It’s no secret that the pawning industry is blowing up and getting a lot more positive attention from the media and the public eye. Pawning used to be a niche industry targeting specific individuals but has evolved to something much broader. Reality television shows Pawn Stars and Hardcore Pawn have invited a new spectrum of people to participate in the buying, selling, and acquiring loans in this industry. Whether you’re in a bind and need some quick cash, just want to get rid of some old junk, or want to buy a television speaker set at a low, low price, pawning just may be your new favorite hobby.
What to Look For When Finding a Pawn Shop
Pawning can be tricky business, so if you’re new to the industry the very first thing that you want to do is do your research. Check online pawning discussion boards and review sites like Yelp to see if your local pawn shops have good reviews. See what former patrons have to say about the people that own the shop and make sure they are good, honest pawnbrokers—in an industry like pawning, it can be easy to be taken advantage of, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Make sure you go in prepared.
If you’re going in to get a loan—meaning you are planning on getting your item back—it is important to know how much the percentage rates are. In other words, it’s important to know how much money you will be loaned and more importantly how much you’re going to have to pay to get your item back. Most pawn shops will loan around 40% of the value of the item you’re pawning and charge 5%-20% interest per month on your item. Make sure you know what the store’s policies and averages are before you go in.
Since people often resort to pawning items when they are having an unexpected financial emergency, convenience is perhaps the most important aspect of pawning. If you have a little more time on your hands, online pawn shops are most likely your best and most convenient solution. Otherwise, your city more than likely has some pretty close pawn shops near you.
How to Get the Most Money for Your Item
Loaning or Selling
Make sure you know whether you are planning on loaning or selling. This matters because typically pawnbrokers are more likely to give you more money as a loan than if you are just selling your item. This is cool because, if you later decide you don’t want or need your item back, you are under no obligation to pay the loan back and it won’t have any effect on your credit score.
Do Your Research
Know everything about the item that you’re pawning or selling. Check reselling websites like eBay to see what your used item is worth and then check various pawn shops to see their percentage rate. Don’t be afraid to call around for estimates before deciding where to pawn or sell your item.
Negotiate & Know Your Bottom Line
Regardless of what pawn shops advertise as their percentage rate, ultimately pawn shop prices and loans depend entirely on the pawnbroker. This means that the value of your item is flexible so don’t be afraid to negotiate! Before going into appraise your item, know in your head what your bottom line is so you don’t end up peer pressured into a decision you’ll regret. Chances are, if you’re being realistic and have proof of the value of your item, there is a pawn shop out there that will give you a fair deal.
Looking to Purchase an Item? Getting the Most for Your Money
DO YOUR RESEARCH (Yes, this applies here too)
Chances are if you’re shopping in a pawn shop you’re looking for a deal. To get the best deal on that flat screen television, diamond ring or tablet, make sure you know the market value of those items both used and new. If you know what you’re doing, you should be able to get exactly what you want for a fraction of the value price.
Negotiate! Negotiate! Negotiate!
Nothing is final. No price tags are etched in stone. Start low and be persistent! Even the best pawn shop owner can be swayed to lower a price. Remember that ultimately, they just want someone to buy the item for more than they bought it for, so it’s wise to do the math and figure out what they bought it for and start from there!
Getting Your Item Back
This is the easy part of the pawning process. If you just needed a temporary loan, you more than likely want your item back. Keep in mind that pawn shops only agree to hold your item for a certain amount of time before it becomes for sale. As long as you return for your item before this time period is up and have the loan repayment plus the agreed upon interest, you can get your item back in no time (and maybe buy a few other cheap goodies while you’re there).
The Best Things to Pawn
Unfortunately, you can’t just pawn anything. No one wants your NSYNC poster that you’ve had since the fifth grade and, sorry folks, Beanie Babies aren’t quite worth what we thought they were going to be. But the good news is there is still some good money to be made pawning common items you have in your home right now. Check out this list below:
This is one of the most popular things that people usually pawn because, well, gold and diamonds and other prestigious metals typically don’t depreciate all that much—and some actually appreciate! A ring you bought twenty years ago will more than likely still have some substantial value. Some shops even specialize in giving loans or money for jewelry items made of gold.
Both electronic and gas-powered tools are popular in the pawning industry, so if you have a really nice power drill that you haven’t used since you moved into your house five years ago, consider selling it if you’re in a bind.
Bikes and Other Transportation Devices
Electronics, including laptops, tablets and gaming consoles, are also great for an easy pawn because a lot of people have old and unused ones lying around. The only downside to pawning electronics is that they are always being outdated by newer versions, which means they depreciate rather quickly. So if you’ve had that tablet for a year and you’ve never used it, pawn it before it’s too late!
More Pawning Resources
If after reading all of this you’re thinking “Wow! Pawning is amazing! I have so many things I want to read and learn about it! This is my new hobby!” Don’t worry, there’s more! Here are some cool tips and resources on pawning just for you. Check out these blogs and websites for the best pawning practices and current news in the pawn shop world:
Pawning can be a hobby, an entertaining TV show, or a great way to get out of a tricky situation—we hope these tips help you on your next pawning adventure.