By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
For iPhone owners who plan to upgrade after Apple's Sept. 10 media event, now is the moment to start looking at where and how to sell their current phones. Experts familiar with the resale market warn that the value of a current iPhone 5 will drop dramatically in the weeks to come. Anyone who wishes to upgrade to the iPhone 5, on the other hand, need only bide their time to get a bargain.
Related: Best smartphones for a penny or lessiPhone 5 is on its way out.
We spoke with Nik Ramen, chief operating officer and co-founder of uSell, a service that connects sellers to a network of professional buyers, to gather some inside tips on selling an iPhone. His first point: Lock in a price right away. USell's data from previous iPhone releases show that the current edition loses 5 percent of its value in the first week following the new edition's launch, 12 percent by the second week, and 20 percent by the third or fourth week.
Jeff Trachsel, chief marketing officer of NextWorth, a competing service, told CNN that the value of older iPhone models falls by 15 to 20 percent during the six weeks surrounding the launch of a new iPhone. NextWorth buys and sells devices through its website but has also partnered with Target to allow sellers to trade in devices at Target stores in exchange for Target gift cards.
Sellers are generally asked to rate the quality of the device and indicate whether there is any physical or functional damage. Currently, a white, 16GB iPhone 5 in good condition fetches about $300 on the resale market, but waiting likely means a decrease of $45 to $60 in the offer price. Even phones with cracked screens are still worth selling; the day we checked, in late August, uSell posted offers as high as $182 for a damaged iPhone 5. Potential sellers need not worry about being left without a phone in the interim -- they can lock in a quote now that will be good for 30 days.
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Several other online companies maintain marketplaces for used iPhones, and consumers wondering how much their iPhone is worth will probably find a range of quotes. When we did research last year to find the going price for an iPad 3, sites such as Craigslist, eBay, and Glyde posted the highest prices but no guarantee of a sale. Amazon's trade-in program (for gift cards) and Apple's own recycling program followed close behind.Sell your iPhone before the new model hits the stores.
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Glyde, mentioned above, acts as a marketplace where sellers list their items and desired prices while buyers look for a bargain; Glyde takes a cut out of the transaction. Gazelle, a big name in the industry, buys and resells devices directly or, in the case of some older devices, works with a partner recycling company to make money off the scrap metal. There are many more business models out there.
Before selling a device it may be worthwhile to search for a promo code to use. USell has created one for Cheapism's readers -- CHEAP10 -- which provides an extra $10 for any phone or device traded in by Sept. 30 (with no benefit to our site). There may be similar codes for the other resale sites.
If you're considering selling your iPhone online or off, act now before the price drops too low.
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