This guide is for buying laptops and maybe desktops locally, though Craigslist, Gumtree, BackPage, Kijiji, Facebook, and apps like Let Go, Offer Up, Wallapop and whatever, its all the same premise.
Why buy local?
Buying local is great if you want to try out and test the laptop before you bite the bullet. It just depends who/what it is, but sometimes buying local can yield you a better price than eBay. Usually I like to know what laptop model is posted, people are weird, they won’t post a photo of what they are selling, it can be a stock photo or even a different model and then talk about what model or condition it is on the text. I’ll check them but I won’t keep my hopes up, because since I am a more ‘technical’ type of buyer I know pricecly what I am selling/buying, some sellers just see two words and think its the something much better. It’s just how it is.
Always set up a time that works for you, IMO if you’re looking to commute 45 minutes or more, don’t be surprised if they flake out, if you guys didn’t communicate, it is annoying when that happens, but ‘bug’ people because THERE ARE A SHIT LOAD OF FLAKES WHO SAY THEY’LL BUY IT TOMORROW OR LATER ON THE DAY. Some people who are selling computers forget that they have an ‘appointment’.
Meet up in a public place
First and foremost, it is always good to meet up in a public place for a laptop, cafes area always good, students and business people use them all the time regardless of not buying crap there. Technically it is soliciting and loitering but if its a spot you know then you should be fine, they can’t really do much if you buy a coffee or whatever because you’re a customer then. Phone conversations are good, set a date/time for a meeting, I have sold computers with text only before.
Also it is good to have someone with you during the computer purchase. Another person is good for security and well, they might ask other questions you probably may forget. Its good to have more than one opinion IMO. Not always people get mugged but you never know if you’re going to get jumped by one person or many.
I personally don’t trust sellers who do not have a car or cant meet up in a public place, that throws a red flag. Or when it comes to going to their house and you don’t get to go into their home. They could do this because they don’t trust you, which is fine, but another reason is they do this is that they are probably selling you something that is too good to be true and has a problem…
Meeting at your house may or may not be OK. You don’t know if they will go there to ‘get a feel’ of your place. What I’m trying to say is that, for all we know that laptop is stolen and they don’t mind to go to your house to see if there is other good stuff there too, if so, meet with other people at your house. Even then you guys could still get robbed. I personally am not afraid of going to people’s homes but I validate that I am an enthusiast and seller on eBay as well.
If you are trading, be sure to test what you are receiving! Remember, checking sold listings for what you are getting as a trade. After getting burned on trading headphones that were ‘lightly used’ don’t believe them, cash is always king and not check or credit.
Don’t be dumb and don’t take payments unless you are totally fine with losing money on a sale. People who can’t pay up immediately may likely have problems paying payments later. I don’t care if they tell you that they will 100% pay and 100% be for real and 100% put their word on it. 95% of people who tell me that shit, do not meet up, do not go with the deal, do not have the money to pay you for it. Don’t waste your time, don’t waste on trading a tattoo.
Always test before you trust
Don’t mean to sound paranoid but the more details of the machine is better, the best sellers often describe and pay attention to detail I have trusted too much to a seller before. I had bought a bios locked laptop before and one that didn’t even work. “It just needs to be charge” they’ll tell you, since you’ve gone out your way to meet them in their neighborhood, they obviously aren’t that far away from their home. Why for any reason no one charge their laptop before someone buys it? Why couldn’t they meet you at a local place where power is acceptable? I get some people are rushed and busy and maybe forgot, but if the laptop doesn’t turn on because of a dead battery and nothing was described about that, then its obvious it is a dud.
If you still want to go with the purchase, buy it for what it would worth as untested parts. Who cares if that person says it costs them $1000 and they want $300. If they can’t bother to charge the laptop for $70, its not worth paying for. Check if the LCD has any cracks, or if it has RAM, a hard drive, pay what the RAM/HDD would be worth and what the frame would be. Its crude but if they really really insist it is worth more, then tell them to prove it by powering it on. If they get offended by it, or pissed, just walk away, who cares about them having their time wasted.
Test to bios
One major problem is not testing it to bios, because you’ll see if it has a bios lock. To me BIOS locks don’t matter as I have ways to get around them. Most of these come from corporate environments, it is fishy a very late or current year laptop is being sold for a very great price but has a bios lock, its probably stolen. Anyways, BIOS locks suck, but if it can boot to a USB or DVD, then well that’s all you need for the most part. Unless you can’t change UEFI, graphical, power or brightness settings.
Next issue is computrace, which is kind of like asset control from businesses. You would have to make sure these laptops do not have it activated or if it has been cleared from the prior environment. You could permanently disable it, if you can’t or if it prompts for password, that can be problematic.
These sort of problems can happen with online buying but it is usually described.
There are usually five different types of local sellers
- Bonus points if they have the original box, recovery CDs and manual, these will add a 10 to 30 increase in value, even more so if buying vintage… or at least nostalgic points.
- Typically want to sell for 80% of what they paid for if its a late model.
- Just don’t need it anymore, probably sell it as a good deal given they have it replaced.
- On older machines sometimes they just want their laptop go to a good home.
- Laptop buying/reselling is a good business, these people usually charge 10 to 50% more than ebay
- Some are not very descriptive of the model they are selling, buy on your own risk.
- Some sell pirated programs, no need to pay extra for them.
- Some of these guys know where to get computers pretty cheap and charge market price, some are chil some are not.
- Don’t mail a payment to anyone, even if its partial pay
- There aren’t too many sellers who are scammers, usually they will pretend they are buyers
- There has been instagram accounts of people selling vapes with 10K+ followers, even though you payed though paypal, once it hits a certain time threshold, you’re boned. I see no difference if they are selling that way too, trust real seller websites
- Want to sell a broken computer and pretend the battery is dead
Desperate and cleaning out
- They honestly just want to get rid of it or need the money
- Could be a very good deal since they aren’t tech savvy
- Don’t know and don’t care lol
- I take chances on these as they can be good investments.
- Probably some BS why they are selling it, don’t be too concerned about it.
- They could advertise on craigslist or even be on google
- Could possibly get a good price on a parts machine without eBay/PayPal fees
- Some accidentally spend too much time on them before market research and overcharge.
- Might be able to test them before buying
- Saucey is a electronic waste recycler too! 🙂
I am all about good communication, I have a very hard time buying or selling from/to illiterate and lazy people. Not to say people who use shortened words is bad, but I find it really hard when someone who doesn’t sound/look professional is selling a computer. Usually they like to sell some shitty shiny laptop with big overpriced tinny speakers and 17″ 720p screen. Dumb people don’t know what they are selling, they’ll look online and search their laptop, and pick the highest price. I’ve seen it happen and it is hilarious. Don’t buy a ‘gaming laptop’ unless its really a discrete GPU 15″ or bigger laptop, also don’t believe a gaming laptop is good under $400.
Other avenues of local selling
There’s a few people who don’t sell through craigslist/kijiji/backpage/gumtree because their ads are constantly deleted and flagged most likely due to a reseller who doesn’t want competition. Or just they are lazy and don’t think CL is cool for them.
Facebook business pages will always charge more for their products, because, well they are a real business instead of a person. They have to pay for electricity and employees and their promise, aka warranty. Evne then you’re more likely to get guaranteed working machine. Like their page anyways, who cares, they might have good deals.
Facebook Selling groups have some good results. There’s a lot of people who don’t use anything other than that because they don’t want to get killed or robbed. Yeah, people are that dumb. Beware of legit, snapback, big dolla sella. Do Not Buy From People Who Type With Spelling Errors Or Like To Capitalize Every Letter. They Are Ballers And You’re Just Hating Because You’re A Lil Bitch. Just trade them for a pair of Air Jordans and weed and you’ll probably save good money. You’re buying a laptop, not clown attire. With that said there are people who are respectable who are swaggy and don’t really speak well, but professionalism is key always when it comes to selling.
I’ve seen plenty of times cellphone buyers getting ripped off and then blocked by the schemer. I feel no remorse for them because, well all they had to do was test it at the local cellphone shop to see if it can be transferred and everything. Stay as a smart buyer for this, if they start saying other things, meeting elsewhere, asking if you could change your way of payment, there might be something up.
Wallapop/Offer Up are apps for people to sell their items easy! This is an app that doesn’t have any fees or anything and you basically snap photos and have a simple description. To me it is kind of silly but some people just like them as it’s interface is a lot prettier than browsing a webpage. Anyways, there can be deals in there, as a seller I had a gotten a sale through that rather than craiglist, so yes there are sellers/buyers who don’t look though it.
Friends and family always have something for sale. Though I wouldn’t suggest my guide prices to them if they could get more, no point in starting the fire for the bridge you’re gonna burn with a good deal.