Making money from your gadgets

August 29, 2012 3:52:40 PM PDT
You've probably seen the shows where they open old storage lockers and find valuable treasures inside. But could some of those treasures be even closer, just gathering dust in your drawer

From cell phones to DVD players, e-readers to video game systems, those old electronics can score big bucks if you know what to charge and when to sell. Now you can find out all you need to know with some helpful online resources.

When Varian Johnson started packing up his house for a move, he discovered a treasure trove of old electronics he'd forgotten all about.

He said, "You get it and you use it and you think you're going to sell it or do something with it or repurpose it and it kind of gets stuck at the bottom of the drawer and you forget about it."

But experts say it's time to clean out those drawers, because these old, outdated electronics could easily be turned into gadget gold.

Michael Fridgen, CEO of Decide.com, explained, "There's never been a better time to get top dollar for your electronics."

Of course some products have more resale value than others. Experts say smart phones, tablets and laptops are all great for resale, with Apple products holding the most value.

"Even an iPhone that's up to 18 months old will get up to 50 percent of its original value," Fridgen said.

An old Blackberry Curve is worth $75, a used Nintendo Wii could fetch about $150. While a first generation iPad is still worth around $300. While old printers or fax machines don't usually sell for much, experts say old model e-readers can retain much of their value.

Michael Flaxman, CEO and Co-Founder of Priceonomics.com, said, "They tend to work for very, very long time. When next year's e-reader comes out, it doesn't stop your old e-reader from being able to read a book."

So how do you know what an item is worth? You can try searching Craigslist, eBay or Amazon to start. Or a new site, Priceonomics.com, which analyzes thousands of deals each day to calculate current value.

"We've indexed hundreds of millions of posts," Flaxman said. "Absolutely anything you might buy on eBay, Craigslist or offline in the real world, we know what it's worth."

In addition to knowing what to sell, you'll want to consider when to sell.

Fridgen said, "If you sell your product before the new version is announced, you can get considerably more money for it."

Websites like Decide.com stay on top of the new release rumors and can help you decide whether to sell or hold.

"Prices are changing at a very fast rate," Fridgen said. "We see, on a given day, 20 percent of products are seeing a price change."

If the price is too low, consider donating instead of selling.

Flaxman said, "Oftentimes you can get a tax deduction, you'll get that item out of your house, and someone else will be able to start enjoying it."

As for Varian, he was surprised to find out his old gadgets could earn him more than $700 in cash.

"Very surprised, very surprised by how much it's worth," he said. "I think I'm going to sell it."

So if you want to sell your gadgets, experts say Craigslist is good for larger items that might cost a lot to ship, whereas eBay instant sale and Gazelle.com are great for items like phones.


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