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.

How to find out what it is worth

Macs do hold their value much more than other computer hardware, but a degree of depreciation should still be expected. It is important to remember that the second-hand market works both ways; you may be out to get rid of an unwanted machine while trying to maximise profit, but your potential buyers will be looking for a bargain – prepare to compromise. No buyer is going to be prepared to pay over the odds, and while you should be willing to take a small hit on your initial asking price, you should not have to undercharge simply to get rid of your old computer.

Independent websites such as Mac2Sell may provide more realistic estimates of value

For a very broad, ballpark figure as to the value of your Mac, use the Apple Computer Reuse and Recycling web page. Visit www.apple.com/uk/recycling/computer and scroll down to click the Get started button. Use the four drop-down menus to indicate the details of the computer you are going to sell and then click Continue. You can then use the option boxes to the right of the page to give an indication of the condition of your computer. When you have provided all of this information, click the Continue button and you will be shown an estimated value in pounds, provided by Dataserve. If you are happy with the quote, you could send your old Mac to Dataserve to recycle (or reuse) on your behalf. Or you could just use that figure as an estimate of the value you could sell it for independently. Another valuation website to try is www.mac2sell.net.

Of course, it is always a good idea to check out the market for yourself – doing a little research can really pay off in the end. Have a look through adverts in the local newspapers and trading magazines. By trawling through the computer sections you may find that other people are selling systems that are similar to your own and you will be able to see what they are selling for.

Compare and contrast

It is all well and good seeing the price of another Mac in a newspaper or magazine, but you have no way of finding out how much a particular system ended up selling for, or even if it sold at all. This is where eBay can be very useful. Obviously you have the option of using the online auction site to actually sell your Mac if you feel so inclined, but whether you decide to go down this route or not, there is no harm in checking out the competition.

The benefit of checking on eBay is that it is easy to see just how popular different models are currently proving. Unlike print adverts, it is also easy to keep a track of individual auctions and find out whether a particular computer sells or not. The sheer number of users on eBay means that you should be able to find at least a couple of auctions for the same model Mac as you are trying to sell – bear the sale prices in mind when pricing your own system ready for selling.

Protect yourself when selling

If you have decided to sell your Mac through local advertising, it is likely that you will deal with your buyer face to face. Unless you are feeling particularly generous, arrange for buyers to come to you rather than the other way round. This is not only a matter of convenience, but also safety. When the time comes to actually make the sale, it is important to deal in cash – you have no way of knowing whether the stranger walking away with your old MacBook Air has just handed you a cheque that will bounce when you try to cash it.

Using PayPal as a payment method offers protection and security to both buyer and seller

Selling on eBay and other websites also requires care. On eBay you should read the feedback of your buyer. If you are willing to accept cheques, make it clear that you will not send out the item until the cheque has cleared. To help avoid this delay, it is advisable to use PayPal. In this way you will know that when you receive a payment, it is not going to be recalled, and you have the backing of PayPal should any problems arise with the transaction. PayPal also offers buyer protection which is an added bonus and may help to increase the chance of a sale.