In the past, cellphones did not cost much money and many users kept their phones for years before finally trading in - usually after they got a good upgrade offer from their wireless provider. Things have changed. Joe McKeown, a marketing vice president at ReCellular recently told CNNMoney that now consumers trade in their smartphones between 16 to 18 months on average.
I fit into the average mark - for the past four years I've sold or traded in a smartphone about once every 18 months. The first time I upgraded to a smartphone, I used my wireless providers' upgrade service, but felt like I lost money on the deal. So the next time, I waited until the new iPhone was released and then sold my older model on an auction site. I made about $120 in profit, but I still felt like I could have done better.
It turns out, I could have. CNNMoney interviewed several web-based companies that buy and resale older model iPhones and other smartphone devices. CNNMoney found that one company, Nextworth buys 16 GB iPhone 4S devices for $274. Another company, Gazelle, buys the same device for $277.
But you have to act quickly. Jeff Trachsel of Nextworth told CNNMoney that the company receives a large number of resale offers for older models as soon as the newer models are released. Typically, if these companies have a large quantity of the same model of iPhone available, they'll lower their buying offer and you'll make less than you would have two months or even two weeks ago.
So I took the information in the article and put my 4S device on a few different resale sites, including both cellular phone resale sites and user-listing type sites. After posting my own listing, I received two offers, one for $200 and one for $240. Not a bad deal, but I thought I could do better. So I requested a purchase offer from three cellular resale sites. The highest offer I received was for $272.
The newest iPhone devices aren't available for sale yet, so I'll have to use an older cellphone while I wait for a new model, but I made more money by selling early this time. The last time I sold an iPhone I made $120. By selling my new iPhone to a resale site early, I made $272 - which is a $152 increase just by selling early and avoiding the rush.
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