Pawnshops value electronics based on their appraised value, condition and the demand for the items should they need to sell it as the result of an unredeemed ticket. Unlike other frequently pawned products, however, electronics don’t hold their value over time. A laptop’s worth in six months may be a fraction of what it is today, a factor that pawnshops must consider when deciding how much to offer.
Electronics prices at pawnshops are determined in part by their wholesale value. In addition, prices on eBay and Amazon indicate what particular items are selling for nationally. Perhaps more than any other pawned item, electronics require a pawnshop to understand both its market and general technology trends. Introduction of new models and new technologies can cause the value of the old to plummet, so items that cost a fortune during the last holiday season may be all but worthless in the next. On the other hand, some brands retain their value better and may therefore be more useful to a pawnshop owner. Apple products, for example, may carry sufficient demand even if they are a generation or two old, and high-end electronics and digital cameras may also be desirable.
As a general rule, pawnshops prefer electronics that are two years old or newer. Otherwise, dealing with outdated technology makes the transaction too much of a risk. Similarly, electronics in good condition are easier to sell than those with blemishes, and thus may fetch a larger loan. That's an important consideration, since around 20 percent of items brought in for pawning are not redeemed and must be sold. Because electronics depreciate quickly, there’s a greater risk that you won’t be able to get the anticipated value if you need to sell. Electronics can also lead to dissatisfied customers who may wonder why the iPad they brought in as collateral a year ago doesn’t fetch the same price now.
Since many electronics come out of the box with accessories, pawnshop customers likely expect that what they’ll buy from you will have the same accompaniments. As such, electronics that come with chargers and adapters carry a higher value than those that don’t. When a customer brings in a video game system, a console alone may not be worth that much, but a newer system with all the controllers and cords, as well as some games, will be easier to sell.
Ultimately, most pawnshops have some flexibility regarding how much they can offer. While you don’t conduct credit checks before accepting merchandise, good pawnshop owners use whatever information they do have to determine the likelihood that the item will be redeemed and how long that will take. If you have a repeat customer looking to get a $100 short-term loan for an iPad that would usually only fetch $80, you might consider him a low risk and give him the cash he needs, assuming that he’ll make scheduled payments. Someone you’ve never seen before might not get the same break.