the iPhone 4 was already available. Be careful, but don't be afraid to sell outside the country; beware of scammers and check the feedback on the buyer. The advantage of selling to other countries is the top price you could get of your now "obsolete" electronic. If you're looking for different options, refer to this post about alternatives to eBay and Craigslist.

7. Collect your money, ship promptly.
Make sure you have an easy way of getting paid. Paypal is a good option. You can also ask for a bank to wire payment, but stay away from personal checks. As soon as you get pay, ship your item with insurance and tracking and make sure to send the tracking info to the buyer. Prompt delivery is as important as prompt payment from your buyer!

8. Or you could sell locally.
Sites like Craigslist are a good source for selling locally. But consider looking to sell via your workplace. Make a flyer and post it on the bulletin board or check if your company has an internal company sales/announcement board. In a face to face deal, cash is king, and eliminating the need to ship items is an added bonus.

What about our readers? What other tips do you have that helped you get the most for your older tech gear?