Realities of buying second-hand

Not everyone has the luxury of buying everything new, top of the range or right off the shelf. But the preconceptions of buying second-hand as being just a “cheap” option needs to be broken. Buying second-hand is smart shopping, end of story. There are some realities to face when going down the second-hand route and, at the end of it all, it’s up to you to decide if it will work for you.

You need details

You can’t go into a second-hand sale blind. You need to do your research on the product you want to buy as it stands on the market. Specifications, price range, price differences through various outlets (including sales and discount prices) and product reviews. Find out if this is, in fact, the model, colour and specific product you are looking for.

It’s important to know these things when searching online, or in thrift stores, so that you don’t end up unknowingly buying a knock-off or falling for a scam. It will also help to know what the general life span of the product is when looking at the asking price, to distinguish whether it would be worth it to buy it as an old second-hand item or spend a bit more money to buy it new and have it last longer.

It’s not going to be perfect

It’s had a previous owner, and even when “still packaged” goods go up on the buy/sell Facebook group, you need to consider how it’s been handled since its first purchase. Get it into your head now already that it’s probably not going to be in perfect condition, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be perfect for you. Make sure to check it out before you buy it.

If you’re buying second-hand for necessity, then all you need is good working condition and an incredibly reasonable price. If you’re buying second-hand for a bit of luxury then look for unopened items sold below the market price and be sure that there isn’t a better sale price out there somewhere before you buy.

Consider certain items even if they are looking a bit sad. Sometimes you will be able to fix it up, refurbish or upgrade it somehow to get it to meet your needs while still saving on a great price.

It means you can sell

The fact that you can buy second-hand means that you have a platform where you can sell your second-hand items or even swop them on certain sites. Browsing on these platforms will surprise you with what people end up selling. Pretty much anything that’s lying around your house can find a place on an online classifieds site and the money you make from selling what you no longer use or, can afford to part with, can be saved up for a high value purchase.

You will be saving money

This is no secret. Buying second-hand means you will be saving money. Saving money on tax, over-priced goods and quality luxuries. As almost anything can be sold second-hand, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for, be it furniture for the lounge, clothing for the kids, accessories for a camping trip, a second-hand Ford, or random bits and bobs to decorate the house. You will find it. And you will find it for a great price because it has second-hand value.

Buying second-hand where you can (which is everywhere) is a great way to save money if the item you want is available and not already sold. You can even save more money by negotiating the price with the seller, who may be desperate to get rid of it. Just be mindful of what price you’re negotiating, you’re already getting a great deal and, if it were you, you’d also like to get a bit of money out of the deal.   

Taking the deal

The process of a second-hand sale starts with your interest in the item and then contacting the seller. From there you arrange a meeting place – a public location would be preferable – where you view the product and make sure it matches your research findings and the advertised details. Make sure it’s functioning and be sure to have the exact amount of cash available for the purchase.

You’re saving money and the planet at the same time (used means no new resources need to be exploited to make another) and you’re also helping out your local community. Buying second-hand just makes sense.