[PREMIUM] – So you’ve got an old computer than you don’t need anymore. Maybe you replaced with it a new one and would appreciate a few extra bucks. Something that is a bit tough to figure out is whether to sell local or not. Which one will bring the fastest results and more importantly the most cash? Something that’s also tough to figure out is how much a computer is worth (and what is considered reasonable to ask for a selling price).

The tips provided here will make it much easier to move out your old hardware for a tidy profit.


1. Laptops always command a higher price tag than desktops.

This is universally true because of their portable nature and the fact they’re proprietary. There is no such thing as a commercially available “custom” laptop. People know this and know what to expect when buying a used one. It is most likely true that potential buyers know everything about your particular laptop model before buying it.

2. If it doesn’t have a widely used operating system, this will take away value.

Some people think they can just throw on Ubuntu or some other free Linux distribution and that will be just as good of a sell as Windows. Wrong. People who buy computers want a ready-to-run operating system that they don’t have to re-learn. The same can be said for MacOS. If you’re selling a Mac and it doesn’t have MacOS, this is bad.

If it’s a PC and you don’t have a license to spare, do not put an operating system on it. Sell as a “No OS” system. Same can be said for Mac.

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3. Custom build PCs are the hardest to sell.

People want familiar names. Dell. Gateway. Hewlett-Packard. Apple. Sony. You get the idea. Non-brand name computers – no matter how high-quality the parts are inside – have a tougher time moving.

4. Existing warranty is a huge selling point.

This mainly applies to laptops. If there is an existing warranty still in effect – even if there’s only a month left of it – this does command a higher selling price for the overall unit.

5. No one cares what software is on it.

Other than the operating system, nobody cares what software is on it. It does not increase the value of your computer whatsoever. In fact it is better if you install the OS “straight” with nothing but what came with it originally.

The only exception to the rule is if you have Microsoft Office on it, as in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook because that’s valuable software. If it’s not Microsoft Office, no one cares. Repeat: NO ONE CARES.

6. Hardware upgrades do count

If you upgraded the RAM, state as such in the description. Do this for all other hardware you upgraded as well. For laptops this is particularly valuable (especially for things like RAM, hard drive, optical drive and so on).

7. Local or national?

Local: Craigslist.

National: eBay.

Advantages of Craigslist:

  • Free.
  • No extremely annoying “user rating” system.
  • No extremely annoying PayPal usage.
  • Easy to examine any competition before posting.
  • Best choice for local sales.

Advantages of eBay:

  • National exposure and nothing else.
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8. Reasons why selling a computer on eBay sucks

  1. If you don’t have a high “user rating”, the likelihood of you selling your computer is slim at best.
  2. You are essentially forced to use PayPal in order to get anyone to even consider buying your stuff.
  3. You are competing against hundreds (possibly thousands) of other sellers who can undersell you so easily it’s not even funny.
  4. It costs money every time you post a listing.
  5. Unless you make your computer sale country-specific, you will get tons of bids from Nigeria wasting your time and effort.
  6. Even if you take the time to put together a shipping calculator that states exactly how much shipping will cost, you will still get questions from stupid people that don’t know how to do something as simple as enter a ZIP code to find out what the S+H would be.
  7. You will get messages from people trying to wheel’n’deal with you and/or try anything just to get the price down. IGNORE people like this.
  8. If the transaction gets screwed up (and it might), PayPal will more often than not completely ignore you and you will be left with nothing. Your computer will be gone and your pockets empty. This has happened many, many times on eBay.

9. Do not oversell

People know a sales trick when they see one. When posting your listing, stick to the facts and only the facts. If you make your listing way too long and way too descriptive it appears you have something to hide.

10. General rules of thumb concerning potential buyers

  • If a buyer has to ask more than 3 questions, he’s trying to find any reason to shave off the price and haggle. If you encounter one of these hagglers, get rid of him.
  • People who respond quickly are usually the best buyers.
  • People who take days to respond are a complete waste of your time. Don’t chase after them.
  • NEVER do business with anyone who says “half now half next week”. You will never see the other half.
  • In addition to the above, never work out a payment plan. Either get everything up front or don’t bother.
  • If while on the phone with a potential buyer you hear lots of noise in the background (screaming children, clanking noises, etc.), this is strongly indicative that buyer has no money and is a haggler. Avoid.
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