Contrary to the stereotype, not all pawn shops are shady spots where criminals can fence their hauls. In reality, the police keep close tabs on the inventory in pawn shops to stop that very thing from happening.

About 30 million upstanding, law-abiding Americans use a pawn shop every year. You might wonder where everyone is getting all that jewelry to pawn — but that’s another stereotype that isn’t true. In reality, over 30% of pawned items are electronics.

Are you thinking about taking in some items? How do you get the best pawn shop prices? Keep reading to find out.

1. Do Your Research

The first step is to do some research. First, you need to know what kinds of items your local pawn shops will accept. Then, you need to know how much they are worth.

If you walk into a shop with no idea, the shopkeeper can tell you any price they want. You won’t know if you’re getting a good deal or not.

Furthermore, shopkeepers are adept at reading customers. They’ll feel you out first to see if you know how much your item is worth. If you seem unsure, unscrupulous shopkeepers will be sure to take advantage.

It’s a good idea to take unique items to be appraised. For example, jewelry and art pieces. Then when you take the items to a pawn shop you have proof of their value.

2. Sell or Pawn?

Once you have an idea of what you have that is valuable, you need to decide if you want to sell it or pawn it. Pawn shops will either buy an item from you outright or give you a loan. Upon successfully paying back your loan, you get the item back.

What’s your financial situation? Do you just need an emergency loan before your next payday? Then you can pawn your item and get it back once you’ve been paid. Even if you decide to pawn, pick items that you wouldn’t be heartbroken over losing. You never know what could happen.

If you won’t be able to pay back the loan, look for items that you want to sell. Or you could simply sell items that you no longer need as a way to make some money on the side. Some folks even get good at shopping garage sales to resell the items at a pawn shop for a profit.

3. Bring Quality Items

However, you need to bring the right stuff to the pawn shop.

You won’t walk away with a decent wad of cash if you bring in a bunch of junk. Shopkeepers are looking for items that they can sell. Most customers aren’t going to look twice at your prized collection of old VHS tapes. For that reason, the shopkeeper won’t offer you much for them — if anything.

Small appliances like coffee makers or the 4 extra toasters you got for your wedding also don’t net much. Pawn shops tend to already have an excess and people don’t often buy them. They’re inexpensive to buy new.

What people are looking for at pawn shops are good deals on more expensive items. You can get up to 75% of the value of things like power tools and jewelry. More high-end items like fancy Rolex watches or firearms can net up to 85%.

4. Clean Your Items

One simple trick to getting the best pawn shop price for your items is to clean them up. A shiny clean item looks to be in far better shape than that same item covered in grime.

Clean off the dust, polish up tarnished items, and make your jewelry gleam to get the best pawn shop prices.

5. The Art of Negotiation

Learn to negotiate. Shopkeepers are expecting you to do it. This means that their first offer is probably not how high they’re willing to go.

If you did your research right, you already know how much your items are worth. Even just a ballpark figure gives you something to work with.

Be aware that you won’t get full value for your items. The pawn shop won’t be able to sell the item for a profit if they pay you full price.

Shoot for 65%-85% of the item’s full value, depending on the type of items. Aim for the high end for more desirable items and know that if you are selling common items you’ll get a lower percentage of the item’s value.

6. Spin a Tale

As crazy as it sounds, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a good story. Pawn shop keepers are usually willing to listen.

If you’re selling an item, they might not be willing to up the price too much. However, many shops will take into consideration your situation when determining how much they will loan you for an item.

If you have a special emotional attachment to the item, be sure to make that known. Pawn shops have been known to loan up to 100% of an item’s value if they feel convinced that you will come back for it.

In short, if your financial situation is so dire that you’re willing to pawn your mother’s engagement ring, be sure to play it up.

7. Shop Around

Not all pawn shops will offer the same price. Be sure to visit three or four to find who will offer the best deal.

The great thing about this approach is that it gives you a chance to practice spinning your tale to best elicit the desired response.

Plus, it assures you that you’re getting a good deal. Unless they all get together and agree on how much they’ll undercut, at least one of them will offer a fair price.

The Best Pawn Shop Prices

There you have it, seven simple steps to getting the best pawn shop prices for your stuff. You won’t get rich selling items to pawn shops, but when you need a little extra cash they come in handy.

To learn more about successfully navigating the world of pawn shops, keep browsing around our blog. Alternatively, if you need to pawn or sell some items, feel free to contact us or visit us at any of our South Florida locations!