Juggling income and spending is a tricky task at the best of times, but occasionally it becomes almost impossible. Pawn broking is one of the oldest professions known to us, and is often a practical solution to a short-term cash flow problem. You leave your item with the pawnshop, and the broker gives you an agreed sum of money. If you return within the agreed time, usually 30 days, you can buy back your item. If you don’t, he keeps it and will sell it as soon as he can. It seems simple, but it’s best to know exactly what you’re doing, so here are 11 top tips for using a pawn shop.
1. Choose the Item You’re Going to Pawn with Care
Mend broken items and make sure tapes, and CDs play properly. Test electronic equipment, and if possible, find any manuals, or operating instructions. Make sure sets are complete, and include remote controls, chargers and power cords. Clean your items and present them well. If you don’t appear to value something, the pawnbroker won’t put much of a price on it.
2. Sentimental Value
One thing you have to remember is that when using a pawn shop you are putting your item at risk in the event you cannot afford to pay to retrieve it. Do not pawn things if you will miss them should the worst happen. The pawnbroker has no interest in the fact it is your grandmother’s ring, but you do.
3. Know the Worth
Support unusual or collectable items. Using a pawn shop to get the most for your valuables is easier if you can prove the worth. Anything which can add to the resale value will help you raise cash. Try and include supporting information, such as certificates, newspaper or magazine articles, or sale catalogues showing similar items.
4. Check What Can Be Pawned
Make sure the pawnbroker is interested in taking your item. Some don’t take VHS tapes or car stereos for instance.
5. Verify Who You Are
Not only a top tip for using a pawn shop but also a practicality; make sure you have appropriate identification. No reputable pawnbroker will do business without identification.
6. Treat the Pawnbroker with Respect
Using a pawn shop is a business transaction between responsible people. Don’t try to argue or hurry him. Remember, you know you are coming back for the item, but he doesn’t, and he has to consider his profit margin if he has to sell your item.
7. Have a Specific Amount You Need to Raise in Mind
Explain what you need rather than just asking for ‘as much as possible’. If the item is easy to resell, the broker may raise the amount he is offering by a small amount to meet the precise sum you have in mind.
8. Keep Your Ticket in a Safe Place
Some pawnbrokers charge a fee for lost tickets.
9. Mark the Return Date in Your Diary
Be sure to go back in plenty of time. Don’t let illness, traffic problems or last-minute emergencies cause you to miss your collection date, or the pawnbroker will sell your items. If you want to buy them back, you will have to pay the price the pawnbroker has put on them.
10. Be Aware of Interest on the Loan
If you need to extend the loan, make sure you ask in plenty of time. You may be able to extend the loan by paying interest on it. Be aware that the interest on a small loan may be as much as the loan itself, to cover the time the pawnbroker has to spend with paperwork.
11. Be a Customer Too
Pawnshops are closely regulated by the police, so are not usually targeted by burglars trying to sell stolen goods, and they’re often great places to pick up a bargain.
Everyone gets into cash flow problems from time to time, for all manner of reasons. If you look on it as a straightforward business service and follow these top tips for using a pawn shop can be a useful way of helping you out of a short-term tight spot, making your money go further.
Top Photo Credit: inkyfingerz