The Ultimate Guide to Buying at Pawn Shops by Cedar Post Pawn

By November 28, 2017 2 Comments

Pawning something at a pawn shop isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s probably one of the easiest things that you can do to come up with cash quickly that won’t cost you and arm and a leg down the road.

Pawn shops work by making people loans against their merchandise and holding onto it for a specific period of time.

When the person is able to come back and pay the balance of the loan, the pawn shop gives them back their merchandise in the exact same condition that they left it in.

Of course, pawn shops will also offer to buy your items should you want to sell them instead.

The prices that they pay for your items will depend on a variety of elements, such as what condition the items are in or how complete they are.

If it’s something like a piece of gold jewelry, it might also depend on the weight of the item as well as the size and clarity of any diamonds involved.

Let’s cover the basics.

What To Do Before Going To The Pawn Shop

It’s best to have a game plan for what you are going to take to a pawn shop and what kind of condition it should be in. By spending a minute or two thinking about it before you pack up and go, you will give yourself the best chance of making sure that the pawn shop will give you a loan on your items, and furthermore, that you will get the most out of those items possible.

Let’s talk about three simple things you can do before you leave your house to be sure that you get the most money possible from a pawn shop.


Before you head off to the pawn shop, it’s a good idea to make sure that your item(s) are clean or in otherwise good condition. Pawn shops look at items as if they may one day be in the position of having to resell them. Customers don’t want to buy something that is badly damaged, extremely dirty, heavily marked up or otherwise flawed, so pawn shops don’t pay as much for items in that condition.

By having your items in the best condition possible beforehand, you are likely to find the pawn broker much more willing to work with you on borrowing as much money as possible against whatever collateral you have brought in.

Additionally, you want to make sure that you have all of the parts and accessories – or at least all of them that you can find. Much like the condition of an item, the pawn broker is going to be looking at the items you bring in for a loan as if they may have to turn around and sell them one day. Their customers won’t be too excited to buy something that’s missing parts and because of that, pawn brokers don’t pay as much as they might when you take something into them that is incomplete.

If it’s an item that has batteries, make sure that they are charged so that the pawn broker can verify that everything works as it should. If he or she can’t see that your item works as it should and that the batteries hold a charge, they know that it will be tough for them to try to sell it down the road should you end up forfeiting the loan. Because of that, pawn brokers want to see that the items you are bring in work just like they should.

Following these simple steps will likely get you a higher offer than if you hadn’t done these things as you will be presenting your item(s) in the best possible condition.


In the case of jewelry, if your items are very nice pieces, then you will want to take any certifications or appraisals with you. These will help you demonstrate to the pawn shop what grade and quality the stones are, the exact size of the stones in the jewelry, and precisely what the metal is that was used to make the jewelry.

It’s important to remember that if you have an appraisal, whatever value that appraisal places on the items is not the true value of them and not what the pawn shop will base their cash loan off of. Those appraisal values are based on replacing the items at retail cost. Pawn shops don’t deal in retail costs, they look at the actual or ‘Real’ value of the metal and diamonds involved.

That is to say, a pawn shop looks at the spot price of the metal based on it’s weight and purity. They look at the diamonds individual value based on the open diamond market and how weak or strong it is at the time that you make the loan.


The items that you take into a pawn shop should have some significant value on the used marketplace. That can mean things like:

While yes, we all know how much something may have cost when it was new, whatever items you are taking into the pawn shop are no longer new. If a pawn shops is in the position of having to resell them at one point, they will have to consider the current used value for the items as well as what the future demand will be for them.

Because of that, items that were made by ‘Off-brand’ or less desirable brands are not as likely to get as much money as items that are made by high quality manufacturers. For instance, a Black & Decker drill that you can buy at Walmart isn’t going to worth nearly as much money as a premium Milwaukee Lithium Ion Hammer Drill.


This is another question that is going to be determined by you state and local laws as they are what set the guidelines that pawn shops have to follow when making pawn loans for customers.

Typically speaking, most states offer their customers a minimum of one month to redeem whatever items that they had put into a pawn loan at a local pawn shop.

That having been said, some states only require that the items be held for 30 days, while other states go further and have made it the law that pawn shop much hold onto your items for 3, 4, or more months.

Again, in order to really determine the best answer for how long pawn shops much hold onto your items, it’s best just to go to and search the phrase “Pawn shops in my area” and call a few of the pawn shops in your city. Ask them how long a pawn loan is good for and if you can renew or pay on the loan to extend it in the future.

They will have no problem answering this question as it is one that they get all of the time, I assure you.


Yes, in many cases a pawn shop will negotiate with you on your items that you are bringing in. Additionally, if you are looking to buy something, they will typically be willing to negotiate with you on the price of whatever those items are.

A good tip is to not get too pushy with the pawn shop. If you only offer then 50% of what they are asking for an item, you will likely insult them and kill the negotiation.

On the other hand , if you re bring something in and ask them for double what they are offering you, they will probably stiffen up a little bit and be less willing to work with you to get you more.

When negotiating with a pawn shop, it’s always best to start with smaller, more realistic goals. 20% in either direction is about the maximum acceptable amount to try to negotiate.


Pawn shops are extremely safe businesses and are operate by ethical, morally sound business owners. You can check out reviews on Google to get insight on specific places.

With the popularity of shows like Pawn Stars, the general public is beginning to realize that pawn shops are brightly lit, well run, honest operations that can offer them the cash they need when they need it the most, and at very afford rates.

Additionally, when shopping for a new item, people are discovering that pawn shops are not full of stolen items and are in fact and great place to find awesome deals on lightly used merchandise that works perfectly and often comes with some kind of warranty.

Cedar Post Pawn Shop

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Thanks for saying how safe pawn shops are. I agree that checking reviews online would be a good way to get a feel for a good shop. I’m looking for a pawn shop, so I’ll have to consider how safe it is.

  • I’m glad that you talked about pawn shops evaluate the items taken to them, especially the part where you mentioned that the item must be clean or if it is in good condition. I understand that the pawn shops look at the item while thinking that they may have to resell them, which explains why they look at each one thoroughly. I am planning to have one of my gadgets pawned due to some financial difficulties, and this is a great guide for me so that my request for the loan can be granted faster. Thanks for these great tips!

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