If your only impression of pawn shops is what you see on television and at the movies, you may be doing yourself a great disservice—particularly if you’re someone who likes a bargain. Pawn shops are in the business of making loans but, because people sometimes default on those loans, they become retailers by default—retailers who are looking to make back what they loaned and a profit, which means prices that can still be far below actual value. Here are few tips for getting the best value from a pawn shop purchases when you shop for jewelry in the DC area:
- Do your research. You need to know how much something is worth before you can begin negotiating a price for. Some items retain their value better than others, and condition matters.
- Yes, negotiate! A sticker price is a starting point, but many factors can determine what you’ll actually pay, including how long the item’s been in the store, how many similar items are in the store, what the return policy is, and if you’re paying cash.
- Compare prices on small-ticket items or name brands below the biggies like Rolex and Apple. They might be harder for the broker to move and/or the broker may not be as well-versed in those brands as you are. This might be particularly true if you’re an expert in a niche market.
- If you’ve got an item to trade, ask. It might be worth it to a pawn shop in Northern Virginia to get rid of old inventory and replace it with something new.