There are a few reasons why you may want to sell your laptop. You could be selling your current laptop so you can upgrade to a newer model. Or, you could be selling your laptop because you need some extra cash. But regardless of the reason — one thing that most people have in common when selling a laptop is that they want to maximize their sale. And by maximize, we mean that you likely want to get as much money as possible.
Getting the most money from your sale shouldn’t be difficult, however, there are some things to consider, and also some things you should do in order to make sure you meet your expectations. Continue reading to learn how to sell your laptop and about who buys used laptops.
Where can I sell my laptop?
When selling your laptop, you should first decide how you want to sell it. And, once you’ve decided how to sell your laptop, you can move on and decide where to sell it. The how refers to the method, and the where refers to the specific site (marketplace).
- Selling online: This includes listing your laptop for sale on a site such as eBay or Swappa. An interested user would purchase your laptop, make an online payment, and you would then package and ship your laptop to the buyer.
- Selling locally: This begins similar to selling online. When selling locally, you begin by creating an online advertisement for your laptop. You can use sites such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Swappa Local. Once another user has agreed to purchase your laptop, you would then meet with the buyer and exchange your laptop for their cash.
- Trade-in: This option isn’t quite the same, as you would not be creating an online advertisement, and you would not be dealing with other users. Using a trade-in service means you will be selling your device to a company, such as Apple, Amazon, or Best Buy.
Selling for cash vs. Using a trade-in program
Selling your laptop for cash would be associated with an online or local sale, and these options both place you in control of how much money you will get. Of course, a buyer can negotiate, but as the seller, you have final say over the price. When using a trade-in service you will get paid a pre-set amount, which is typically based on the device type and condition. You, as the seller, do not have control over how much money you get when using a trade-in service.
Selling your laptop using a trade-in service does have an advantage in that it is generally a simple process, and it often means you will be able to sell your laptop fast. But you will likely be trading some value for the simplicity and speed. Using a trade-in service also means your payment comes in the form of a gift card, as opposed to cash, and that limits where you can spend the money.
Where can I get the most money?
We can appreciate the simplicity of using a trade-in service, but you should expect to get less money if you decide to go with a trade-in service. For that reason, we recommend opting for an online sale or a local sale to get the most money. Additionally, you can list your laptop for sale on Swappa with an option to sell online or locally — using the same listing (online advertisement).
To help make sure you get the most money we also recommend you review the marketplace to see what the sale will cost you in fees. Some online marketplace sites charge a sale (seller) fee. Fees can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the value. Swappa has a sale fee, however, the sale fee is paid by the buyer. You can read more about the Swappa sale fee, and see how that fee compares to eBay on our Swappa Market Fees FAQ page.
Selling on Swappa, or Swappa Local, should allow you to maximize your sale and get the most money.
How much should I sell my laptop for?
The value of your laptop will be determined by several factors, such as the make and model, the specs, and the condition. The value may also be partially determined by your listing. Buyers are looking to see listings that have a detailed and accurate description, with as much system information as possible, and high-quality photos.
The value of your laptop will be based on several factors such as:
- Which model you have?
- How old is your laptop?
- What are the specs of your laptop?
- What condition is your laptop in?
Knowing the details of your laptop will help you determine the value. If you have a Windows laptop you can navigate to Settings -> System -> About -> Device Specifications to find information about your specific laptop. If you are a Chromebook user you would want to open the Chrome browser and type “chrome://system” in the address bar.
Who buys used laptops?
There is a large group of people that will buy a used laptop, and within that group, they will have a variety of reasons for buying used. Some people simply want to purchase a newish laptop (as opposed to new) in an effort to save some money, and some may be looking to buy used to get a secondary computer for their kids or other loved ones. And, if your laptop is in good condition and priced fairly, it stands a better chance of selling quicker.
What to do before selling your laptop
Preparation to sell your laptop should consist of four steps:
- Factory Reset
The first two steps, inspecting, and cleaning, go hand-in-hand and can be done at the same time. As a starting point, buyers will be looking for a laptop that is clean. Few people will be happy to receive a laptop that is dirty and full of grime. But on that note, buyers are often willing to overlook a scratch, scuff, or other small marks on a laptop.
The key here is to carefully inspect your laptop while giving it a good cleaning. The inspection part will help when you create your listing, both in terms of details that can be included in your written description, and in the pictures you share to show off the condition. A few tips to keep in mind when you clean your machine:
- Use a damp, soft, lint-free cloth.
- Keep liquids away, and do not get any moisture in any openings.
- Do not use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or anything abrasive.
- Do not spray any cleaner directly on your laptop.
Isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean your laptop, but you’ll want to make sure you are using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe. In addition, Clorox disinfecting wipes can also be used to clean your laptop.
The next steps, the backup and factory data reset, are a little more involved, and also differ depending on the type of laptop you have. In this article, we’ll be going over how to prepare your PC (Windows) laptop and your Chromebook. You can review our earlier article if you have a MacBook.
How to prepare your PC laptop
- Select Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Backup -> Add a drive
- Select Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Recovery
Once you are in the Recovery section, click the Get Started button under the Reset this PC header. From this point you should select the following: Remove everything -> Remove files and clean the drive – Reset -> Continue
How to prepare your Chromebook
The backup process is a bit easier with a Chromebook, but you should double-check to ensure your sync settings are correct and backup any files you have in your Downloads folder before moving to the factory reset. You can view (and make any necessary changes to) your sync settings using the following steps:
- Settings -> People -> Sync and Google services -> Manage sync
You can backup your Downloads folder using Google Drive. The Downloads folder can be found by navigating the following path:
- Launcher -> Up arrow -> Files -> Downloads
You should sign out of your Chromebook to begin the factory reset process. This can be done by selecting the time in the bottom right corner of your screen and clicking Sign out. To finish the factory reset process you can navigate these steps:
- Press and hold: Ctrl + Alt + Shift + r
- Select: Restart -> Powerwash -> Continue
How to list your laptop for sale
Ensuring your laptop is in good condition and priced fairly will help to make sure your laptop sells quicker. However, to make your listing stand out amongst the others you will need to make sure you have a detailed description with information about the make and model number, the amount of internal storage, the amount of RAM, and details about the processor.
You also want to make sure that you note any marks, scratches, or scuffs, which can be done in your text description and also shown in the images you upload. Make sure the images you upload to your listing are high-quality (clear and well lit) and show the laptop from all sides. Plenty of buyers will overlook small marks or scuffs, but making sure those marks or scuffs are known before the purchase is made will help make sure the sale will be successful all the way through to the end.
With details of your laptop noted, images captured, and everything backed up and factory reset — the next step is to create your listing (online advertisement). This can be done by heading to the Swappa website, and clicking on the “Sell on Swappa” button located in the top right corner. You can also navigate to the “Sell” pages for Windows laptops or Chromebook laptops using the following links:
From either of those pages, you can navigate to your specific model by clicking on the appropriate image, or by using the “Search products” box. After you’ve found and selected your specific model, you then follow the prompts and enter the required information about your specific laptop.
If you are selling your laptop with plans to upgrade to a different or newer model, you can look towards Swappa for your next purchase. Buying newish on Swappa brings the potential to save hundreds of dollars as compared to shopping new retail. On Swappa you’ll find a variety of MacBook, Chromebook, and Windows laptops. You will also find plenty of other devices such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, game consoles, games, cameras, and home tech.