Cash in on your old kit
Assuming you’re allowed to sell on the software, you’ll naturally need to completely uninstall it from your PC first, as you’ll no longer have any right to use it. If it comes with a “certificate of authenticity” or some other physical documentation of the licence, you’ll need to pass this on to the new owner. If it has a product key or a serial number, you may also need to contact the publisher to get this transferred to the new owner once the sale is complete.
What’s worth selling?
If you’re a gamer, you can make decent pocket money by selling off old games that you’ve finished. Naturally, the more recent and popular a title is, the more it will go for: at the time of writing, a top title such as Diablo III can fetch around 80% of its regular retail price on the second-hand market. Prices plummet quickly, though, as more and more people finish games and the market becomes saturated, so don’t dawdle if you want to maximise your return.
The biggest returns, however, come from high-value software such as Windows, Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite – even older versions. A second-hand copy of Office Professional 2007 can still fetch upwards of £150, and although Photoshop CS5 has now been replaced by the worthy CS6, copies are still selling for more than £300. Deals such as this are highly attractive to freelancers and small businesses, for whom every penny counts. It can also be a cost-effective way to get the latest software, as the cost of an old version plus an upgrade licence can work out cheaper than paying full price for the current version.
If you’re thinking of taking this route yourself, however, be warned that upgrade licences typically supersede the licence for the old version of the software. So, for example, if you upgrade to Photoshop CS6 from CS5, you can’t then recoup some of the cost by selling on your copy of CS5.
Where to sell
There are two popular ways to sell software: you can sell it yourself through eBay, or you can take it into a high-street trade-in shop such as CeX. Each approach has both positive and negative points.
The eBay route is harder work. You have to check the licence yourself, create the listing and post the software to the buyer at the end of the auction. It’s comparatively slow, too: if you want to get the best price, you’ll want a seven-day auction or longer to give potential buyers the maximum opportunity to see and bid on your auction. However, if your item attracts a reasonable amount of attention, the final selling price can be worth the work. Windows Vista Ultimate sells for upwards of £40 on eBay, and Apple’s Logic Studio 9 music creation software regularly fetches more than £150.
If you go to a high-street shop, the pros and cons are more or less reversed. Simply hand over your software and you’ll get cash or credit right away. Although the responsibility is ultimately yours for ensuring you have the right to sell the software, the retailer will normally warn you if you’re trying to sell something that can’t be transferred. Prices are often lower, however, as the retailer has to take its cut. At CeX, you’ll get only £32 for your copy of Vista Ultimate, and £132 for Logic Studio 9 at the time of writing.
Peripherals and Components
Old smartphones represent easy money, but other gadgets are more tricky. Some will be worth hawking to the highest bidder; others you may as well chuck in the skip (sorry, we mean take to a local recycling centre).
The key factor in making money is brand. Apple kit tends to command the highest prices, and it’s also the easiest to shift. There’s another advantage of being an Apple fan boy: not only can you use eBay to auction off your gear, but many sites offering cash for phones will do the same for iPods and iPads.
If you have an original iPad (16GB Wi-Fi) for instance, cash-in prices hover around £150. A 32GB iPod touch (4th gen), meanwhile, goes for up to £135 on CeX, and a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 will net you around £210.
Unfortunately, other brands of MP3 players aren’t big earners, but rival tablets do well. If you have one of the first Asus Transformers you’ll score big, with CeX offering around £180 all-in for the 32GB tablet and keyboard dock. There’s cash available for the Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia Tab A200 and even the BlackBerry PlayBook, although after the recent price drop you’ll get only £80 for this.
Cameras, too, could be a ready source of income. DSLRs hold high value in the second-hand market, and it won’t surprise you to discover Canon and Nikon are the best sellers. A Nikon D5000, for instance, which is a former A-List leader, can fetch £300 or more with the kit lens thrown in; even an older Nikon D60 will go for a decent chunk – around £200. With video cameras, there’s less of a clear-cut hierarchy, but it’s possible to sell flagship models, from Panasonic in particular, for hundreds. The A-List occupant from two years ago – the HDC-TM700 – we’ve seen sell for around £400, which is half its original value.
It probably isn’t worth bothering with your compacts, though: most are a tough sell, with only a few capable of earning more than £50. Our former A-List favourite the Canon Ixus 105 goes for a maximum of £30, and we’ve seen auctions end with a final price of only £12. Only specialist shooters, such as the Panasonic LX3 and LX5, seem to command anything more than pocket money.
Bits and pieces
As for other peripherals and components, almost anything will sell for a few pounds if it’s in proper working order, and the best outlet is eBay. Don’t expect to get rich selling a few bits and pieces, though. There are so many CPUs, hard disks, graphics cards and motherboards on eBay that prices tend to be depressed. If you manage to shift a hard disk, though, don’t forget to wipe it properly first.
You’d be lucky to sell an old processor for more than £20. We saw one seller hawking a job lot of 44 CPUs, from Core 2 Duos to Pentium Ms for the sum of £27.51, and it’s even worse for obsolete components. Old SIMMs are sold almost exclusively in job lots and, as a scan through completed listings proves, most don’t sell at all.
For printers and all-in-ones it’s a buyer’s market, and with devices more than two years old mostly going for less than £20, selling may be more effort than it’s worth. TFT monitors, too, are ten a penny; if it’s smaller than 19in, you’re not going to get much more than £20.
The sad fact is most PC peripherals and internal components more than a year or two old are worth little – but don’t give up hope completely. Even if your gear seems antiquated, it’s still worth checking through the eBay listings, as circumstances can conspire to create the right market conditions for certain device types to make a resurgence.
Take 35mm negative scanners, for example: as digital cameras took over from film, the market for top-end models shrank to the extent that all the big names stopped making them. Several years on, and the lack of availability means 35mm negative scanners, particularly from Nikon, are in high demand from those looking to digitise their family photos. They therefore hold their value. If you have a Nikon LS-40 Coolscan IV ED from 2001 gathering dust, you may net in the region of £200. Not bad for something you thought you’d never need again.