How do I get the best price at a pawn shop?

How do I get the best price at a pawn shop?

Whether you have a laptop that stands in the study collecting dust or you need a cash loan to cover an unexpected expense, a pawn shop is a great place to make some extra cash, get cash or find that item you've been looking for.

The global pawnshop industry is booming. An economic recession, retrenchments being experienced by every second person, together with sky-rocketing gold and silver prices are attracting more and more middle to upper-class customers looking to sell unused items or obtain a short-term loan.

South Africa's economic climate has seen a substantial decline in consumer's disposable income and the need for an institution that can not only provide much needed financial assistance to dire consumers, but also provide a platform to sell items for instant cash has never been more needed.

The pawnshop industry is in it's prime, there are more than 15 000 pawn shops and pawnshop brokers in South Africa. Consumers can sell unused items for instant cash, or they can "trade-in" valuable items in exchange for a loan. The value of the collateral determines the consumer's affordability to re-pay the loan. If the consumer is unable to pay the loan, the collateral will be sold.

As pawnshops don't offer to loan the full market value of the collateral, it's imperative to get the best price you can. After all, you are doing this because you need money, so you want to make sure you get the absolute best price possible. Here are a few tricks to help you do just that.

Sell it

Often pawnshops offer more money for an item if you sell it to them as opposed to using it as collateral for a loan. The reason for this is because they can then re-sell the item immediately rather than holding the item for the full term of the loan.

Try to avoid selling or even pawning sentimental items like family heirlooms. Once it's sold, it's gone.

Do your homework

Before going to the pawnshop find out what the item you have is worth and even compare prices online. This will help you determine if the offer you get from the pawnshop is a good one.

Bring all documentation

If you are pawning a high-value item such as jewelry or a rare collectible, be sure to get it appraised and bring in the report to the pawnshop. This shows the authenticity of your item.


One of the most popular questions around pawnshops is regarding the ability to negotiate. Most times, pawnbrokers are open to negotiations, so put on your bargaining hat the moment you walk in. This is where the research you did on the value of your item is important. Remember, hold your ground when negotiating and don't accept an offer if it doesn't seem fair. There are thousands of pawnshops around that you could pawn your item at. Make sure that the offer you get seems fair and is in line with the value of your item.

Shop around

Just because selling an item might seem a bit unconventional, doesn't mean you should shop around. Check out different pawn shops in your area as well as some of the online ones. Some pawn shops specialize in certain items such as antiques if you have a specialized item you might be able to get a better offer at certain pawnshops than at the more general ones.

Clean it up

Take some time to clean up the items you are selling. Polish it, dust it, scrub it, whatever you have to do to make sure it sparkles. This leaves a great impression and will often fetch you more cash than the same item that hasn't been scrubbed down.

Spin a tale

It might sound a little far-fetched but having a good story that accompanies the item you are selling can sometimes work to your advantage. Many pawnshops will take into consideration your story and your circumstances when determining how much they will loan you. If your financial position has gone from bad to worse, make sure they know it. Pawnshops have been known to loan up to 100% of an item's value if they feel you have a personal attachment to the item and will be back for it.

There you have it, 7 ways to get the best prices for your items at a pawnshop. If you need quick cash, a pawnshop can be a great solution. In fact, some people have turned buying items at auctions and garage sales and reselling them at pawn shops into a fun little side hustle.

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