A Comprehensive Guide to Computer Purchase: 09 - Buying Used

This article is a transcript of a video that you can watch by clicking the thumbnail below. Hence, certain statements may not make sense in this text form, and watching the video instead is recommended.



I prefer buying used machines, as they not only help me save money, but the possibilities of the purchase suddenly widen up such that I can get my hands on some great hardware that otherwise neither is on sale as new anymore nor could I afford to buy new. You won’t believe this, but once you get addicted to buying used, you will never go back.

Where to Buy

Several platforms and websites let you sell and buy used items. I know this could appear intimidating at first to trust a stranger with your hard-earned money for an item you haven’t even seen in person, but with practice, it isn’t that difficult. eBay is my favorite, but in case it isn’t available in your region, or even if it is, Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, OLX, and Backmarket are also a few platforms worth looking at. If you’re worried about scams, I’ve had such experiences on all platforms except Mercari, which for some reason is the best at keeping scammers away.

If you’re still not comfortable buying used items online you can look for sellers nearby and check with them if they would sell it in person. Otherwise, local stores and pawn shops are your best bet, not to forget thrift stores like GoodWill, Salvation Army, and others where sometimes you can find treasure for cheaper than you would expect.

What to Look For

Look at the pictures in the listing very carefully, read through the description, and feel free to ask any questions you may have to the seller. This avoids situations where you end up paying for an item that was clearly shown with flaws on the listing itself. I’ve found most sellers honest as to how they describe their item in listings, and also often friendly for questions about the item before (and even after) the purchase. You wouldn’t believe it, but I’ve made friends with people I’ve made transactions with on these platforms, both, as a buyer and a seller. In a nutshell, look for:

  1. Functional condition and broken functionality
  2. Age of the hardware
  3. The items included in the sale
  4. Signs of use
  5. Active warranties from the seller or the manufacturer itself

These are just a few things, and you’ll have a list of your own after you make a couple of purchases.

Using Help From a Friend

If online research isn’t enough or isn’t giving you enough confidence, you may also ask for help from a friend who can assist you with the decision or the purchase. If you know me, that friend is usually me, and I’ll be more than happy to assist you with your adventure.