There are many reasons why Macs are considered superior to PCs and there has been a massive surge in interest in Apple machines in recent years – at least partly as a result of the increased profile of Apple following the success of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. As well as the droves of customers purchasing new iMacs and MacBook Pros, there is a huge and ever-growing market for second-hand Macs.

One of the many advantages of Macs is the fact that they retain their value far more than other computers and this means that if you are considering upgrading your existing Mac, there’s a good chance you can make back some of the purchase price by selling your old machine. In this feature we’ll reveal everything you need to know – from preparing your old Mac to sell to getting the best price you possibly can for it.

Where to sell it

As with any product, there are a number of ways you can sell your Mac. The most obvious options are to sell it to a friend, advertise it in the local newspaper, or auction it on eBay – each of these options has various advantages and disadvantages. Selling to someone you know – be it a friend or family member – will mean that you are able to sell quickly, but it may also mean parting company with your computer for ‘mates rates’. As well as potentially losing out on some money, selling technical equipment to friends and family may also result in you becoming a support line. If a quick sale is what you are after, this may be the best option, but be prepared to accept less money and potentially help with setting up and configuration.

eBay is not the only online option for selling a Mac, sites such as Gumtree can also attract potential buyers

Staying local

Another option is to try to sell locally by advertising in the local newspaper or posting advertisements in shop windows. The fact that you are keeping things local means that your potential number of buyers is greatly reduced, but it also means that there is potential for a quick sale – someone spotting your advert could call you up and pop round with cash in a matter of hours. If you work in an office, it may also be worth pinning an advertisement on the noticeboard, or sending a  company-wide email. As with friends and family, word of mouth may be all that is needed to bring a buyer to you rather than you having to track one down.

For many people, the best option will be to sell online, and while there are various options in this area, such as Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) and Gumtree (www.gumtree.com), eBay will generally be the best option. With a huge number of users, it is difficult to find a larger audience than can be found on eBay. If you have a computer that generates interest in the eBay community, you may well find that you end up with a bidding war on your hands and you could walk away with more money than you were expecting.

Selling a Mac on eBay is an easy way to reach as large an audience as possible

Selling on eBay isn’t hard, but it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Bidders rightly expect decent services from buyers, so you should take care to ensure that your Mac is in good condition and has been cleaned as much as possible. Should any queries come through via the website, try to answer them as quickly as possible. Honesty is also very important. If your Mac has suffered any cosmetic damage, however minor, be sure to mention it. The photos you take should not be retouched, and to help increase trust, include shots of any damage. When setting up an auction you can choose how long it should be – this may depend on how quickly you want to generate cash – and you can set a reserve price so you don’t get short-changed.

Pitfalls to avoid

Buying and selling anything can be fraught with problems, but this is particular true with high-value products such as computers. The old adage runs ‘buyer beware’, but sellers need to take precautions as well. In a bid to make money quickly, it is easy to be talked into handing over what you’re selling for much less than it is worth. Having done your research, be prepared to stand your ground. You may have to give way slightly on price, but don’t be swayed too much.

When selling your Mac, you will need to consider the software that is installed on it. The buyer will rightly expect a copy of OS X to be installed, but check the licence terms of other software to ensure that transfer to someone else is possible – if you are intending to use the software on a new computer, the old software should not be sold.

Check the terms of your software licences to see whether they can be transferred to someone else

It is also important to remember that when you sell something, particularly online, you are entering into a contract with your buyer. This means that should your computer fail to function when it is sold, you will have to provide a refund. With this in mind, it is vital that you check and double-check the condition of everything you are intending to sell and take care when packaging if the item is to be posted or couriered to avoid damage in transit. You should also consider postal insurance to protect yourself in case your computer is lost or damaged after sending.